Editor’s Mixing Bowl

Photo by Melinda Katz

since the thing perhaps is

to eat flowers and not to be afraid



“Our culture ferments fear,” says my morning walking partner as we skirt around the spiky blackberry brambles reaching out from the wild growth of a front-yard food garden kept by a neighbor who always welcomes us in to graze.

“The antidote to fear is curiosity,” my friend adds . . .  “as well as love and connection.”

We are doing what we always do on these morning walks: connecting with each other and passersby while observing the incremental changes of each season—fava pods plumping up, a tomato patch not yet planted. We’ll critique neighbors’ home and garden designs and grapple with the news items that most need our analysis. Lately, with troubles fermenting more troubles on the geopolitical front and solutions to climate change as elusive as ever, we’re quick to turn back to the small, personally solvable challenges that arise in our workdays, mine in creating this magazine and my friend’s in helping school districts strengthen programs that might one day grow new leaders who can bring hope to their communities.

I like being reminded about curiosity as the foil to fear. It’s in full play at the start of each magazine cycle as our reporters go out to uncover unique community endeavors, but I relish this time at the close of the cycle, when all the hard work—writing, editing, fact-checking, illustrating, photographing, designing, and drawing in precious advertiser support—has pushed uncertainty aside and Edible East Bay is headed to press. It’s a moment to breathe and admire once again how creating and sharing food and drink brings love and connection to daily life.

Among this issue’s profusion of herbs and edible flowers—so beautifully brought together by writer Claire Bradley and photographer Clara Rice at Albany’s Flowerland for our cover story—there are many invitations to go out and explore together. Writers Meredith Pakier (Burger Beat,) and Bri James (Snack Parade,) took family and friends along on their research, and perhaps you’ll do the same as you follow their itineraries. Likewise, Yolanda Romo’s story beckons a friends’ meet-up to discover the beauty of Yemeni hospitality at Mohka House in Oakland’s Dimond district. On the Mills Community Farm, writer Rachel Trachten learned how staff worked together to realize a former student’s vision of a farm where students and faculty now explore interdisciplinary connections. But perhaps nowhere in this issue is the power of love and connection through food better expressed than by farmer Sama Mansouri in the final paragraph of her “recipe” for Iranian noon panir sabzi (bread cheese herbs).

“You and your family and friends get to sit around a beautifully set table of delicious foods and eat slowly together. There is conversation to be had, stories and dreams to share, laughter, and abundance. You can make loghmehs for the babies and kids at the table with their favorite bits. You can set up the table together, and afterwards, you can put it all away together with the intention of eating together again soon.”

—Sama Mansouri

Make sure not to miss writer Anna Mindess’s profile story on Mansouri and her Reyhan Herb Farm, which starts here.

May your summer be fueled, fed, and fulfilled by curiosity, love, and connection.

Cheryl Angelina Koehler