The Urban Homesteading Movement Comes of Age

Ruby in her backyard with a newborn bunny (photo by Jess Watson).   K. Ruby Blume is in her element. Standing in front of a packed cheesemaking class, she waves her arms, jokes, asks questions, and calls for volunteers. She is all coiled energy and dynamic movement. Within the first 15 minutes, one student is…

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Summer 2011 Contents

Editor’s Mixing Bowl Notable Edibles: Skylite Snowballs Fist of Flour Studebaker Pickles Cranky Boots Pops Five Star Marinade Notable Reads: Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Field Guide to California Agriculture Why Do You Need So Many Cookbooks?: An interview with Marie Simmons Pick It!: What’s in season at the Brentwood U-picks Recipe: Raw Cherry Pie Seven…

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Local Grain

Local Grain from Field to Plate: Part II (see Edible East Bay Fall/Winter 2010 for Part I) By Elizabeth Linhart Money Photo: Northern-California-grown grain going into the stone mill at Miller’s Bakehouse near Chico. (by Earl Bloor of Edible Shasta-Butte). It’s late autumn 2010, wheat-planting time in the Central Valley. The 600 loamy Yolo County…

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Mien Gardens and Makeshift Fences

Mien gardens and makeshift fences at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park Story and photos by Matthew Green On an early-spring afternoon, Mey Yan Saechao is standing among tall, yellow-flowering mustard in her small garden plot at Oakland’s Peralta Hacienda Historic Park. The six-acre park is in the Fruitvale district, and Mey Yan’s plot is behind its…

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Community Gardening

Evolving Views on Community Gardening By Cheryl Angelina Koehler, with photos by Nicki Rosario (top to bottom): Looking northeast to the hills from the Hayward Community Gardens (HCG), Jorge Nunez planting chile de arbol and some “really spicy” miura peppers at the HCG, Francisco Flores tending his bees at the HGC. There is no website…

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Seven Stars of Summer

Seven Stars of Summer By Jessica Prentice Jessica Prentice, Maggie Gosselin, and Sarah Klein created the Local Foods Wheel to help us all enjoy the freshest, tastiest, and most ecologically sound food choices month by month. Here are Jessica’s seven summer favorites. You can learn more about the Local Foods Wheel and the group’s other…

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Pick it!

How to get the most out of your u-pick trip to Brentwood By Barbara Kobsar | Illustrations by Zina Deretsky and Helen Krayenhoff   Every year in May, the passion to pick my own fruits and vegetables resurges faithfully. My backyard garden offers a smattering of baby carrots, potatoes, early tomatoes, and herbs to pick in…

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Why do you need so many cookbooks?

 An interview with cookbook author Marie Simmons By Cheryl Angelina Koehler with photos by Robin Jolin It’s a recurring question posed to those of us with large cookbook collections: “Why do you need so many?” These days, when a few key words typed into a search engine will quickly yield several good recipe options to…

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Shortcut Corn Risotto with Summer “Succotash”

From Why Do You Need So Many Cookbooks?   From Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes that Make a Meal By Marie Simmons Houghton Mifflin, April 2011 Photograph by Luca Travoto Here’s the recipe you’ll need when fresh sweet corn arrives in abundance. It’s what Marie makes to celebrate fresh corn, sweet juicy tomatoe,s and tender…

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Raw Cherry Pie

From Pick It! How to get the most out of your Brentwood u-pick trip. Plant-based, raw, and perfectly yummy! Makes one 9-inch pie 3 cups macadamia nuts (If you are not making a lattice topping use only 2¼ cups.) ⅛ teaspoon salt 2¼ ounces (dry weight) sea moss, coarsely chopped (If you are new to sea…

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Field Guide

Out and About with The Field Guide to California Agriculture By Paul F. Starrs and Peter Goin, University of California Press, Berkeley 2010 Reviewed by Kristina Sepetys, photos by Peter Goin In a recent conversation with a food-savvy friend, she described taking an afternoon drive in which she passed some cows grazing on rain-soaked green…

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Chewy, Gooey

Cookies 2.0 Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies (Artisan Books, 2010) Reviewed By Anita Chu There are countless cookie cookbooks out there these days. Pick one off the shelf, check its table of contents, and you are almost certain to find the usual suspects listed: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar, peanut butter, and…

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Five Star Marinade

A Portuguese Family History in a Bottle Story and photo by Katie Rose Yen   Food is always at the heart of any family holiday gathering, and more often than not certain dishes are there, prepared again and again, preserving longstanding traditions. For Portuguese American Burt Amaral, it’s his grandmother’s carne de vinha d’alhos that…

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Cranky Boots Pops

How Ms. Amanda Yee and Mr. Aland Welford Invented Cranky Boots Pops Story and illustrations by Robert Trujillo I’ve known Aland Welford for more than 15 years. I know his passion for food firsthand from eating with him at countless tables both big and small. Whether it was at a local hole in the wall…

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Studebaker Pickles

In a Pickling Habit: Studebaker Pickles By Stephanie Rosenbaum, with photos by Stacy Ventura Kate Hug, briner-in-chief of the recently launched Studebaker Pickles, taught herself how to pickle while she was attending college in Portland, Oregon. “It rains a lot up there, so everyone knows how to knit and preserve things,” she laughs. When she…

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Fist of Flour

An East Oakland Pizza Obsession: Fist of Flour By Stephanie Rosenbaum Photos by Stacy Ventura   This is what pizza can do to a man: One day, you’re James Whitehead, a kid from Belmont, enthralled by the pizza-spinners at Pasquale’s in the Inner Sunset, spending endless after-school hours at Village Pizza and Pizza & Pipes.…

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Skylite Snowballs

Cool Blue: Skylite Snowballs By Stephanie Rosenbaum with photos by Aya Brackett On that hot August day two years ago, elbow-to-elbow with the sweaty crowds at Oakland’s first Eat Real Festival, all photographer Katie Baum wanted was a sweet, icy-cold snowball. Not the kind you’d throw at the back of your brother’s head, but a…

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Editor's Mixing Bowl

In spite of all the reports about our nation’s dwindling farmland, here in the East Bay we can still go out to Brentwood in early summer and pick fruit. It’s a fairly straightforward activity and appeals, as it has for decades, to families looking for something fun to do together. The ready-mix trucks may outnumber…

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