March 16, 2012
This is the Weekly E-letter of the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture
Collards, spinach, and chard...oh, my! For St. Patty's Day, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is celebrating greens in their many lush and leafy forms. Stop by the CUESA Classroom (the white tent in front of the Ferry Building on the north side) to make your own signature green juice blend, pick up some of our favorite greens recipes, and watch greens cooking demos by CUESA market chef Elianna Friedman and raw chef Ray Plosscowe. Read more in Lulu Meyer's Market Watch column at 7x7 Magazine or visit the CUESA website for details. And be sure to check out our "Greens" board on Pinterest.
H & H Fresh Fish Co. starts at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market tomorrow, selling sustainable catch from the Monterey Bay and beyond. You can find them in the back plaza every Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm. Read more in this week's feature article, below.
Have you tried those pasture-raised eggs we've been talking so much about? Tomorrow Eatwell Farm will be giving away samples of two organic, pasture-raised eggs to their first 200 customers. Get 'em while they last!
Tracie McMillan's book, The American Way of Eating, has made headlines recently after a surprise attack by Rush Limbaugh. Join CUESA for a conversation between McMillan and Sandy Brown, co-owner of Swanton Berry Farm. After going undercover to labor in the fields of industrial farms, stock groceries at Walmart, and work in the kitchen at Applebee's, McMillan—named "a voice the food world needs" by the New York Times—has some eye-opening tales to tell about the inner workings of the corporate food system. Sandy Brown, who is also a UC Berkeley graduate student researching farm labor and fair trade certifications, will talk with McMillan about labor, privilege, politics, and eating in America. The talk will be followed by a book signing and short reception with farmers market refreshments. RSVP to this event.
Do you have a passion for sustainable food and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market? How about an inquisitive nature and a wonderful sense of humor? Have you always dreamed of hosting a TV show? TradioV is looking for a dynamic, energetic, and articulate individual to host a new series featuring stories and inspiration from the market. The show is scheduled to launch on Free Speech TV this spring. Read more here.
We would love your ideas on how we can improve our weekday market educational programming to better serve you. Do you want to see more cooking demos? Hands-on activities? Discussions and talks? Let us know! Please fill out our short survey, and you will be entered to win FREE admission to an upcoming CUESA cooking class. The deadline is March 27. Fill out the survey.
Organized by artist Harrell Fletcher at San Francisco's Museum of Craft and Folk Art, "Only Birds Sing the Music of Heaven in this World" explores the relationship between art and agriculture from a variety of perspectives, including historical and current agricultural imagery, alternative farming projects, and the representation of farm labor. Conceived with allegiances to folk art, outsider art, craft, experimental art, and social practice, the exhibit includes artists and organizations such as Farm School, Amy Franceschini with Futurefarmers, and Pie Ranch, as well as a selection of California agricultural paintings and prints. An opening reception will take place the evening of March 22, and the exhibit will run through July 7. Learn more.
"The Farm Bill only comes around once every five to seven years, and it's our chance to set things right," says Dan Imhoff, author of Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to a Food and Farm Bill. Join Imhoff and Ken Cook, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, for a discussion on how the 2012 Farm Bill impacts local food security, public health, and the ecological and economic sustainability of America's food system. Following the talk, there will be time for audience members to ask questions and pick up practical tips for getting involved in this critical piece of legislation. Co-sponsored by Marin Organic, this event will take place at Dominican University in San Rafael. Buy tickets.
Discover the world of fine cheeses at the sixth annual Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma, a weekend-long celebration of cheese and the foods, wines, and beers that go well with it. The festival will include educational seminars led by cheese experts, cheesemakers, chefs, and fromagiers from across the country, and virtually every session will involve tasting opportunities. Look for a wide variety of local artisans, including Ferry Plaza favorites Achadinha Cheese Company, Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, and Spring Hill Jersey Cheese. Get tickets.
Have you ever dreamed of starting your own artisanal food business? This spring, the folks who brought you the Eat Real Festival are launching the Food Craft Institute in Oakland to offer budding food entrepreneurs an opportunity to hone their craft of choice, as well as their business skills. Twelve-week master courses in topics like jam-making, pickling, and coffee bar management will be taught by guest instructors such as June Taylor, Frog Hollow Farm's Rebecca Courchesne, Farmhouse Culture's Kathryn Lukas, Happy Girl Kitchen's Todd Champagne, and Blue Bottle Coffee's James Freeman. Scholarships are available. Learn more.
10:00 am to 1:00 pm - Make your own signature green juice blend and pick up some of our favorite greens recipes. Learn more.
11:00 am - Greens basics
Elianna Friedman, CUESA market chef
11:45 am - Seasonal cooking demonstration
11:00 am - Seasonal cooking demonstration
Chris Geremia, Radius
Shopping for fish can be an intimidating proposition for ethical eaters. Seafood is fraught with host of complex issues, such as species depletion, the impact of catch methods on marine ecosystems, environmental pollution from fish farming, and health concerns. "There's a lot of confusion out there about what's sustainable," says Hans Haveman, H & H Fresh Fish Co., the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market's newest seafood vendor. "There is no direct way to simplify it."
Years as fisherman and fishmonger have helped Hans wade through seas of information and misinformation. He grew up with a love of diving, surfing, and sport fishing, and by age 12, he was taking people out on boats to fish for salmon and rockfish in the Monterey Bay. During summers in high school, he worked on commercial fishing boats, where he gained a broad view of the commercial fishing industry through crabbing, trawling, trolling, gillnetting, bob-and-reel, and hook-and-line operations. He also spent some time working in kitchens, including a stretch with Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles.
After buying his own salmon-fishing boat, he started selling his catch to fish buyers, but he eventually realized that there was a niche to be filled in Santa Cruz's burgeoning farmers markets, where concepts like "sustainability" were starting to take hold. With his wife and business partner, Heidi Rhodes, he started H & H Fresh Fish Co. in 2003. "This was back when farmed salmon was taking over the market and pushing the cost of salmon so low that it was hard to make a living," says Hans. "When we started marketing our fish directly to the public, it opened doors for us."
In addition to catching some of his own fish, Hans now works with a fleet of local dayboat fisherman, some of whom he has known since childhood. Heidi manages the business side of H & H, as well as their community-supported seafood (CSS) program (available in the South Bay and Santa Cruz areas) and blog, which offers information and cooking tips on each week's species selection. "I try to do a little education for people about the fish and why it's sustainable," she says. "Sustainability is not so black-and-white."
Besides the CSS program and a bit of wholesale marketing to restaurants, Hans and Heidi still sell most of their seafood at farmers markets (they currently have a presence at 17). They like direct marketing because it allows them to talk to consumers about the intricacies of sustainable seafood shopping.
There are a number of programs to help seafood lovers navigate these murky waters, such as the Marine Stewardship Council, which sets international standards for sustainable fisheries and seafood traceability through its certification and ecolabeling. The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program's popular pocket guides rank seafood by best choices (those that are sustainably harvested or farmed), good alternatives, and species to avoid (those that are depleted or caught in ways that ecologically harmful).
Hans considers the education that he does at farmers markets to be a complement to guides like Seafood Watch, which don't always reflect what's seasonal and sustainable at a given moment. "I like to be a helping hand to the guides that are out there," he explains. All of H & H's market employees (some fishermen themselves) help with processing and packaging, so they are able to share first-hand knowledge as well.
Hans stresses that determining what's sustainable requires asking questions of your fishmonger, such as when and where the fish was caught, who the fisherman was, and what catch method was used. He tries to meet customers where they're at, share what he knows, and let them decide for themselves. "People have different ideas of sustainability or how sustainable they want to be. I'll be honest with them, and then they can make their own choices," he says.
While much of H & H's seafood is caught within 50 miles of Santa Cruz, they also offer high-demand exotics like ahi and ono, which they source from hook-and-line fisheries in Hawaii. In the winter, they bring in wild salmon from Alaska. "Even though importing has a bigger carbon footprint, Alaska is still relatively close and is extremely well-managed," explains Hans. He also sources some fish through aquaculture operations that he considers to be sustainable, such as sturgeon from an antibiotic- and hormone-free caviar producer in Sacramento.
But for H & H, local sourcing is the key to making sustainable seafood choices. They may steer sustainability minded customers toward lesser-known catches, such as California halibut or California white sea bass (not to be confused with the endangered Chilean sea bass), or fish that are lower down the food chain, such as sardines and herring. According to Hans, "Best-case scenario is hook-and-line caught in the Monterey Bay, with zero bycatch."
What fish is he most looking forward to this spring? Salmon, of course. After a recent fishing ban due to depleted stocks, Pacific salmon is on the rebound, which means boats will be out in full force when the season opens on April 7. "It's one of our biggest Northern California fish that we all love, and it's gone from being a scary thing to coming back pretty strong," he says.
While fishing will always be his first passion, Hans keeps one foot on land to share his love for the sea and its delicate ecosystems with farmers market shoppers. "I'm able to help people figure out what are great fish to eat and to harvest sustainability." He adds, "And I'm able to share some great recipes, too."
H & H Fresh Fish starts tomorrow at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. You can find them in the back plaza every Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm.
This is the most up-to-date information about which sellers will be attending the market as of today. If there are no changes to a seller's status, they will not be listed. You'll find a list of which farmers regularly attend each market here. Please understand that there are often last-minute changes—it's the nature of farming!
New: H & H Fresh Fish Co.
Returning: Orangewood Farm, Yerena Farms
Out: Devoto Gardens, Drinkwell Softers, Flatland Flower Farm, Hayes Street Grill/Vicolo Pizza, Mountain Ranch Organically Grown, Prather Ranch Meat Co., Rose Pistola, Swanton Berry Farm
Returning: Bella Viva Orchards, G. L. Alfieri Farms, Prather Ranch Meat Co., Snyders Honey
Returning: Scream Sorbet, SodaCraft
Out: Tory Farms
Asparagus, pea greens, Meyer lemons, salsify, radishes, fresh butter, kumquats, fennel, English peas, lilacs, fava greens, hyacinth, parrot tulips, spinach, celery, fresh herbs, green garlic, Brussels sprouts, spring onions, nettles, broccoli, rapini greens, artichokes, baby turnips, carrots, fresh goat cheeses, avocados, plant starts, strawberries
Kiwi, cherimoyas, Oro Blanco grapefruit, some citrus varieties
Bergamot marmalade at June Taylor Company, English muffins at Downtown Bakery, rapini chips at Everything Under the Sun
Bodega & Yerba Santa Goat Cheese, Madison Growers, White Crane Springs Ranch, Yerena Farms
H & H Fresh Fish Co. starts March 17
from Charlie Vollmar, Epicurean Exchange
from Leif Hedendal
from Keith Hammerich, Culinary Arts Instructor, City College San Francisco
H & H Fresh Fish photos courtesy of H & H Fresh Fish.
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© CUESA 2012. Please ask permission before reproducing.