View all posts filed under 'Going Green and Sustainable'

A Visit to the California Vineyard Nearest to the Pacific Ocean

Friday, 14. September 2012 5:07

Mediterranean summer flatbreads to enjoy with wines at Fort Ross Vineyward's new tasting room.

Last month after three years in the making, Fort Ross Vineyard opened the doors to its brand-new tasting room in Jenner — less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean.

That also makes it the only tasting room in the newly established Fort Ross-Seaview AVA on the Sonoma Coast that was approved late last year.

It’s an appropriate location for it, given that Fort Ross, a historic Russian settlement, was where the first grapes were planted in Northern California in 1817.

Husband-and-wife, Lester and Linda Schwartz, who met as students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, started their Fort Ross Vineyard 12 years ago. The winery produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and the signature varietal from the Schwartz’s native land of South Africa, Pinotage. Indeed, it’s one of the few producers of Pinotage in the United States.

All in all, they produce 5,000 cases in total annually. Their winemaker is the acclaimed Jeff Pisoni. The first vintage by Pisoni, the 2009 Fort Ross Vineyard Chardonnay was chosen as one of the top 100 wines of 2011 by Wine Enthusiast.

The exterior of the tasting room.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Schwartzs in the new tasting room, set amid redwood forests and boasting views of the ocean.

Owners Lester and Linda Schwartz, originally from South Africa.

Their personal story is as intriguing as their wines. The couple fled South Africa 40 years ago because of the political unrest during the apartheid era. They settled in the Bay Area. Linda was a pianist and classical music composer. Lester became the first South African licensed to practice law in California.

He happened to be driving up this hilly area one day when he spotted the property and just fell in love with it.

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Category:Chefs, General, Going Green and Sustainable, Travel Adventures, Wine | Comments (7) | Author:

Fresh, Local Produce Delivered to Your Door & A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 27. August 2012 5:26

A peek at what a Full Circle produce delivery box contains. (Photo courtesy of Full Circle)

There’s a new organic produce delivery company in town.

And its name is Full Circle.

You may remember reading a couple months ago about how I got to try out the service for a test run. It was definitely convenient to find a box on my doorstep each week, brimming with seasonal veggies and fruits.

The company, which started in Carnation, WA, launched its service in the Bay Area earlier this summer. It delivers as far north as San Rafael, east to Concord and south to San Jose.

You choose the size of box to be delivered each week, depending upon the size of your household. I chose the smallest option, the “Seed Box” ($20.95), which is perfect for one or two people and comes complete with enough produce for about 15 servings total.

What’s particularly helpful is that you can customize your box. If there’s someone in your family who hates beets or broccoli, you can opt never to have that included in your delivery.

You also can check your online account a few days before each delivery to see what your next box will likely contain, making it easier to plan your meals or shop for additional accompaniments at your local grocery store.

What’s more, you can add gourmet grocery items to your box at an additional cost. Full Circle collaborates with a host of artisan producers, many of them organic, to sell everything from bread to artisan jams to fresh, pasture-raised chicken. I ordered the wild shrimp once and they were nearly lobster-like in their succulence.

Moreover, you can put your deliver on hold or cancel your subscription at any time.

Want to give it a whirl? Keep reading…

Contest: Five Food Gal readers will get a chance to win two weeks’ worth of Full Circle produce deliveries for free. Essentially, you’ll win an $84 credit to use after creating an account. The credit is enough for two free boxes of the largest-size delivery, the “Harvest,” which will feed 3-6 people. Or if you have a smaller household, you can stretch the credit out for a longer period of time by choosing a smaller-size box of produce. After your credited amount runs out, you can either choose to continue the service by paying for it on your own or you can choose to cancel your subscription.

Entries are limited to those who live within Full Circle’s delivery areas in California, Washington state, Idaho and Alaska. Click here for more details.

Entries will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 1. Winner will be announced Sept. 3.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, Fruit, General, Going Green and Sustainable, Health/Nutrition | Comments (11) | Author:

The Newest in Urban Farming at Ecopia in Campbell

Wednesday, 25. July 2012 5:25

A bounty of lettuces from Ecopia Farms.

Look closely at that bowl of beautiful, baby salad greens.

If only you could reach out and grab a few leaves to taste, you’d be amazed at their sweetness, pepperiness and all-around intensity of flavor.

What makes these lettuces different is that all were grown indoors under LED lights, using a fraction of the water a conventional outdoor farm would.

Ecopia Farms in Campbell is unlike any other agricultural endeavor — housed indoors in a non-descript, out-of-the-way warehouse in Campbell.

Utilizing the latest technology and know-how, it was founded by a couple of tech giants: a former CEO of Solectron, and a former president of Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space.

With water and land increasingly precious commodities, their goal is to create a way of farming that is not only more efficient and sustainable, but replicable in high-density urban areas.

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Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, Great Finds, Health/Nutrition, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, New Products, Restaurants | Comments (7) | Author:

Full Circle Now Delivers to the Bay Area

Thursday, 28. June 2012 5:25

A typical small box of produce box from the new Full Circle delivery service.

Once a week for the past couple of weeks, a box just like the one above has landed on my front porch bright and early in the morning.

Besides organic fruits and veggies, its contents have also included this:

Artisan strawberry jam by Inna Jam.

And this:

Organic firm tofu from Oakland's Hodo Soy Beanery.

And this:

Raw milk Italian farmstead cheese.

All thanks to Full Circle, an organic produce delivery service, which started in Carnation, WA, and just launched in the Bay Area.

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Category:Fruit, General, Going Green and Sustainable, Great Finds, Health/Nutrition, New Products | Comments (8) | Author:

Cherry Time, Sunset Celebration Weekend & More

Friday, 1. June 2012 5:25

Dig a spoon into this Bing cherry sundae. (Photo courtesy of Bluestem Brasserie

Cherries Galore at Local Restaurants

Who can resist sweet, crisp cherries? Not San Francisco chefs, who are featuring them on many menus.

At Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco, indulge in cherries in multiple forms in one over-the-top dessert: gelee, granita, fresh and marinated in Cherry Heering Liqueur.

You get all that in the “Bing Cherry Sundae,” that’s also loaded with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. If that weren’t enough, it also comes with chocolate chip cookies. Oh my!

At Vitrine at the St. Regis in San Francisco, Executive Chef Romuald Feger pays homage to his grandmother by recreating her Alsatian black cherry clafoutis. During cherry season, she’d bake it daily, offering him a big slice after school.

His version comes with Sicilian pistachio ice cream. To pair with it, he recommends an Alsatian Gewurztraminer.

The whimsical "foie gras sphere'' at Michael Mina restaurant. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

At Michael Mina in San Francisco, enjoy cherries in two unique savory preparations. First, the “Foie Gras Sphere” that is a tiny, rich mouthful of cherry and amarone-scented foie gras. It’s playfully shaped like a red sphere with a stem on top to mimic a real cherry. You’ll find  it as part of the “hors d’oeuvres platter” ($16).

Second, cherry puree is a pivotal component of the “Vacca Rosa Risotto with Cherry and Squab Ragu.” The rich Vacca Rosa cheese, similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, is a striking counterpoint to the sweet cherries. The dish is part of the tasting menu, but also can be ordered a la carte.

“Tango & Tapas” Soiree and a Discount for Food Gal Readers

Learn how to make mouth-watering tapas — then get a lesson in the tango to burn up all those calories.

Yes, it’s two demos in one with the 6:30 p.m. June 7 “Tango & Tapas” event at Circolo in San Francisco.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, Fruit, General, Going Green and Sustainable, Restaurants | Comments (9) | Author: