View all posts filed under 'Going Green and Sustainable'

A New Farmed Salmon

Thursday, 3. May 2012 5:25

A new farmed salmon. (Photo courtesy of Verlasso)

When it comes to deciding whether to eat farmed salmon, the choice is not always clear cut.

Sure, farmed salmon in general gets a bad rap — and deservedly so. The Environmental Defense Fund issued a health advisory for farmed salmon because of high levels of PCBs. It takes  about three or four pounds of wild feeder fish to grow one pound of farmed salmon. Waste from open-water pens pollutes surrounding ocean waters. And the farmed fish can sometimes escape, posing potential problems for wild fish populations that can be affected by their parasites or diseases.

U.S. farmed freshwater coho salmon, though, gets a “Best Choice” recommendation from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’sSeafood Watch” guide because it is farmed in inland tanks, lessening the potential spread of disease and pollution. They also require less wild feeder fish to grow.

Some chefs also favor a Scottish salmon, marketed as Loch Duart, which is farmed in the waters off the northwest coast of Sutherland. It’s billed as a sustainable alternative, but it, too, relies on feed made of fish meal and oil.

Now, into the fray comes a new farmed salmon, this one from the waters of Patagonia, Chile.

Known as Verlasso Salmon, this new farmed Atlantic salmon just launched last summer and is starting to show up in markets nationwide. Berkeley Bowl, which started carrying it in February, is the only retailer in the Bay Area selling it so far. You can find it at the seafood counter at both of its Berkeley stores for $14.80 per pound.

What makes this farmed salmon different?

Instead of needing three or four pounds of wild feeder fish to grow one pound of farmed salmon, Verlasso has developed a process to get that down to a one-to-one ratio. How? By supplementing the fish meal  feed with a special kind of yeast that is rich in omega 3s, which salmon typically get from ingesting other fish. In the future, the company hopes to get that ratio down even more, so that the farmed salmon can be raised with little to no fish meal at all, says Scott Nichols, director of  the Delaware-based Verlasso.

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Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, New Products, Seafood | Comments (13) | Author:

A Most Eggs-Cellent Farm

Friday, 30. March 2012 5:25

Deep orange yolks exemplify how special the eggs from Coastide Ranch are.

When you’re the son of rock legend Neil Young, it might be expected if you rested comfortably on your father’s laurels.

When you’re his son and born with cerebral palsy, which has left you wheelchair-bound and able to communicate only with a computer device, it would be understandable if you were at all reclusive.

But that’s not Ben Young, 33, the middle child of the famed singer-songwriter.

Ben Young, who has cerebral palsy, is the son of the legendary Neil Young.

Thirteen years ago, Young started an egg farm called Coastside Farms on three acres of his family’s La Honda property. In 2002, it was certified organic. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to visit him there.

Today, he raises about 250 Red Sex-Links, similar to Rhode Island Reds, which have the run of the place under the close watch of a herd of adorable alpacas who guard them against predators.

A ranch mascot.

He sells the eggs, with their glorious deep orange yolks, to Calafia Cafe in Palo Alto and Cafe Gibraltar in El Granada, where he makes deliveries each week with the help of his assistant.

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Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications | Comments (18) | Author:

Adopt An Olive Tree — Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Wednesday, 28. March 2012 5:25

The spring adoption kit to grow your own mini olive tree. (Photo courtesy of Nudo-Italia)

How would you like to be a proud parent of a budding, baby olive tree?

You can, thanks to Nudo-Italia, an artisan olive oil company founded by Jason Gibb and Cathy Rogers, former TV producers who chucked it all to restore an abandoned 21-acre olive grove in Italy’s Le Marche.

Besides selling wonderful olive oils, they offer a unique program in which anyone around the world can adopt an olive tree for a year. The project is a collaboration between Nudo and small-scale artisan olive oil producers in Le Marche and Abruzzo.

The company’s new spring “adoption box”  ($97) includes a personalized adoption certificate and booklet that describes your tree, one 250ml tin of first cold press extra virgin olive oil, three 500ml tins of first cold press extra virgin olive oil from your adopted tree, an invitation to come visit your tree, and a “Grow Your Own Olive Tree in a Tin” with growing instructions. It’s a gift that definitely keeps on giving.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will get a chance to try out their green thumb on their own “Grow Your Own Olive Tree in a Tin” (a $7.49 value). Stick it on a windowsill or kitchen ledge, then water. Who knows — this cute little thing might even bear some fruit.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST March 31. Winner will be announced April 2.

How to win?

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Category:Fruit, General, Going Green and Sustainable, New Products | Comments (9) | Author:

Lend Support to Introducing Ethiopian Crops to the United States

Wednesday, 29. February 2012 5:25

Highland kale, a staple in Ethiopia, now grown by Baia Nicchia Farm of Sunol.

You may know Baia Nicchia Farm of Sunol for its glorious array of heirloom and one-of-a-kind tomatoes it sells at the Menlo Park farmers market in the summers.

Now, geneticist-turned-farmer Fred Hempel wants you to know his small farm also for its efforts to introduce Ethiopian specialty crops to this country.

As such, he’s asking for your support for his Ethiopian seeds project that he’s hoping to launch through the funding platform, KickStarter. He has until March 10 to get $22,000 pledged for the project, which aims to introduce five Ethiopian vegetable varieties nationally this year.

Hempel got interested in the project when he met Ethiopian native, Menkir Tamrat, a former Silicon Valley tech worker who started growing the peppers of his homeland that he missed after he got laid off. Hempel offered Tamrat some space at his 9.5-acre farm to grow peppers that Hempel then sold at farmers markets.

The result is a partnership set to blossom even more. Hempel hopes to release Ethiopian varieties through his new seed company, Artisan Seeds, which also will sell some of his tomato seeds.

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Going Green and Sustainable, New Products, Restaurants | Comments (6) | Author:

Ramen Bowls, Donut Delivery & A Green Film Fest

Wednesday, 22. February 2012 5:25

The signature "Ozumo'' ramen available at Ozumo in San Francisco at lunch on weekdays. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Ozumo Serves Up Ramen at Lunch Time

The Sake Lounge at Ozumo restaurant in San Francisco is transformed into a ramen-ya at weekday lunch time, 11:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Choose from such favorite bowlfuls as the “Ozumo” ($13) with braised pork jowl, poached egg and snow crab in shoyu stock; and “Spicy Miso” ($12) with shredded chicken, poached egg and cabbage in a rich, spicy miso broth.

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Going Green and Sustainable, Restaurants | Comments (6) | Author: