View all posts filed under 'Going Green and Sustainable'

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:

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: