WRITTEN BY LA VICTORIA STAFF

Did you know jarred salsa was invented 100 years ago? And we have La Victoria to thank for helping spice up every #TacoTuesday ever since. Looking to find a way to preserve the fresh taste of its mouthwatering recipe for authentic Mexican salsa, the folks at La Victoria took matters into their own hands and created the first-ever jarred salsa in North America in 1917. (For a little context, sliced bread wasn’t invented until 1928!)

Fast forward to a century later and that recipe for the now famous Salsa Brava still is made with the same simple ingredients and, along with 17 other deliciously festive varieties — all made with locally grown tomatoes that go from field to jar — is packaged in Southern California today. The La Victoria brand expanded to not only produce authentic, flavorful salsas, but also taco sauces, enchilada sauces, and chiles, all the while keeping the Mexican tradition alive and well in the hearts and bellies of generations of consumers.

 

Read more: LA VICTORIA® Brand Celebrates 100 Years of Salsa

See what 6,300 feet elevation can do for your soul at Granlibakken Tahoe.


WRITTEN BY ANNORA MCGARRY
PHOTOS COURTESY OF GRANLIBAKKEN TAHOE

Full Weekend of Events just $240

Imagine a soulful weekend reconnecting with nature, invigorating yourself with daily yoga sessions, and enjoying music and meditation in abundance. Surrounded by the majestic yet peaceful scenery of North Lake Tahoe, reset and relax before a busy summer season.

Just imagine if you could immerse yourself in this soulful retreat for just $240!

Well, now you can. That’s right—the full weekend of events for the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival, or RAY, can be had for just $240 per person. This rate includes 12 workshops over three days, taught by local Tahoe yoga instructors, healers, and wellness experts, as well as meals and social hours. 

Sunrise Yoga

Start each day of RAY with a refreshing Sunrise Yoga and Meditation class.

Read more: Inaugural Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival in Tahoe

BY JESSICA SANTINA

It’s a brand-new year at edible Sacramento, and we’ve got plenty of tasty news to share! In fact, there’s lots of new stuff happening here—first, this new blog and website! Welcome!

We’ve been the Greater Sacramento area’s go-to resource for all things local food and drink for 14 years running, and that’s already an impressive record. But things are about to go big around here. The folks over at edible Reno-Tahoe, one of the most successful Edible Communities in the country, have taken us under their wing!

 

Edible Gals 440 usedlastyearbutitscute th

 

Read more: Edible Sacramento is Making a Fresh Start!

BY MARION NESTLE

Marion NestleBill Hayes Photo 2

Edible Communities began in 2002 with the launch of Edible Ojai, a magazine that chronicled the rising interest in farm-to-table/local, organic and natural foods. Since that time, the organization started by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian has grown into a revolutionary, award-winning media network that encompasses over 90 independently-owned and operated magazines and websites across the United States and Canada. In 2011, Edible Communities was recognized by the prestigious James Beard Foundation as "the voice of the local food movement."

As the organization celebrates its 15th anniversary, Marion Nestle looks back at how the local food movement has changed the way we eat and how the world (especially the U.S. and Canada) can best ensure—via political action and other means—a healthy and sustainable food supply in the years to come.

Can it really be 15 years since Edible Ojai kick-started the Edible Communities contribution to the local food movement? Edible Communities has played such a vital role in the stunning changes that have taken place in the North American food world since the mid 1990s. At a time when global politics seems ever more intimidating and irrational, local food movements shine as beacons of empowerment and hope. By making food choices that support regional farmers and producers, we vote with our forks for healthier and more sustainable lives for ourselves, our children, our communities, and our planet.

I use the word "vote" advisedly. Choosing local food is an outright act of politics.

I am a college professor and I hear all the time from students about how much they want to find work that will give meaning to their lives and help change the world, but how pessimistic they feel about whether this is possible in today's political environment. They see what needs to be done, but don't know how or where to begin.

Begin with food, I tell them.

They are too young to realize how much the food movement already has accomplished: a lot. The food system has changed so much for the better since Edible Communities began its journey.

Here is my personal measure of its progress. In 1996, my New York University colleagues and I created undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs in Food Studies. Everyone thought we were out of our minds: Why would anyone want to study about food? But we got lucky. The New York Times wrote about our programs the week after they were approved. That very afternoon, we had students in our offices waving the clipping and telling us that they had waited all their lives for these programs. Now, just about every college I visit offers some version of a Food Studies program or food courses in fields as diverse as English, history, art and biology. Students see how food is an entry point into the most pressing problems in today's society: health, climate change, immigration, the –isms (sex, gender, race, age), and inequities in education, income, and power.

Some gains of local food movements are easier to measure than others. One of my favorites: The New Oxford American Dictionary added "locavore" as its word of the year in 2007.

The easiest to measure are those counted by the USDA, starting with farmers' markets. In 1994, there were 1,755; by 2016, there were 8,669. The USDA is mainly devoted to promoting industrial agriculture but has had to pay attention (if a bit grudgingly) to the growth of local and regional food systems. It reports that about 8 percent of U.S. farms market foods on the local level, mostly directly to consumers through farmers' markets and harvest subscription (CSA) arrangements. It estimates local food sales at more than $6 billion a year. This is a tiny fraction of U.S. food sales, but growing all the time.

More signs of progress: Since 2007, regional food hubs, which the USDA defines as collaborative enterprises for moving local foods into larger mainstream markets, have tripled in number. The USDA finds four times as many school districts with farm-to-school programs as it did a decade ago. It even notes the number of farms selling directly to retail stores or restaurants. As for what seems obvious to me—the increasing value of local food to local economies—the USDA remains hesitant (hence: grudging). It admits that "local economic benefits may accrue from greater local retention of the spent food dollar" but is withholding judgment pending further research.

The USDA partners with other federal agencies in a Local Foods, Local Places program aimed at revitalizing communities through the development of local food systems. These not only involve farmers' markets, but also cooperative groceries, central kitchens, business incubators, bike paths and sidewalks, and school and community gardens. This program may be minuscule in federal terms, but that it exists at all is testimony to how effectively local food movements have encouraged the development of home, school, community and urban gardens. The Edible Communities publications have both chronicled and championed all these changes.

One more measurable change: the increasing sales of organics. Organic production, of course, is not necessarily local but it is very much part of the food movement. Its growth is remarkable—from about $15 billion in sales in 2006 to nearly $40 billion in 2015. As the Organic Trade Association puts it, "Consumer demand for organic has grown by double-digits nearly every year since the 1990s." This has happened so quickly that the demand now exceeds the supply.

My last example: In the summer, even New York City supermarket chains proudly display locally grown foods, usually defined as coming from within New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, but still a lot closer than California or Latin America, where much of the city's food usually comes from.

But the USDA has no idea how to measure the other critical accomplishments of the food movement. It is hard to put a number on the personal and societal values associated with knowing where food comes from and how it is produced.

Some months ago in the New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan complained that the food movement is barely a political force in Washington, DC, despite its having created "purchase by purchase, a $50 billion alternative food economy, comprising organic food, local food and artisanal food." "Call it Little Food," he said, pointing out that "while it is still tiny in comparison with Big Food, it is nevertheless the fastest-growing sector of the food economy."

His concern was the need to consolidate these gains, join forces and exert power at the national level. Even in today's political climate, this can—and must—be done. I've seen local food movements in the United States evolve over the years to increasingly converge with movements for organics, and also with those for better access to food and for health, food justice, environmental justice, food sovereignty, living wages and gender, racial and economic equity. We need to keep doing this, now more than ever.

The congressional Freedom Caucus is doing all it can to revoke a long list of federal regulations, many of which deal with food. Its members want to do away with healthier school meals, the National Organic Program, food labels, menu labels and a host of food safety regulations. We need to do more than vote with forks to protect the gains of the last few years. We need to "vote with votes." This means doing basic politics. The most important strategy by far is to write, call and meet with our own congressional representatives or their staff. If one person does this, they might not notice. But if several do, they pay attention. If many do, they pay more attention. Get friends to help.

We often hear it said that "all politics is local." Local food movements prove that point. So much can be done at the local level to strengthen food systems and encourage community action. Real social change starts locally, and builds from there. That's why Edible Communities matters so much. They are a force for strengthening local food movements, supporting community development and taking political action for a healthier and more sustainable future. May they flourish!

Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, and author of several books about the politics of food. For information, see www.foodpolitics.com and follow her @marionnestle.

BY AMBER K. STOTT / ILLUSTRATIONS: LILY THERENS

food trends 1

The new year in America's Farm-to-Fork Capital brings a host of new local novelties in food. Whether it's restaurant menus or farm crops or a homemade dinner with friends, Sacramento cuisine is constantly evolving. If you're looking for what's new in our area this upcoming year, you'll find that some of the following dishes and ingredients are popping up often—and trending.

Read more: Spotted Around Town: New Food Trends for 2016

BY AMANDA HAWKINS

I bought a pound of Arkansas Black

back in November—impossibly

hard, a little bitter, tart as tart apples can be,

the indentation leading to the stem

shallow, as if the apple had strained

away from the branch or the tree

itself had held the fruit at arm's length.

Read more: Cold Storage - A Poem

BY PAMELA KAN-RICE

A wisp of white steam begins to spew from the vent in the lid of the pressure canner. After 10 minutes of watching the continuous stream of steam rise, volunteer Julia Jarvis announces to the Sacramento UC Master Food Preserver class that it is time to place the gauge on the canner. Once pressure is achieved, a timer is set for 25 minutes—the time the recipe requires for pressure canning chicken broth.

With the cool winter weather upon us, we tend to crave hearty soups and stews with a slice of crusty bread to enjoy on brisk evenings. You can make a large batch of soup and save some for later. And, if you start to long for the flavors and colors of summer, preserved local produce such as sweet corn can help bridge the gap until summer comes around again.

Read more: UC Master Food Preserver Program Extends Summer Harvest for Year-Round Eating

BY ANN M. EVANS

Organized gardeners know that winter is the time to clean, sterilize, oil, sharpen and restore your hand-powered garden tools so they will be ready for use come spring. Sharp tools make the job easier, clean tools reduce disease infestation and proper storage increases longevity. If you yearn to be more organized come springtime, read on.

I keep a five-gallon bucket filled with coarse sand by the door inside the shed. I dip shovels and spades in the sand throughout the year to remove clods of dirt. Even so, by January, the shed is a mess and my tools need care.

After clearing and out and cleaning the shed so I can see what I have, I put back whatever is useful for next year, minus the tools. I recommend cleaning the long-handled tools first. If they are really dirty, wash them in water and rub them dry with a chamois. Scrub down any rough parts on the metal with steel wool and use a cloth dipped in vegetable oil to further clean the metal. Sand the tool handle with medium-grade sandpaper. Then, with a cloth, rub boiled linseed oil into the exposed wood grain.

Remove this rag from the tool shed when you are finished, as it may combust. Spread the rag out to dry on concrete. Once it is completely dry, throw it away.

To sharpen shovels and hoes, use an eight- or 10-inch mill file to file from the side that maintains the most contact with the ground. On the shovel, that is the backside. File toward the front side. As you face the hoe, file from the backside toward you. Store the sharpened tools back in the shed.

Short-handled tools—saws, pruners, loppers and trowels—also get cleaned, but not in water. Use a rag dipped in vegetable oil. If there is a bit of rust that won't clean off, use steel wool or 250 grit sandpaper or, failing that, naval jelly, a rust dissolver which can be purchased at a hardware store. Rub it on the rusted iron or steel part, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then wipe off the naval jelly with a cloth.

I sharpen bladed tools inside at the kitchen table covered with newspaper. To sharpen the blades, use files, whetstones or a carbide blade. Wear protective eyewear and gloves. Always sharpen a tool with motions away from yourself. If sap is present on blades, start with a spray disinfectant foaming bathroom cleaner product, and then scrape off any material with a paint scraper or sharp chisel.

To get into the tight areas on hand-held pruners, use a 4-inch Diafold® diamond flat file. Working at a 20° to 25° angle, apply light, even strokes, going from the tip to the base on the forward stroke with even pressure. The blade will gradually become shiny. For hand-held pruners and loppers, sharpen one blade only; this is called the bevel. When sharp, put some "3-in-1" oil on the hinge of the pruner and work it into the tool.

After cleaning, put the short-handled tools back in the shed, or a place where they will stay dry and rust free throughout the winter. I hang my long-handled tools and loppers on nails. Small trowels go together in a box with the dibbers. Hand pruners go together with knives and small pruning saws.

When the garden shed and tools are clean, I pore over my old Smith & Hawken tome, The Tool Book, by William Bryant Logan (Workman Publishing, 1997.) The text and illustrations of every kind of garden tool intrigue me and often inspire me to select a new tool for the coming year. The book has a small section on cleaning tools, as do most University Extension Master Gardener program publications. Ask your local garden center if they offer tool and knife sharpening as a paid service if you don't want to do this yourself— though proper care and storage of tools is a satisfying winter weekend activity.

BY PAMELA KAN-RICE

A wisp of white steam begins to spew from the vent in the lid of the pressure canner. After 10 minutes of watching the continuous stream of steam rise, volunteer Julia Jarvis announces to the Sacramento UC Master Food Preserver class that it is time to place the gauge on the canner. Once pressure is achieved, a timer is set for 25 minutes—the time the recipe requires for pressure canning chicken broth.

With the cool winter weather upon us, we tend to crave hearty soups and stews with a slice of crusty bread to enjoy on brisk evenings. You can make a large batch of soup and save some for later. And, if you start to long for the flavors and colors of summer, preserved local produce such as sweet corn can help bridge the gap until summer comes around again.

Pressure canning is one way you can preserve food to store and eat later. Other techniques include freezing, water bath canning, pickling and dehydrating.

Have you tried preserving food? Maybe you're nervous because you never learned the technique from your grandmother. Or, even if Grandma did show you, maybe you aren't confident that you're doing it the right way to maintain the quality and avoid making people sick.

Read more: UC Master Food Preserver Program Extends Summer Harvest for Year-Round Eating

BY COLIN GOULDING / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA THOMPSON

a cut above 1

When you walk into V. Miller Meats, the first thing you'll see is an impeccable case full of beautifully cut lamb shanks, freshly made sausage and oxtail the size of kabocha squash. Your first thought probably won't have anything to do with a breakfast in Brooklyn, but that is how the only whole-animal butcher shop in Sacramento began.

It was the ever-inspiring, smoky magic of bacon that started Eric Veldman Miller on his journey toward opening a butcher shop. And a common ethos of transparency in food production brought him together with Matt Azevedo, a magician of sausage, salumi and charcuterie. The duo worked for two years to realize the November opening of their shop in East Sacramento.

Read more: A Cut Above the Herd: Whole-Animal Butcher Shop Opens in East Sac

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