Archive for March, 2011

Market Report – End of March 2011

riverdog aspargus

The Derby Street market was hopping yesterday!  Lots of people were out enjoying the sunshine & also the Ecology Center’s César Chávez Celebration.  There were Capoeira dancers!

The other end of the market was atwitter with the upcoming Berkeley City Council meeting scheduled for later that afternoon to discuss the recycling program debate.

Betwixt and between where all those delightful things that say spring such as artichokes, carrots, spring onions, and of course asparagus.  There were a few strawberry sightings, but they don’t seem ready quite yet….

Late Winter Update from Brookside Farm

Flavor King pluot in bloom, photo by Welling Tom

Flavor King pluot in bloom, photo by Welling Tom

Here’s a report from Welling Tom of Brookside Farm in Brentwood, CA:

There wasn’t as much rain this year, but there was fog for most of January, so that constant wetness and lack of sunlight caused much of our broccoli to rot during that time. The soil has also remained too wet and sticky to allow for much planting of new crops. We did manage to sow some sugar snap peas during the past 3 weeks, and can only hope that it hasn’t been too cold for the seeds to germinate.

Last Saturday’s cold snap in the Bay Area affected Brookside Farm in a completely unexpected way. For the past couple of years, we’ve been ordering our tomato seedlings exclusively from Kassenhoff Growers, located in Oakland. The owner/operators have been our friends for many years, and Oakland has always had much milder winters than Brentwood or any other inland areas, so things have always worked without a hitch. But last Saturday morning, it was just as cold in Oakland as it was in Brentwood, so much of the earliest tomato plants were killed. A relatively small loss for Brookside Farm (as we will be getting more tomato plants that were started at a later time, and were thus under heavier protection), but a major loss for our friends at Kassenhoff Growers.

Continue reading ‘Late Winter Update from Brookside Farm’

Prosciutti Tasting Goes Exotic

Oliviero Colmignoli (Olli)–the prosciutto-maker with Ossabaw procuitto at the SF Fancy Food Show

Oliviero Colmignoli (Olli)–the prosciutto-maker with Ossabaw prosciutto at the SF Fancy Food Show

[see the 2011 Whole Hog menu]

The Duroc is a good pig. Back in the day, people were really happy with a nice Duroc. We still like Paul Willis’s hogs, a mixed breed known as Farmers’ Hybrid. This is a combination of older breeds, having good mothering skills, higher backfat than conventional pigs and a sturdy constitution for outdoor living.

In recent years there has been increasing interest to find the “next big thing” in regards to pig breeds. This has led to tracking down small ranchers working with lesser know breeds, as well as a restored interest and a deeper understanding of breed traits and quality.

You can really taste good pork in cured meats, particularly prosciutto. And some of the breeds now finding attention can be truly delicious. So, for the 2011 Whole Hog Dinners, we’ll be offering tastings of some of these newly re-discovered breeds. Continue reading ‘Prosciutti Tasting Goes Exotic’

Ponsford’s Place

Craig Ponsford has been a great friend to Oliveto over the past year.  As we have become increasing interested in locally grown wheat and the use of whole grain flour for our pizzas and pastas, Craig has been providing us with all the necessary instruction & guidance as only a master baker can do.  As a direct result of this friendship and Craig’s contagious enthusiasm, the Oliveto Grain Project evolved into a full-blown obsession and eventually Community Grains was formed.

So we are thrilled to announce that Craig has started his own pop-up bakery in San Rafael, CA.  Ponsford’s Place is doing some amzing things by way of delicious baked goods that use 100% whole grains.  To find out when Craig will “pop-up” next you’ll want to follow Pondsford’s Place on Twitter or Facebook.  Innovative is an understatement.