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An orange tree is covered in icicles at Foothill Organic Growers in Newcastle on Dec. 6, 2013. Despite freezing cold weather and eight nights below 32 degrees, local farmers say their citrus trees and fruit pretty much survived the frost scare. They’ll celebrate the mandarin crop Dec. 21 and 22 during Orchard Days, hosted by the Mountain Mandarin Growers Association.
Some nights felt plenty chilly, but most foothill citrus growers dodged December’s big cold bullet. So, there will be plenty of mandarins available for buyers during this weekend’s final Orchard Days.
Eight straight nights of sub-freezing temperatures took their toll on local mandarin orchards.
“We probably lost 10 to 20 percent of low-hanging fruit,” said Steve Pilz, a third-generation foothill mandarin grower. “(On the coldest night), the air temperature got down to 22 degrees at 3:30 in the morning. Luckily, all we got were a few flakes of snow. A few years back, we could actually ski on our property.”
Pilz’s family has been growing mandarins in the Sierra foothills since 1927. His Pilz Produce at Hillcrest Orchard in Penryn ranges between 450 and 775 feet of elevation. The older trees help insulate themselves against hard frost.
John Dziekan/ MCT
Heirloom tomatoes, which often look more lumpy than round, helped usher in acceptance of “ugly produce,” expected to be a major food trend for 2014.
Heirloom tomatoes and farmers markets opened the refrigerator door on a major trend for 2014: Ugly produce.
That’s according to JWT, the marketing communications giant. Wednesday, JWT released its ninth annual forecast of future food trends. Along with edible packaging (eat the wrapper, too) and silent restaurant meals (no cellphone or talking allowed), ugly produce will become more common in the year ahead, say JWT’s expert trendspotters.
Prompted by the farm-to-fork movement, this trend celebrates unusual looking vegetables and fruit. Instead of condemning lop-sided tomatoes or warty squash to the compost heap, these natural oddballs could be all the rage. Proclaimed as “Proudly Imperfect,” this gnarly produce is already gaining more appeal than its prettier counterparts commonly seen in supermarkets, reports JWT. Also on the ugly list are vegetables that look less than perfect even at their best, such as taro root and jicama, but are gaining in popularity along with continued interest in ethnic cuisines.
According to JWT, Europe is taking the lead in ugly produce as a way to reduce food waste by selling rather than discarding imperfect fruit and vegetables. Austrian chain Billa, for example, offers a private-label line of “nonconformist” produce dubbed “Wunderlinge,” a made-up word that combines the terms for “anomaly” and “miracle.” German retailer Edeka tested selling ugly produce at a discount, branded as “nobody is perfect.” Meanwhile, British magazine Delicious encourages readers to buy imperfect produce and speak out against regulations governing the appearance of produce sold in stores.
Larry Crowe/ AP
Sugar cookies are a favorite choice for holiday baking and decorating. Make sure to let them dry overnight before packaging for gift giving.
Sugar cookies are a holiday mainstay, but how do you bake perfect treats every time? With Christmas only a week away, theres no time for mistakes or burnt cookies.
The editors of Country Woman magazine shared their best tips for great sugar cookies:
• Use a light touch. Over-working the dough will make it tough. Try to handle it as little as possible.
• Chill. Refrigerate the dough before rolling out; it makes for easier handling.
The Mexican market known as Mercado Loco will reportedly be torn down and turned into a CVS drug store, which has generated some pushback from local Mexican food aficionados and others concerned about the encroachment of chain stores. An online petition is now being circulated under the heading: “CVS: Find another location for your planned CVS store at Franklin and Sutterville. Sacramento residents love Mercado Loco!” More than 300 folks have signed in support.
But the one place you won’t find much contention with Mercado Loco vs. CVS is from longtime Franklin Boulevard business owners.
According to Frank Cable, the president of the North Franklin District Business Association board of directors, a CVS drug store will take over Mercado Loco’s property at 3710 Franklin Blvd. in the summer of 2015, tear down the building and open the CVS by early summer of 2016. This notion doesn’t bother him a bit.
“Not to take away from Mercado Loco - they’re a wonderful business and nice people, but things are still happening on the boulevard,” said Cable. “I think it’s going to be a great location (for CVS). It might be a nice improvement for that corner and bring more property tax dollars that could fund other things. There’s no big upheaval on the boulevard about this.”
For those students who can’t make it home for the holidays, the town of Davis can feel pretty lonely around Christmas time. Some senior citizens in Davis might also be missing family as well, and in need of company and a cheery meal.
The holiday spirit will be in full effect in Aggie Town come Christmas Eve. The 28th Annual Holiday Meal will be served for all who show up to the Veteran’s Memorial Center (14th & B Streets, Davis), which in previous editions has included such traditional offerings as mashed potatoes, stuffing, desserts and much more. And being that this feast will be served in the socially conscious hamlet of Davis, a vegan menu will be available as well.
The Davis Food Co-Op acts as the meal’s main sponsor, with additional support from the city of Davis, UC Davis Dining Services, the Davis Rebekah Lodge and many more. Volunteers are also welcome to help with this meal for 600 people, and dessert donations are welcome.
The volunteer list tends to fill up by mid-December, so call the Davis Food Co-Op to see what help may still be needed: (530) 758-2667.
The wine mags of the world continue to release their best of 2013 lists, and once again, the greater Sacramento area has landed some recognition. The latest instances come via Wine Enthusiast magazine, which published three different year-end lists, and all include some local flavor.
Bogle Winery of Clarksburg nabbed spot #47 in Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 best buys for the Bogle 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel. This $11 bottle was described by Wine Enthusiast as, Great value in a lusty, versatile Zin. (Thats Warren Bogle, the winerys president and vineyard manager, pictured above).
As for The Enthusiast 100, which lists the magazines top wine picks of the year, Easton Wines of Amador County landed at #42 for its 2010 Estate Bottled Zinfandel ($32). For those keeping score at home, this inclusion continues another instance of year-end critical praise for Easton, including mention on Wine Spectators 100 Outstanding Values of 2013.
Lodi was also given a nod by Wine Enthusiast, with Bokisch 2010 Tempranillo ($21) taking #52 on The Enthusiast 100, and an accompanying blurb saying, This has to be one of Californias best tempranillos.
Just in time for holiday shopping, Andy’s was full of curious customers Monday.
The display case at the counter makes decision-making a challenge.
I was running a few errands downtown Monday morning and stumbled upon Andy’s Candy Apothecary, a new upscale candy boutique on 9th Street downtown.
It’s a stylish, well-organized shop full of all kinds of candy selections, many of them grouped into little boxed sets that seem perfect for gift giving.
This much-anticipated shop was actually the grand prize winner of the Downtown Sacramento Foundation’s “Calling All Dreamers” competition.
Owner Andy Paul won prizes worth $135,000 — $10,000 cash, and a variety of business services, along with a year of free rent courtesy of CIM Group, advertising in Sacramento Magazine and Inside Publications, build-out help from Market One and several other services.
Two men who had designs on breakfast at Crepeville learn the midtown eatery is temporarily closed.
A sign on the door tells customers the news: closed for maintenance.
Crepeville, the popular eatery in the heart of midtown, has closed temporarily for routine maintenance.
When word first spread about the closure over the weekend, rumors swirled and fans of the restaurant feared the worst.
But the bad news, if you can call it that, will be short-lived.
“This is just for a week. We need to change some of the equipment,” said co-owner Philippe Masoud early Monday. “It’s mostly maintenance of the equipment, lots of cleaning, whatever needs to be done.”
Special to The Bee
Demetri Gregorakis is one of the new owners of Blackbird and promises to play the role of pragmatist to complement Carina Lampkin’s creative cooking.
Meet Demetri Gregorakis, one of the new owners of Blackbird Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant on 9th Street downtown that closed suddenly in late September, sat idle for three months and counting, then suddenly began to show signs of new life in recent days.
The dead and buried Blackbird stirred up more than a little controversy as it circled the drain, especially the way its owners broke the news of its closing to employees. It was in an email that sort of went like this: Dear employees. You’re unemployed as of now. Thanks.
But that was then, this is now, and Gregorakis, 29, says he wants to be part of this new venture, making clear he played no part in the sudden closure and that now-notorious email. He will be equal partners with Carina Lampkin, the chef who is both admired and criticized for her creative bent and colorful personality.
Gregorakis says he has already reached out to those ex-employees, invited them back to learn about the new concept and, if they’re willing and able, return to work at Blackbird when it has its soft opening, which is slated for Feb. 5.
Courtesy of Sharon Gerber
Watercolors by Sharon Gerber will be on display during an open house hosted by Ettore’s European Bakery.
Some might say the daily delights at Ettore’s European Bakery are in themselves works of art. But the bakery didn’t stop with edible art.
Fourteen watercolors commissioned by the bakery for its production facility by artist Sharon Gerber, depict fruits, patries, cakes and coffee. She says the subject matter draws upon items sold by Ettore or the ingredients they’re made from.
To celebrate the installation of the artwork, Ettore’s is hosting an open house in two parts at its production facility, 931 Enterprise Dr., Sacramento. The bakery will provide treats 8-10 a.m. Wednesday and 4-6 p.m. Thursday.
You can RSVP if you plan to attend, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean Kohmescher is the owner of Temple Fine Coffee and Tea on 28th St., Sacramento.
Sacramento’s becoming better known as a beer town, but it’s already on the map as far as coffee is concerned.
Respected online coffee publication Coffee Review released its Top 30 Coffees of 2013 today, with Sacramento’s Temple Coffee and Tea of Sacramento earning the No. 1 slot for it’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffee.
“We selected the top 30 coffees based on quality (represented by overall score), value (reflected by most affordable price per pound), and a ranking of other factors that include distinctiveness of style, uniqueness of origin or tree variety, certification, and general rarity,” Kenneth Davids, Coffee Review editor, said in a statement.
Coffee Review has been using a 100-point wine-style review for coffees since 1997, but this is the first year they broke out the top 30. Temple’s Ethopian Yiragacheffee scored 96 points in their judging. The average rating for the top 30 was 94.4.
Photo by Keith Breedlove
The owners of Papa Dale’s food truck will stop in-house food service at the Starlite Lounge and rebrand in a partnership with French 25 in Stockton.
When the Townhouse dive bar on 21st Street in Midtown closed last summer, the Starlite Lounge moved in. Co-owners Shannon Cannon and Charlie Coyne (owner of the Delta King) did a much-needed makeover and contracted with Keith Breedlove to oversee the in-house food-service program.
The menu mirrored the one aboard Breedlove’s roving food truck, Papa Dale’s, which specializes in “modernish” high-end pub grub such as tri-tip, house-cured bacon, and from-scratch mac ‘n’ cheese with five-cheese sauce.
Now word comes that Papa Dale’s will pull out of the Starlite at the end of the month.
“I love Shannon and Charlie, but we can’t keep things going,” said Breedlove, who is also the executive chef at the New Orleans-vibes French 25 in Stockton. “My wife and I are the only ones running everything, and (the Starlite) was becoming too much of a burden for us to handle properly. That’s why we decided to end the relationship.”