January 4, 2013
We also learned a dozen food stories—among hundreds—learned us up a little more on who our community is and what will shape it in 2013 and beyond.
Yesterday the Food Blog covered the top 2012 Monterey County foodie stories 12 through nine, and introduced a little water polo inspiration why. Today here's the next four:
8 • Carmel Valley rises. Any local who hasn't been living in a WiFi-free wine cellar has noticed the boom in Carmel Valley tasting rooms, which now number around 16 (though that changes as soon as the first out-of-towner moves in across from Kasey’s). They've got so many, in fact, that the small unincorporated town introduced a tasting destination-within-a-destination with the six-pack East End Wine Row. While venerable small-batch local wineries continue to move in—note the new Rombi Wines just around the corner from East End, and Cima Collina's shiny redone cow barn in the last few months alone—this place is about more than wine. Much-anticipated Lokal, new this year, gives it a youthful culinary creativity that wasn't there before—as we predicted with a piece called "Brendan Jones recruits a partner from Prague to give the area an infusion of foodie energy. " And as part of a winter 2012 Wine & Dine, we outlined an entire alphabet of tasty reasons to dig in with "Foodie A to Z in Carmel Valley." (Bonus C.V. gold, with a feisty side: Ex-boxer John Saunders does incredible Cab Francs and the Jones boys, one a former MMAer, go off on a cranky customer. And Holman Ranch added elements to its new tasting room, too. )
7 • Monterey County helps pioneer CSFs. Community-supported agriculture, or CSAs, present one of the most accessible and tangible ways for locals to put their money where their mouth is, literally: Their monies not only go directly to the small plot farmers who steward land and relationships with the consciousness and sustainability factory farms never could, but allow the close-to-the-bone local family operations to plan their budgets and plantings far better. Local Catch Monterey took the concept to the high seas to do the same thing for area fishermen (and the fishery itself), spreading sustainably caught spiny lobster, oysters, sturgeon and more among shareholders. The Weekly broke word of the idea in August 2011; followed with first word on how to sign up; described how it could help heal ailing oceans at the start of the year, and, once it was in place this winter, provided an in-depth, three-reporter look at what it's like to try week-to-week.
6 • Local stars from tiny towns go national. The story of the elderly, seemingly angry German lady with the bologna sandwiches in population-700 Spreckels (she's actually quite sweet) was strange enough to overshadow the sidebar that came at the end of the cover story package. But that sidebar story—of another Spreckels resident, Chef Todd Fisher—will ultimately reach all of the country's biggest cities (the anti-Spreckels of the world), as Fisher's United States of Bacon TV show was picked up for it first season following the debut of the pilot this fall. (We also reviewed the Sticks grill Fisher runs in Pebble Beach.) In another tiny Monterey County town, Sand City (population 300ish), Monterey Beer Festival's Jeff Moses hatched and cultivated a national beer brand with Major League Baseball legend Frank Thomas, which the Weekly broke with an April cover story, "Being Frank About Beer." Poetically enough, Moses once pitched a cooking show starring Fisher called "Cooking With Grandma."
5 • The Weekly provides a local seafood fraud reality check. The newsroom took to local dining rooms armed with vials to capture seafood samples and test its DNA for truth in labeling. The results were picked up across the region and speak to the loose ethics of many kitchens, greenwashing temptations, the importance of accountability—and the very future of the oceans’ fish stocks. For anyone who likes seafood, Assistant Editor Kera Abraham's "Bait and Switch: Seafood fraud disguises farmed salmon as wild, tilapia as snapper and sole as sand dabs. What’s on your plate – and how did it get there?" is required reading.