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Welcome to Edible East Bay's newsletter
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Pick up your copy of our Fall issue at the following
farmers' markets and local businesses.
Celebrate the Crush in
Livermore Valley




Indulge in wine tasting with a view,
Sept 3 & 4. Read more

 

On Wine Grapes and Honey



 Blessing of the grapes and other seasonal harvest adventures.
Read more.

 Fighting for Real Cheese



Read our book review, and meet
the authors at Berkeley's
Cheese Board Collective, Sept 5.
Perk Up Your Plants
with Coffee Grounds




This garden amendment is free
and easy to get. Read more.

Noodle Soup Epiphanies



Chef Nite Yun offers Cambodian dishes in the Emeryville Public Market. Read our story by writer Sarah Henry.
 

Happy Acre Farm
Seeks Harvest Help




Try your hand at harvesting on an organic farm in Sunol. Rewards include hourly pay plus a share of the produce. Read more.


Celebrate the Crush in Livermore Valley


Sample a variety of Livermore Valley's best wines at the region's annual Harvest Wine Celebration.

Sip wines from more than 40 Livermore Valley wineries as the Annual Harvest Wine Celebration moves to a new spot at Las Positas College. Take in the view of vineyards and windmills from the college sports field. Enjoy arts and crafts by local artisans, lawn games, food trucks, and three bands taking turns performing out on the lawn. Tastings continue the next day at participating wineries. VIP tickets come with complimentary food, tasting of 10 additional award-winning wines, seminars, and access to shaded lounge areas. General admission: $55 advance, $65 same day; VIP tickets: $85 advance, $100 same day. Info and tickets: here

36th Annual Harvest Wine Celebration
Sunday September 3, noon–5pm
Top of Las Positas College
3000 Campus Hill Dr, Livermore
Continues on Monday September 4 at participating Livermore Valley wineries: check website for details


Photo courtesy of Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.



 
On Wine Grapes and Honey
Blessing of the grapes and other seasonal harvest adventures
By Cheryl Angelina Koehler, editor of Edible East Bay

Winemaker John Concannon gives the opening remarks at the 2017 Livermore Valley Blessing of the Grapes.
 
Each year, as the northern hemisphere tilts into fall, I like to indulge myself with a trip out to our urban fringe areas to look in on the harvest. My interest in Alameda County’s southeastern region began with the first issue of Edible East Bay (Fall 2005), when we covered Livermore Valley’s olive oil and wine production, and I like to return again and again to see how things have changed—and how they haven’t.
 
This time I aimed my visit for the August 23 Blessing of the Grapes at Concannon Vineyard. Several Concannon family members were in attendance to turn the page and enter the 134th chapter of their history as “America's oldest ongoing winery under the same family label and stewardship.”
 
The Blessing of the Grapes, a ritual practiced in many wine regions of the world, officially marks the start of the wine grape harvest. Many winemakers in Livermore Valley attend to receive the blessing. The brief morning event features local clergy extolling the role wine has played throughout the ages of human history. “Wine gladdens the human heart,” spoke First Presbyterian Church of Livermore pastor Steve Harrington as he honored winegrowers and winemakers along with those who work in the field. The moment is a brief respite before the heavy and exacting work of the grape harvest.
 
I especially enjoyed the words of Rabbi Larry Milder of Pleasanton’s Congregation Beth Emek, and stepped up to ask him for his crib sheet so I could share it with our readers. (See below.)
 
Leaving Concannon, I rambled east for several miles, then north on Greenfield Road, finding myself at the eastern entrance to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Taking a perpendicular course away from the lab, I nonetheless I found myself racing through packs of fast-moving scientists using Lupin Way as a lunch-hour treadmill.

 
My destination was El Sol Winery. Proprietor and winemaker Hal Liske had extended an invitation to meet his bees, and the insects were impressively busy.
 
“The way they order their society, the organization of tasks, and how that changes through the workers lives is amazing,” said the winemaker. “You can tell how they are doing by looking in the hive. Each hive has a temperament.”
 
Liske served as fire chief for the City of Hayward Fire Department for 36 years. On retirement, he bought his Livermore property with the intention of pursuing his longtime passion for beekeeping. Setting up to run a honey ranch with 200 colonies of bees as livestock, he soon found that lifting the heavy bee boxes was hard on the body.
 
“I decided as a 64-year-old guy not to stick it out,” said Liske. “Honey weighs 12 pounds per gallon, while a gallon of water weighs only eight pounds.”

 
Much of a beekeeper's work centers on keeping the hives healthy, but Lisak's take on the widely reported bee health crisis was more heartening than we often hear:
 
“Coming back in with computers has made it easier to address the problem. We are learning more about bee husbandry and raising queens. If you get a good genetic strain, they will be good at their own housekeeping and will be resistant to the varroa mite.”
 
Coaching local beekeepers has become the focus of Liske’s bee business, but he gladly offers honey tastes and a beekeeping demo to any tasting room visitor showing a glimmer of interest. Liske’s hive demos are listed as one of many highlights during the Valley’s 2017 Harvest Wine Celebration, coming up on Labor Day weekend.
 
“It used to be called the Honey and Wine Festival,” Liske says of this long-running annual celebration. Indeed, the valley once hosted a huge number of beekeepers, and bee demos were always part of the festivities. These days the honey part of the festival goes on at El Sol Winery, so be sure to stop by for a sweet and interesting visit as you are doing your Livermore Valley touring.


Photo above right: Local carpentry pro Paul Heald made this horizontal hive as a gift for his friend, winemaker/beekeeper Hal Liske. “He researched the colors bees like,” says Liske, as he points out the fine tongue and groove construction of the joints.


Photos: Cheryl Angelina Koehler

 
Gardener’s Notebook
 

Perk Up Your Plants with a Free and Easy Amendment:
Coffee Grounds


Your used coffee grounds can provide a natural and beneficial soil amendment. Add this natural food source to your soil by following these easy steps.

Capture the gold
Don’t just dump coffee grounds in your compost. Separate them into their own bucket, and remove coffee filter if possible.

Identify heavy feeders in your garden
Tomato, squash, pumpkin, corn, apple, pear, plum, cherry, avocado, roses, camellias, magnolias, and azaleas welcome regular nutrients, while many California native plants and Mediterranean plants (e.g. sages and lavenders) do not want such rich nutrients regularly added around their roots. Stick to feeding your perennials and vegetables.

Do the “sugar shake”
Gently sprinkle (also known as sugar shaking) the coffee grounds around plants you want to feed. Avoid clumping a whole handful of grounds in any one area, as they are very acidic.

Repeat once per month
Each time you spread coffee grounds, find new destinations for them.

Don’t have a garden yet?
You can begin to feed and enhance the soil biology of empty plots by sugar shaking coffee grounds on soil anywhere.

Working on a large project?
See if your local coffee shop will let you pick up bags of spent grounds. Shops are usually very willing.

Want to learn more?  Check out Josh's YouTube video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQlxfWVqFH8] on using coffee grounds in the garden.
 
Joshua Burman Thayer is a San Francisco Bay Area ecological and permaculture landscape designer and consultant specializing in dry-land landscape design. He can be reached at 510.332.2809 or online at www.nativesungardens.com


Illustration: Charmaine Koehler-Lodge



 

Kristina’s Bookshelf
 

Fighting for Real Cheese
 
Reinventing the Wheel:
Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese

by Bronwen Percival and Francis Percival
(University of California Press, 2017 )
 
Cheesemaking was once a simple, earnest craft. Farmers, homemakers, food crafters, and others used fresh milk from healthy, pasture-grazed animals to make flavorful cheeses without chemicals or additives. Those practices have been changed dramatically by industrial production, as Bronwen Percival, a British cheese writer and professional cheese buyer, and Francis Percival, a food journalist, describe in this well-researched and detailed book. The authors explain how cheese was formerly "the product of its own indigenous microbial cultures, local breeds, and specialized knowledge," but in recent times has largely become a product of industrial monoculture. They also explore how cheesemakers in France, the United States, and Australia are rediscovering the techniques of older generations and what makes a “good” cheese.
 
Join the authors for an educational evening with plenty of cheese to taste. Books will be available for purchase at 15% off cover price. Cost: $35. Tickets and info: here
 
Reinventing the Wheel; Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese
Tuesday September 5, 7:45pm
The Cheese Board Collective
1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
 
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers. 
 
(Reinventing the Wheel:
Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese

by Bronwen Percival and Francis Percival
(University of California Press, 2017 )
 
Cheesemaking was once a simple, earnest craft. Farmers, homemakers, food crafters, and others used fresh milk from healthy, pasture-grazed animals to make flavorful cheeses without chemicals or additives. Those practices have been changed dramatically by industrial production, as Bronwen Percival, a British cheese writer and professional cheese buyer, and Francis Percival, a food journalist, describe in this well-researched and detailed book. The authors explain how cheese was formerly "the product of its own indigenous microbial cultures, local breeds, and specialized knowledge," but in recent times has largely become a product of industrial monoculture. They also explore how cheesemakers in France, the United States, and Australia are rediscovering the techniques of older generations and what makes a “good” cheese.
 
Join the authors for an educational evening with plenty of cheese to taste. Books will be available for purchase at 15% off cover price. Cost: $35. Tickets and info: here
 
Reinventing the Wheel; Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese
Tuesday September 5, 7:45pm
The Cheese Board Collective
1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
 
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers. )
 
 
 

Happy Acre Farm Seeks Harvest Help



Want to try your hand at harvesting on an organic farm? Happy Acre Farm, located at the Sunol Ag Park, is looking for harvest help as well as assistance in their booth at the Jack London Square and Kensington farmers' markets, both held on Sundays. Rewards include a share of the produce. Get in touch at twohappyfarmers@gmail.com. Details: here



 




 












 
  

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