Spring 2018 Issue

Last Updated February 27, 2018
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Spring 2018 Issue

Early on the morning of Monday, October 9, 2017, I woke up in Nashville, Tennessee, to find my phone already filled with messages alerting me that much of “home” was on fire.

I was flying home that morning to head immediately to Cornerstone Sonoma, where I was to host a bartender symposium for 75 local bartenders and chefs later that afternoon. My initial call to Victoria Campbell, the general manager of Cornerstone’s sister property, Ramekins Culinary School, Events & Inn, revealed that, she, like most in the immediate area of the North Bay fires, was still gathering the facts and trying to stay positive and hopeful.

By the time I reached 10,000 feet and an internet connection on my flight, the picture had become more clear—devastatingly so. Ramekins had already converted its event space and inn into an emergency evacuation shelter. The food they had prepped for our bartender symposium, and every other event on their books, was being finished to feed evacuees and first responders already hard at work.

Similar stories were unfolding throughout Sonoma and Napa counties, as residents were evacuated from their homes and businesses, including farms and ranches, and hundreds of first responders poured into our area to assist local firefighters in corralling the wildfires. Some had already learned the worst: Their homes and businesses had been destroyed as the fires raged that first night.

Almost immediately, the extraordinary food and drink community here sprang into action, offering their time and effort, and real money, to nourish friends, neighbors and strangers in need. As you will read throughout this issue, there was no one leader in these massive and widespread efforts. What happened was a spontaneous upwelling from the hearts of many—some fire victims themselves, like Tuck and Boo Beckstoffer, whose Soda Canyon ranch and home were destroyed the night the fires began.

The gathering together and feeding continued until the fires were contained and those fortunate enough to have homes to return to were able to do so. The effort was so robust, in fact, that first responders coined the term “the 10-Pound Fire,” because many of them actually gained weight during their work here.

And our local heroes have not stopped. From a free community pancake breakfast hosted by the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in mid-November (where over 1,000 gathered to honor first responders) to high-end dinners hosted by superstar chefs including Thomas Keller, Christopher Kostow and Tyler Florence (which raised big money for rebuilding efforts), our community is still rising up to nourish one another. Read this issue to learn of ways that you, too, can still lend a hand.

As spring dawns in Edible Marin & Wine Country, the North Bay hills are showing signs of the wonderful resilience of nature, and plans to rebuild infrastructure and lost homes and businesses are in the works. None of us will forget the fear and devastation wrought by the fires of 2017, but neither will we forget how we responded to one another.

I am daily and eternally grateful to live in this community

With Fire in Their Bellies

BAY AREA CHEFS AND FOOD COMMUNITY NOURISH THOSE IN NEED DURING THE 2017 WINE COUNTRY FIRES Whenever the wind starts to howl now, Kelly...

A lingering Legacy

NATURALLY, M.F.K. FISHER’S “LAST HOUSE” HAS A TALE TO TELL By now dark had almost come. I sat on the balcony feeling a little like the owl...

The Escoffier Questionnaire: Chef Ryan Fancher

HEALDSBURG’S BARNDIVA AND BARNDIVA’S GALLERY & BISTRO Some people are just born to the line. Chef Ryan Fancher of Healdsburg’s Barndiva...

The Perfect Pairing

CHEVOO'S CALIFORNIA DILL POLLEN & GARLIC MARINATED CHEVRE WITH A WARM SPRING SALAD AND CIDER—THE PERFECT TASTE OF SPRING COOK THIS...

Culatello

THE “LITTLE ASS” THAT BECAME THE CROWN JEWEL OF ITALIAN CURED MEATS One might assume that the king of Italian cured meats would be...

Avalow

PLANTING THE SEEDS FOR CLIENTS TO GROW THEIR OWN In late January, Windsor resident Susan Nelson was harvesting beautiful orange cauliflower...

The Hop Comeback

A SMALL RESURGENCE OF SONOMA’S “LOST CROP” BRINGS NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL CRAFT BREWERS AND FARMERS. Hop plants are enchanting. Stout...

The Forager and the Fire

MISSIVES FROM MT. VEEDER The deer were bounding like blown leaves Under the smoke in front the roaring wave of the brush-fire; I thought of...

Harvesting Umami

RARE NEGATIVE LOW TIDE FOLLOWING A FULL MOON SERVES UP A PICK-YOUR-OWN SEAWEED FARM Seaweed harvesting is something I’d never seriously...

Ultimate Upcycling

FROM FOOD SCRAPS TO FILET MIGNON On a typical weekday morning, Jeff Kent hops in his flatbed truck and spends a couple of hours collecting...

Trial by Fire

WHEN THE TRAGEDY WAS AT ITS WORST, THE COMMUNITY BROUGHT ITS BEST “It’s gone. It’s all gone.” Five words forever changed me. At 2:32am on...

Nourishing Community

COMING HOME TO THE “10 POUND FIRE” It was the second Tuesday of our October fires. As I drove up Broadway toward the Sonoma Plaza on my way...

Miner’s Lettuce

A WILD MOTHER LODE OF FLAVOR AND NUTRITION When Northern California turns bright green in early spring, it’s a safe bet that miner’s...
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