"My passion for food began young."
I am the editor of the influential website www.EatLocalChallenge.com which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers.
I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003.
I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers' Market, which was released in February 2010.
I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what's in season and chatting with farmers.
Fridays when I am in town, you will likely find me at The Jug Shop participating in beer tastings organized by Eric Cripe, Beer and Spirits Specialist and a certified cicerone (cicerones are the beer world's version wine sommeliers). Over the past couple years, I have been able to taste literally hundreds of different beers under Eric's guidance, many of them hard to find and specifically curated for these tastings.
Almanac Beer Company is one of the newest players in the ever-active San Francisco brewing community. Partners Damian Fagan and Jesse Friedman joined together to form the company, which took several years and culminated in a launch brew that was produced in the summer of 2010 and will be available this month.
I love living in San Francisco. In what other major city does the ouster of a sausage vendor at the farmers market become a platform for public debate?
First of all, a little background: This week, the Chronicle reported in an column by CW Nevius that the Aidells booth at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was being asked to leave by the end of the month.
Saturday morning at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was classically representative of the way I shop the market. My plan was to get in and out in about an hour and go home to start my day. But all the vendors had stories, and I ran into friends and two and a half hours later, I was trudging home, my arms laden with lots of delicious goodies for the week.
Last Sunday, a brand-new farmers market opened in one of my favorite San Francisco neighborhoods: The Inner Sunset. The market, in the parking lot at Ninth and Irving streets, is run by the Pacific Coast Farmers Markets Association and will run from June through November.
I have been in Southern California for about a week. I am here for some work obligations, and also to "babysit" two boys. The boys are 11 and 14, and they are like little brothers to me. I've known them since they were born, and we all truly enjoy hanging out together. I convinced Jack, the oldest, that my name was "Cool Jen" when I was a baby, and the name has stuck. Even as young men, they still introduce me to their friends as Cool Jen.
Boccalone is a store that is located in the Ferry Building, and is the brainchild of Incanto chef Chris Cosentino and his business partner Mark Pastore. It has been open less than a year, and attracts great attention in the Ferry Building with its pristine meat slicers and case of hanging meats. In addition to their delectable porcine products, Boccalone also offers sparkling water (like what is offered at Incanto) -- I love filling up my bottle on farmers market days before I battle the crowds.
For about as long as I have been talking about eating food from local farmers, I have been talking about Gary Paul Nabhan. He is the author of a book called Coming Home to Eat which definitively changed my life's course and really made me focus on talking about eating local food.
It's an exciting time around the farmers market these days. I hadn't been to the market for about two weeks, and was amazed at how much the market changed in a short amount of time. There is a promise of summer fruit in the air, and the spring vegetables are in abundance. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to this month.
The Garden is a documentary film about the life and death of a community garden in Los Angeles. After the 1992 Rodney King riots which fractured the South Central Los Angeles community, the City of Los Angeles allotted a 14-acre piece of property to the community, allowing them to create farm plots for 347 families on the corner of 41st and Alameda (two miles from the location of my grandfather's restaurant). The creation of this garden made it the largest community garden in the United States.
There are certain books that are such a part of one's life, that it's hard to believe that not everyone knows about them. In fact, when I sat down to write this blog post, I found it unbelievable that I have never mentioned this book to you before. 3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery was published in 2000 and written by Seppo Ed Farrey. I bought it soon after, and have been cooking with it ever since.