Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In season now

So over the weekend, I read 'Alice Waters and Chez Panisse' by Thomas Mcnamee -- it seemed fitting, considering that I'll be heading out that way on Saturday (excited squeal). The book included several examples of menus at CheZ Panisse over the years, most -- if not all -- which include local, seasonal produce. So that got me thinking -- what is in season in northern California right now? Like, what can I expect to find at the farmers' market next Sunday? Here's what I dug up:
In late April, here's what one can expect to find: Apples, Asparagus, Avocados, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cherries, Fennel, Grapefruit, Halibut, Pacific, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Nectarines, Okra, Onions, Oranges, Peas, Pistachios, Potatoes, Radishes, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Scallions, Shrimp, Pink, Spinach, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Turnips.
So I guess the question really is, what's NOT in season in northern California right now?
Just wanted to share...and gloat a little, too :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

When you go to San Francisco...

So, it’s official – California dreamin’ is now California reality. That’s right, folks – in a few weeks, I am leaving the Berkshires behind and headed west to the land of fruit and nuts. I know you’ll want to laugh at me, but I have it in my head that I need to go westward, to the land of gold and oranges.
So how did this happen? I had a long talk with myself a few months ago about where I wanted my life to go next, what my goals are, and what I felt like I was missing. One of the biggest things to immediately pop into my head was family. As you probably know, my family is scattered across the country – my parents are in Texas, my brother in California, and then my extended family is mostly in Michigan and Massachusetts. My grandparents live pretty close to where I am now, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned. I have been so lucky to be able to be close with them – I mean, I’ve always been close to them, but once I moved to Vermont and then here, I was able to spend a lot more time with them. I try to visit them every few weeks, and I bring my dog with me – he and my grandfather have grown very close, too. 
So, I love being close to them…but the price I pay is that I see the rest of my family only about twice a year – and we’re all together over Christmas…and that’s about it. It makes me really sad, because I think that as far as modern families go, we’re really close. Sure, we squabble (and sometimes worse), but we all really love each other and enjoy each other’s company. That’s especially true with my brother and I – we’re fairly close in age, and I am lucky enough to say that he’s one of my best friends.
So to summarize, being closer to my family seemed like a worthy goal.
And from there, my immediate next thought was food. I mean, of course. And of course, San Francisco and the Bay Area are a major food hotspot. Not only is Berkeley home to Chez Panisse and the beginning of the locavore, slow food movement in America, but go a little north and you’re in wine country (ahem, the French Laundry – Thomas Keller is a god). Plus the city is overflowing with awesome restaurants, particularly seafood (which you know to be a passion of mine). So that kind of seemed to make sense.
And then I thought about my job. Food and food writing are still a passion of mine (thank goodness for this blog and the opportunity to spout off about whatever is on my foodie mind at the moment, even if it is rather sporadically). I hope to be able to pick up some freelance assignments out that way and continue to move forward in that sense – and there’s the thing. I wasn’t going to move forward where I was working. Although there are some major advantages to the job, it wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be…and I was soooo tired of being sooooo broke all the time.
Put all that together and what do you get? California, baby! So I started looking for jobs and a great one came my way and off I go! I am going to miss my grandparents SO MUCH (I wish I could just pack them in my suitcase and take them with me), but that is the only con to an otherwise pro-filled list. As the guy from Doc Hollywood once said,"Sometimes a man's got to do what a man's got to do...and sometimes, that's in California."
I’ll write again soon – this time probably about the Dungeness crab I just ate and the cake from Miette that I’m looking forward to (never mind lunch at Chez Panisse). Looking forward to it!