Thursday, April 9, 2015

California Foodways: The Winemaking Monks of New Clairvaux

Aired on The California Report Magazine on April 3, 2015:

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/04/05/california-foodways-winemaking-trappist-monks

and on NPR's Morning Edition April 9:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/04/09/398339770/these-vintner-monks-turn-wilderness-into-the-divine-gift-of-wine

In a tiny Northern California town called Vina, there's a winery that's definitely off the beaten track. That might be because this region's better known for olive groves and cattle ranches than grapes. For these, vintners, though, it's spiritual work.

California Foodways: Chinese Border Food

Aired on The California Report Magazine March 28, 2015.

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/03/28/california-foodways-the-chinese-mexican-cuisine-youll-find-only-along-the-border

If you ask people in the city of Mexicali, Mexico, about their most notable regional cuisine, they won’t say street tacos or mole. They’ll say Chinese food. There are as many as 200 Chinese restaurants in the city. North of the border, in Imperial County, the population is mostly Latino, but Chinese restaurants are packed. There are dishes in this region you won’t find anywhere else, and a history behind them that goes back more than 130 years.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

California Foodways: Native American Tribe Bets on Olive Oil

Aired on KQED's The California Report Magazine on December 7, 2014.

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/12/07/california-foodways-native-american-tribe-bets-on-olive-oil

Northern California’s Capay Valley is bucolic, with ranches, alfalfa fields and small, organic produce farms that have earned this valley a reputation as an agricultural gem. It’s pretty serene, except for the huge casino complex (with a 200-room hotel, 10 restaurants and a golf course) in the middle of fields. That casino probably saved the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, whose numbers dwindled to just two families after missionaries, settlers and Gold Rush prospectors arrived and the tribe was removed from its land.  The casino attracts an average of 2,000 visitors a night, swelling the valley’s population and traffic.  It’s caused tension between local farmers and the tribe.  Now, though, the Yocha Dehe’s investing casino earnings in agriculture, especially in olives, one of California’s new hot crops.  Tribal leaders say that being in the same business as their neighbors is helping to mend fences.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

California Foodways: Coffee...In California?

Aired on The California Report November 8, 2014.

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/11/08/california-foodways-growing-coffee-in-california/

And posted on NPR's The Salt November 12th.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/11/12/363516334/golden-state-joe-california-makes-a-play-for-coffee-s-future

The most commonly traded commodity in the world is oil. What comes in second?  Coffee. It’s been grown and loved since at least the 13th century in places such as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America. As a serious fungus threatens the crop worldwide, scientists are mapping the coffee genome to learn more about this plant. Though it’s not coffee’s natural growing environment, California is actually playing a role in the future of this most beloved and lucrative crop.

California Foodways: Prison Dairy

Aired on The California Report on October 16, 2014

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/10/16/california-foodways-prison-dairy-gives-job-training-pride-to-inmate-workers

Posted on NPR's The Salt November 5.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/11/05/358120272/prison-dairy-gives-inmates-job-skills-and-a-sense-of-purpose

Making license plates is the stereotypical job for a prisoner, but in the Central Valley there’s a group of inmates doing very different work — supplying milk to almost all the prisons in the state system.
The low wages for the work may be shocking to people on the outside, but inmates say the job gives them something else.

California Foodways: Nuts for Modesto (Baseball, Religion and a Land-Use Fight)

Aired on The California Report September 26, 2014

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/09/26/california-foodways-the-story-behind-stanislaus-countys-top-crop

So what do baseball, a little-known religious group and a land-use fight have in common? If you’re in Stanislaus County, the answer is: nuts. Almonds are the county’s top crop, bringing in a record-breaking $1.125 billion in gross income in 2013. Walnuts came in third (after the county’s other powerhouse, dairy).  Nuts aren’t just an economic driver, though. They’re also key to the story of this region’s past, and future.

California Foodways: A Pop-Up Coffee House on the Pacific Crest Trail

Aired on The California Report on October 5, 2014 (and on NPR One, and on KPCC, and coming soon on NPR)

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/10/05/pacific-crest-trail-hikers-find-refuge-at-the-sonora-pass-cafe

In the fall, an elite group of backpackers cross into Canada after five months of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. They’re called thru-hikers, and they started the trail in Mexico and will traverse 2,650 miles. Now, the lazy among us might have just read “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about the Pacific Crest Trail. The even lazier among us may be waiting for the movie to come out in December. The hikers who actually make this trek see toenails fall off and their feet can swell whole shoe sizes. They say the only thing they talk about more than their feet is food.