Citrus Fest Sample Packs

Sample Pack Guide

Tangy Classics Sample Pack

From left to right: Cara Cara Orange, Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Navel Orange, Clementine

Cara Cara Orange: pinky-orange flesh with tangy hints of blackberry and cranberry

Oro Blanco Grapefruit: pale, nearly seedless flesh with a sweet honeysuckle flavor and almost no bitterness 

Rainwater Navel Orange: juicy and flavorful Washington Navel orange grown in Winters, CA

Clementine: these sweet and seedless are the smallest member of the mandarin/tangerine family

Tart Adventure Sample Pack

From left to right: Bergamot Orange, Nagami Kumquat, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Wekiwa Tangelo

Bergamot Orange: this yellow-fleshed orange is more bitter than a grapefruit, but less sour than a lemon and has a very aromatic rind; typically only used for its rind and juice

Nagami Kumquat: sweet rind with juicy and spicy flesh

Ruby Red Grapefruit: deep pink flesh that tastes sweeter than standard grapefruits

Wekiwa Tangelo: bright orange juicy flesh that tastes sweet with mild acidity

Twisted Favorite Sample Pack

From left to right: Blood Orange, Mandarinquat, Meyer Lemon, Pearl Tangelo

Blood Orange: deep red flesh with flavor notes of raspberries and pomegranates

Mandarinquat: sweet flavor with a crunchy bite and can be eaten whole

Meyer Lemon: low acidity with sweet, zesty flavor and floral undertones

Pearl Tangelo: golden-hued flesh with a sweet, grapefruit-like flavor

Staff Picks Sample Pack

From left to right: Pummelo, Satsuma Mandarin, Late Lane Orange, Tango Mandarin

Pummelo: pale pink flesh with a balanced sweet-tart flavor

Satsuma Mandarin: one of the sweetest mandarins with bright orange flesh

Late Lane Orange: late season navel with juicy segments and big orange flavors

Tango Mandarin: seedless dark orange flesh with a rind rich with oil and deeply aromatic when pierced or muddled

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Local, Sustainable Meat

Local, sustainable meat is better

Globally, about 80% of agricultural land is used for raising livestock. Due to improper grazing management, desertification is quickly degrading the productivity of the land we use to raise our food. Confined Animal Feeding Operations further contribute to deforestation and land degradation, global warming, poor animal welfare, and low-quality meat. Reducing our meat consumption in combination with choosing local meat that regenerates the land can restore soil health, reduce carbon emissions, and produce stronger, healthier animals.

Invest in your Community

Supporting local farms and ranches today is a good way to ensure they’ll be there tomorrow. In addition to making a personal investment in your community and supporting local families, buying local means preserving open space and farmland, improving local soil health, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, reducing your carbon footprint, and preserving genetic diversity among crops and livestock your local farmers grow. Lastly, and definitely not least, local food is of the highest quality. With shorter times between harvesting and consumption, local food is less likely to lose nutrients. Local produce and meat taste better too.

Regenerative Grazing Practices

Rotational grazing is a practice in which ranchers move livestock over grasslands or through forested areas with abundant perennial grasses, legumes, and weeds for the animals to eat. Herds never linger more than a few days in one spot, which mirrors how ancestral cow, bison, and sheep herds moved and ate. When ranchers practice highly-managed rotational grazing native grasslands are restored. Animals stimulate and fertilize the land increasing biodiversity, improving soil health, and drawing carbon down into the land and out of the atmosphere. Animals are stronger and healthier too, which means better food for us.

Look for meat that has been grass-fed and grass-finished. Many “grass-fed” labeled items have only been grass-fed for part of the animal’s life. 

Buy meat certified by the Global Animal Partnership. Look for Step 4 and 5 certification to ensure the animal was pasture-raised and the ranch centers animal welfare.

Good News! You can find local, sustainable meat at the Davis Food Co-op

SunFed Ranch

(11 miles from the Co-op)

SunFed Ranch beef from Woodland, CA is 100% pasture-raised and grass-fed using highly-managed rotational grazing. Healthier grass with deeper roots means protection from erosion and drought in our very own environment, plus healthier land is better equipped to sequester carbon. Stronger and more diverse grass varieties lead to happier and healthier cattle too. You can find a variety of beef cuts, often on sale, from SunFed in our Meat Department.

Rancho Llano Seco

(93 miles from the Co-op)

Rancho Llano Seco pork is raised confinement-free with continual access to open pastures and views of the California Buttes. They’re certified with the Global Animal Partnership, which means animal welfare is central to the Ranch’s practices. Their feed is grown on the ranch and their bedding is composted to feed its fields. You can find Rancho Llano Seco pork products in our Meat Department.

Diestel Family Ranch

(83 miles from the Co-op)

Diestel products including ground turkey and deli meats come to us from Diestel Family Ranch in Sonora, CA where regenerative agriculture practices like composting, responsible water usage, and animal welfare take center stage. They’ve earned the Global Animal Partnership Steps 4 and 5 certification. In addition to finding Diestel meats in our Meat Department, our Deli is now using Diestel Deli Meat in our sandwiches.

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New & Notable in Produce

Tangelos from Loomis

We have two new tangelo varieties in from Pine Hill Orchard in Loomis, CA.

Lavender Gem Tangelos

These two-toned pink and orange fleshed tangelos have a very sweet and floral flavor.

Pearl Tangelos

Pearl tangelos are reliably sweet, with a tangy, grapefruit-like flavor and beautiful yellow flesh.

Lavender Gem Tequila Sunrise

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 1/2 oz tequila
  • 4 oz lavender gem tangelo juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • mandarin slices for garnish

Fill serving glass with ice, tequila and tangelo juice.

Add grenadine, garnish with mandarin, and serve.

Oro Blanco Grapefruits

These locally grown grapefruits have pale flesh, an aromatic, floral scent and a delicate flavor without any bitter aftertaste.

Rosemary Bruléed Oro Blanco Grapefruit

  • 1 oro blanco grapefruit
  • 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

Preheat your oven’s broiler. Combine brown sugar, vanilla, and rosemary in a smal bowl. Cut grapefruit in half and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread sugar over grapefruit flesh. Broil for 3-4 minutes, until sugar is caramelized and bubbly.

Black Radishes

Black radishes are known for having an earthy, spicy, and bitter flavor sharper than other radish varieties. The flesh is contrastingly bright white, firm, and crisp. When cooked, the flesh softens and flavor mellows, opening up subtly sweet peppery undertones.

Miso Roasted Black Radishes

  • 2 medium-large black radishes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 tbsp red miso paste
  • ½ tbsp tamari
  • ½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice radishes to 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Combine olive oil, garlic, miso, tamari, rice vinegar, and generous pinches of salt and pepper in a bowl. Add radishes to the bowl and toss until evenly coated with miso mixture. Place radishes on baking sheet in a single layer. Pour any remaining sauce over radishes. Bake for 15 mins, flip, and bake another 15-20 mins until you have crisp edges and creamy middles.

Mizuna from Full Belly Farm in Guinda, CA

 

 

Mizuna is a mild tasting mustard green with peppery undertones and a crisp, firm texture. 

Mizuna with Garlic and Bacon

  • one bunch red mizuna, torn
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
  • black sesame seeds, toasted
  • olive oil

 

 

In a dry pan, toast black sesame seeds over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. 

Pour excess grease from pan. Saute mizuna and garlic together until greens begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Toss with bacon and transfer to serving dish. Top with toasted black sesame seeds and serve. 

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Top Winter Picks for Beer, Wine, and Spirits

Beer, Wine & Spirits Winter Picks 

by Chase Brunson,

Beer, Wine, and Cheese Specialist

It’s cold outside, hopefully raining, and I have the fireplace going or I am streaming the Fireplace Show on Netflix to create that same ambiance. I have a glass in my hand and a drink poured. It is more than likely one of my favorites from the list below, which can all be found at the Co-op.

Winter Beer/Cider Selections

Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing

This has to be my go to Imperial stout this time of year. This large and in charge stout, that comes in at 9% ABV, has the perfect balance of toasted malts, residual sugar and alcohol that is begging to be drunk on almost any given winter night. The 4-pack is also an incredible value because normally you are paying much more for something of equal value. If  you are feeling extra special and looking to treat yourself or someone else, they also produce a Barrel Aged version of the same stout in a 500 ml. bottle that is incredibly luscious and delicious.

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Lassen Ciders (any of them)

Normally I am not a huge cider fan because they tend to be too sweet for me but Lassen takes the cake for local cider. They use dry-farmed apples and pick them at the peak of ripeness. What I also enjoy is they list on their bottles the rare and unheard-of varieties they use. Lassen fully ferments their ciders which allows their ciders to be dry but still have a fuller body because of their higher ABV and concentration of flavor compared to other dry ciders on the market. They naturally ferment their ciders giving them nuance and what wine people talk about “Terroir”. This word doesn’t translate directly into English but basically means the product is a reflection of where it comes from/where it is grown. This type of cider is nice during the cooler months and it goes great with the heartier foods we typically eat this time of year!

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East Brothers Red IPA

This beer is definitely the perfect type of IPA for the cooler months! The Red component to it is the toast level of the malts. The malt body is sweet with strong notes of caramel and lightly roasted coffee. The hops are gently balanced with the malt providing brightness and bitterness that isn’t overpowering. The hops are more on the stone fruit side and aren’t too danky. If you are someone who just enjoys IPA year-round, I would say this is a beer worth giving a shot for the cooler winter months.

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Wine Selections

Red: GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre based blends)

These blends aren’t the most commonly found blends on the market but are great wines for people who love red blends or are looking for something a little different.  GSMs are mostly, and originally, from a region in Southern France called the Rhone Valley. They are typically Grenache-based blends with the other two grapes at a lower proportion. There are technically 13 types of grapes permitted in these blends (red and white) and some wines utilize every single one. Chateau Beaucastel’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a famous wine that does just that every year. These wines range in alcohol from 14% to 15% and have a great flavor profile. Typically these flavors include red fruit (strawberries, cherries, pomegranates), baking spices, Herbs de Province (also known as Garrigue), tobacco, and sweet leather. They pair well with Winter foods because of their spice cabinet qualities and juicy richness. Soups, roasts, and baked goods are all great choices to pair this wine with.

Some of my favorites we have are:
Austin Hope: Troublemaker
Turkovich: GSM
Famille Perrin Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Chateau La Nerthe: Cuvee des Cadettes 

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Alsatian White Wines:

If you are someone who only drinks white wine all year long, fear not, I have the perfect type of wine for you too! Alsace is a region in North East France that primarily produces white wines! They are most known for Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Riesling. These wines are rich in texture and flavor and can range in alcohol from 13% to 15%. Their Rieslings tend to be dry so don’t worry, no sweet Riesling here! They are great sippers with flavors of green apple, lime zest, spice and a hint of petrol (don’t worry, it’s a good thing!). Their Gewürztraminer is a little sweet with fruit notes of lychee and mango, fresh flowers, and spice (think allspice and cinnamon). Their Pinot Gris is richly textured with ripe flavors of pear, apple, meyer lemon with hints of spice. The Muscat is dry too, with beautiful floral, honey, and candied orange flavor, all without being sweet. These all pair well with foods this time of year like creamy soups and hearty meals like casseroles and stews.

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Liquors

It’s cold outside, hopefully raining, and I have the fireplace going or I am streaming the Fireplace Show on Netflix to create that same ambiance and have a glass in hand with a liquor poured neat. What’s in my glass? Whiskey. And these are a few of my favorites:

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Rye Whiskey:

I am a sucker for Rye. The spiciness, the rich peppery notes, and the hint of char on the end. This is my go-to style of Whiskey. My favorite is Michter’s Single Barrel Rye. Dollar for dollar, you can’t beat it because each bottle is coming from a single barrel. There is no blending here so each bottle has its own story to tell.

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Japanese Whiskey:

An affordable favorite of mine is the Mars Shinshu Iwai 45. What makes this Whiskey special is what it is not. Japanese Whiskey really got started in the last century after some producers wanted to learn more about how to make the best whiskey and went to Scotland to learn how they do it. Most Japanese Whiskey today follows those traditions like using barley malt and sometimes incorporating peat into their Whiskey. Iwai 45 is not that though, it is more like Bourbon. It has a higher amount of corn in the mash bill and is 90 proof. The flavor profile is vanilla and butterscotch with hints of red berries and apples. It has a sweet and smooth finish, similar to Bourbon. So if you are a Bourbon person, give this one a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

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Barrel-Aged Gin:

I know it isn’t Whiskey like my other choices but give me a second to hear me out. A favorite of mine is Spirit Works’ Barrel Gin. This “Ginskey” is their signature Gin that is then barrel-aged in high toast New American Oak barrels for several months. It technically isn’t whiskey but it is pretty dang close and it offers that alternative for people out there looking for a new adventure. This beverage combines the flavors of juniper, citrus, and other botanicals used with the sweet caramel, cinnamon, and vanilla of the oak. This is a Gin for Whiskey people and the Whiskey for Gin people.

Written by Chase Brunson, Beer, Wine, and Cheese Specialist

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Gift Basket Builder Guide

When we say gift basket, you might be thinking of those impersonal, cellophane-wrapped, ribbon-adorned baskets that show up each December. But I’m here to tell you gift baskets can be fresh, thoughtful, affordable at any budget, and earth-friendly! Bonus: you can build a variety of beautiful baskets from items we carry at the Co-op. Double Bonus: gift baskets can be dropped off on the recipient’s porch for contactless gift giving!

step 1: pick a theme

Your theme can be almost anything! It may be really specific to the person you’re buying for – for example, your best friend loves coffee, sriracha, and nail polish so you build a basket around those items because you know they’ll love them. Your theme can also be more traditional – movie night, spa day, international foods, etc. Check out more of our suggestions below!

step 2: choose the “basket”

Your basket does not have to be a basket! Get creative with your gifting vessel. A reusable bag, planter, large mug, or elegant serving bowl can be your “basket”.

step 3: fill the bottom of your basket

This is the secret to a beautiful, full looking basket. You can fill the bottom with filler (newspaper, empty cardboard boxes, etc.) or you can fill it with more gifts (blanket, socks, bags of coffee, etc.).

step 4: build your basket

Now that you have an elevated stage for the rest of your gifts, fill the basket so everything is visible and facing the same direction. Taller items should go in the back and anything empty (think glass jars or mugs) can be filled with more gifts. You can use more filler (recyclable shredded paper, socks, fruit, booze) if you need some support.

step 5: gift your basket!

That’s right, we recommend skipping the cellophane and large bow. Let your gifts do the talking, plus you’re diverting waste away from our landfills!

Here are some of our ideas for baskets your can gift this season

Zero Waste Gift Basket

  1. We chose one of our reusable bags as the “basket” for this gift!
  2. The “filler” for this basket is another gift: an insulated lunch bag that keeps the other gifts upright and elevated.
  3. We filled this earth friendly tote with Stasher bags, a bamboo utensil set, waxed food wraps, plastic-free locally made soap, and a reusable Klean Kanteen (Psst: Klean Kanteens are on sale until 12/15/20).

Mini Gift Basket

Not all gift basket have to be big and expensive! Nothing says “warm & cozy” like a big mug, warm socks, hot cocoa mix, and a chocolate bar.

Local Gourmand Gift Basket

This one is a little more traditional. We started with a basket and filled it with classic gift basket goodies like food and wine. However, our theme is Local Gourmand, so everything inside this basket come from local farms, roasteries, wineries, and more!

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Recognizing and Appreciating our Farm Workers in the Field

For Labor Day this year, we would like to recognize and appreciate all of the Field Workers at our Local Farms for the valuable role that they play in maintaining our food system and making the items that can be found at the Co-op so easily accessible. Through a pandemic, heat wave, wildfires and more, they are still out there working hard every day so that we can all have food on our tables. While we have chosen Labor Day as a day to express this appreciation, it is incumbent upon us all to show gratitude for the people that make every meal of ours possible throughout the entire year by recognizing the challenges that they face and advocating for protections for these workers.

Modern accesibility to food combined with a fast pace lifestlye can make it easy to overlook the importance of what is happening behind the scenes of the services we utilize on a daily basis. For many of us, we throw away our trash without any thought of the garbage collector that wakes up before the sun to take it away for us, we wear clothing without consideration for the person whose hands stiched it all together and all too often, we purchase and consume our food with no appreciation for the farmworker who picked that food for us, even in the harshest of conditions. Farmworkers keep the entire world fed by working in sometimes dangerous conditions, and yet they are often not protected by the same laws that protect other workers.

The most recent data that we have on farmworkers in the U.S. comes from a 2015-16 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Workers (NAW) Survey. Among many findings, the NAW reported that:

– There are an estimated 2.4 million farmworkers laboring on our nation’s farms and ranches, cultivating and harvesting crops and raising and tending to livestock.
– The farm labor workforce is a predominantly immigrant workforce. According to the NAWS, approximately 75% of farmworkers are immigrants. Approximately 49% of farmworkers are immigrants who lack work authorization.
– Due to the seasonal nature of the work on many crop farms, the large majority of crop workers do not work year round, even if they work for more than one farm in a single year. Farmworkers averaged 33 weeks of farm work over the course of a year and worked an average of 45 hours per week.
– 57% of farmworkers are married, and 55% of farmworkers have children
– Farmworkers averaged $10.60 per hour in wages. The average annual individual income of farmworkers was in the range of $17,500 – $19,999.
– 33% of farmworker families had incomes below the poverty line. However, because the survey results did not include dependents living outside of the United States, this number may not completely reflect the full number of families living in poverty.
– Despite the high level of poverty, most farmworkers do not receive any public benefits. At the time of this study, only 18% of farmworkers received food stamps, 17% received WIC (a supplemental nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) and 43% received health insurance through a government program, like Medicaid.
– Most farmworkers (53%) have no health insurance, and limited access to health care, making them particularly vulnerable to environmental and occupational health hazards. It was found that 71% of workers reported that their employer did not provide health insurance or pay for medical treatment for injuries or illnesses suffered outside of work. Only 18% of employers offer health insurance to their workers.

Often, the first step towards positive change is through acknowledgement of the issues at hand. We believe that pushing for this positive change is the best way that we can truly show appreciation for our farmworkers. There are many great organizations that are actively advocating for farmworkers, both locally and nationally. We encourage you to check them out to learn more about the work that they are doing and how you can get involved and let us know of any other organizations we may have missed.

California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF): www.crlaf.org/
“CRLAF is a statewide non-profit civil legal aid organization providing free legal services and policy advocacy for California’s rural poor. We focus on some of the most marginalized communities: the unrepresented, the unorganized and the undocumented.  We engage in community education and outreach, impact litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, and public policy leadership at the state and local level. We seek to bring about social justice to rural poor communities by working to address the most pressing needs of our community: Labor, Housing, Education Equity, Health Care Access, Worker Safety, Citizenship, Immigration, and Environmental Justice.”

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF): www.caff.org
” Founded in 1978, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and The Farmers Guild is a California-based nonprofit that builds sustainable food and farming systems through local and statewide policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs in an effort to initiate institutionalized change. Our programs address current problems and challenges in food and farming systems, creating more resilient family farms, communities and ecosystems. We work to support family farmers and serve community members throughout the state, including consumers, food service directors, schoolchildren and low-income populations with the aim of growing a more resilient, just and abundant food system for all Californians.”

The National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH): www.ncfh.org/
“The National Center for Farmworker Health is a private, not-for-profit corporation located in Buda, Texas dedicated to improving the health status of farmworker families.  We provide information services, training and technical assistance, and a variety of products to community and migrant health centers nationwide, as well as organizations, universities, researchers and individuals involved in farmworker health.”

Farmworker Justice: farmworkerjustice.org/
“Farmworker Justice is a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice. We work with farmworkers and their organizations throughout the nation. Based in Washington, D.C., Farmworker Justice was founded in 1981. In 1996, Farmworker Justice became a subsidiary corporation of UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), the nation’s largest constituency-based Hispanic civil rights organization.”

– Vincent Marchese, Marketing Manager
vmarchese@davisfood.coop

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Elderberries: The New Face of California Hedgerows

The practice of growing hedgerows stems from all the way back to the Medieval times of England and Ireland.

Hedgerows can increase the beauty, productivity, and biodiversity of a property and are especially beneficial for farms.

Modern day hedgerows are used as a field border to enhance the habitat value and productivity of farmland.

To date, the creation of hedgerows and other restored habitat areas on California farms remains low.

This is in part because of a lack of information and outreach that addresses the benefits of field edge habitat, and growers’ concerns about its effect on crop production and wildlife intrusion.

Native hedgerows on farm edges benefit wildlife, pest control, carbon storage and runoff, but hedgerow planting by farmers in California is limited, often due to establishment and maintenance costs.

Field studies in the Sacramento Valley highlighted that hedgerows can enhance pest control and pollination in crops, resulting in a return on investment within 7 to 16 years, without negatively impacting food safety.

What if hedgerows could provide a source of farm income, to offset costs AND benefit the local environment?

Currently the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) is collaborating with Cloverleaf Farm in Solano County and several other growers in the Central Valley and coastal counties to assess and develop the potential for elderberries to become a commercial specialty crop, with a focus on hedgerow-grown elderberry production and marketing for small- and mid-scale California farms.

UC Agriculture and Environment Academic Coordinator, Sonja Brodt believes that elderberries may be the intersection of sustainable farming, super nutrition, and economic viability.

At the 2019 Elderberry Field Day Sonja explained, “Elderberries may have the potential to combine crop production with environmental conservation functions in a way not typically seen on California farms. This model would enable small- and medium-scale farmers to receive a direct income from a farm practice that benefits the ecosystem as well.”

Farms like Cloverleaf use elder trees as hedgerows on their fields to increase habitat value and crop pollination while also making a profit on the side by selling elderberry products, such as jams, syrups, and flower cordials.

Additionally, with growing consumer interest in health foods, elderberry product sales nationwide have jumped 10-50% in recent years but almost no commercial supply originates in California.

The berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system.

According to recent research, elderberries can help tame inflammation, lessen stress, and even help protect your heart!

There are about 30 types of elder plants and trees found around the world.

The European version (also known as Sambucus nigra) is the one most often used in health supplements, however, recent attention has been drawn to the California elderberry (Sambucus caerulea).

Cloverleaf Farm has been an active partner with SAREP by monitoring the success level of elderberries planted and comparing results between the California elderberry and the European elderberry.

So far their findings show that California elderberries have a greater success rate when grown in Mediterranean climates compared to the European elderberry and attract more native pollinators, which benefits the crop yields.

In addition the UC Davis Food Science and Technology department is currently working on a elderberry project, led by Katie Uhl, focusing on the bioactive components unique to California elderberries that can be beneficial for human health.

While a diversity of plant species makes for the most effective hedgerows, the California elderberry is proving itself to be a perfect foundation species as it provides excellent environmental habitat and great potential for profits by selling the berries as health food products!

You can find Cloverleaf Farm elderberry syrups here at the Davis Food Co-op, along with many other elderberry products in our Wellness department!

Written by Rheanna Smith, Education Specialist

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A Conversation On Biodynamic Wine With Martin Pohl From Beaver Creek Vineyards

We recently had the chance to speak with Martin Pohl from Beaver Creek Vineyards about why biodynamic wine is more than just the latest trend in the wine industry. Beaver Creek Vineyards is located in Lake County, California, and produces biodynamic wines. Martin Pohl is the owner and winemaker of Beaver Creek, and his overriding philosophy is to work with nature, not against it.

About 50 sheep roam amongst the vineyard’s rows, a flock which Pohl herds himself. He views himself as a steward of the land on which his vineyard rests. He has faced various challenges in protecting it, “There have been many hits, Lake County suffers from droughts, there was the fire in 2015.”

Despite these setbacks, he still sees his plot of land as nearly perfect. “It’s a perfect place because it’s dry, so there’s barely any pest problems.” Other regions, such as those on the coast, face greater pest problems because of the humidity. “They almost have to use pesticides,” Pohl said. “Here it’s so ideal, I don’t have to spray for mildew, we don’t use any chemicals, it’s completely clean.”

His philosophy of non-interference extends from the vineyard to the wine barrels as well. “None of our wines have any sulfites added,” Pohl said. This is important to Pohl because he views natural wines as a living system. “Think of it kind of like the human immune system,” Pohl said. “When you add sulfites you compromise that system. They might prolong the shelf life of wine but they shorten its lifespan”

He has hopes for expansion sometime in the near future. He split with his partners in 2012 and will soon be the sole owner of the vineyard.

How did you become so interested in organics and biodynamics?

“It starts with a lifestyle, right? For the last 10 or 15 years, I always feel like I’ve been ahead of the curve. I started my organic lifestyle around 20 years ago. And as a result, I wanted to drink clean wine. And why would you put chemicals and additives in wine if you don’t have to? So I figured out how to make it without it. “

“The whites and roses are a little more complicated to make a natural way, they’re a little fragile. But the reds are easy because they have the skins on.”

“The yeast shapes the wine similar to the way that the weather patterns do throughout the year

“The byproduct of the natural yeast fermentation is sulfur!” The excitement in Pohl’s voice was tangible over this fact. “You can actually smell sulfur during the fermentation.”

I’m curious, were you a winemaker first or someone who was concerned about the environment?

Beaver Creek Vineyards during the 2015 Valley Fire

“Well there’s all things together, you want to do good things, you want to drink healthy wines, you want to help the planet.”

“I was an immigrant here, I was in San Francisco for 5 years working as a waiter. But that actually helped me learn about wine. Two friends and I then had the idea to start a winery.” “We had no prior experience in winemaking, so we learned from scratch.”

“What inspired me was actually my mother, she sent me this book about biodynamic wines which made it clear to me from the beginning that we should make healthy wines in order to help the planet and ourselves.”

What are some of the things that you do to protect your land?

“We don’t till our soil anymore. We have one field that we haven’t tilled since 2012, and the other one we stopped tilling three years ago.”

“We don’t own the land so we’re kind of limited in what we can do. We develop our own compost, and this is the only substance that we use for fertilization.” This is standard for biodynamic wines.

“We irrigate some because it is so hot here in Lake County,” Pohl said. “We used to be a dry farm actually until 2014, and then it was a disaster between gophers, the fire, and the drought.” If you don’t already know, gophers happen to be the bane of a winemaker’s existence. They feast on the roots of vines and sometimes can take plants underground.

“You would probably be surprised with organic grapes how many different additives you are allowed to add.” But with Biodynamic wine grapes, the regulations are quite strict, only natural methods may be used.

Written by Rachel Heleva, Marketing Specialist

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