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Hello eaters! Jessica M. Pasko here. While Lily is out on maternity leave, I’m pitching in on the latest local food news. A little about me — I’m a writer and a native of upstate New York, living in Santa Cruz for over a decade. Our rich food culture is just one of the many things I love about our region, and I’m especially interested in the stories of the people who grow, serve and make the food we eat. Now, let’s dig in!

CCOF reflects on half-century of California organic certification, looks ahead

A handful of rich soil at CCOF-certified Paicines Ranch.

Born at a kitchen table in Live Oak, California Certified Organic Farmers is the standard-bearer for the movement in California and beyond. As it celebrates its 50th year, the organization is focused on what’s next. Among the key questions facing CEO Kelly Damewood: “What is the best way to convey the value of organic certification and how do we remove some of the barriers” to becoming certified organic. Read more here.

Shoppers Corner

Sampa bringing Brazilian cuisine to Branciforte and Water

Sampa's Brazilian snacks at Woodhouse Blending and Brewing.

After gaining a foothold in Santa Cruz at Woodhouse Blending and Brewing, the São Paulo natives behind Sampa Brazilian Food are taking over the corner spot that previously housed Robbie’s Pizza & Subs (and Joe’s Pizza & Subs before that) and aiming to expand their offerings even further. Read more here.

Italian pastry impresarios work to expand local presence

Pastry chef Crescenzo Pelliccia with his panettone at Emozioni Artisanal Patisserie
Pastry chef Crescenzo Pelliccia with his panettone at Emozioni Artisanal Patisserie, inside Lago di Como restaurant. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Been missing the sweet creations of Emozioni Pasticceria? The pastry company has ended its residency at Live Oak’s Lago di Como, but you can still get your fix at the Cat & Cloud Coffee locations at Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz and in Aptos. Co-owner Mic Tartaglia says Emozioni has been busy building up wholesale partnerships and opening a commercial kitchen near San Jose to give it a hub for catering, pickup and delivery orders. In the meantime, it also offers custom orders and catering in addition to participating at various popups and other events. On Saturday, Emozioni will be at Collective Santa Cruz’s Sweet Home Santa Cruz, a festival focused on all things dessert at Humble Sea Brewing’’s Swift Street beer garden and taproom. It will be joined there by sweets from Marini’s, Marianne’s Ice Cream, Pacific Cookie Company and many more. In the meantime, Tartaglia says the best way to keep up on Emozioni’s latest happenings is via the company’s Instagram.

Shoppers Corner promoted content road block


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A pop-up Humble Sea Brewing beer garden is the plan for vacant prime real estate on the wharf.
A pop-up Humble Sea Brewing beer garden is the plan for vacant prime real estate on the wharf. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Wharf is known for its classics like clam chowder in a bread bowl and fish and chips, among other traditional favorites. But something of a culinary renaissance is afoot at the wharf, including the reopening of Stagnaro Brothers restaurant and a forthcoming Humble Sea Brewing pop-up. The changes come as the city seeks to reimagine the nearly 110-year-old wharf. Ashley Spencer has the details here and here.


$170,947 – That’s the size of a three-year grant awarded to UC Santa Cruz professor Pallab Sarker to help fund his sustainable aquaculture research. Sarker’s research is focused on how to make this fast-growing food production sector more sustainable.

Pajaro residents march to call for more help following March flooding
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

“We’ve had prepared meals, water or ready-to-eat food distributions every day this week in and around Watsonville and Pajaro to aid those who have been displaced by the flooding. Unfortunately, we’re expecting this relief to last up to two more months as the Pajaro community continues to clean up. We’re in it for the long haul, making sure our neighbors have the food they need.” — Dawn Barreras, chief marketing officer, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County. The organization has increased the number of distributions for April and is seeking volunteers to help.


… the lovely wedding I attended at Home restaurant in Soquel this past weekend. I’d dined there before, but it had been too long since my previous visit. And I’d never experienced the back patio/garden area before. Brad Briske, Linda Ritten and their team have truly created a beautiful little oasis back there. I loved exploring the fully functional garden of herbs, vegetables and fruit trees and I can only imagine how spectacular it will be in the summer when things are in full bloom. The ambiance was top-notch, the company was great, and the food was excellent — including the oysters done two ways and the cauliflower with chili oil, currants and pine nuts. I can’t wait to sit out on that patio again.


Food insecurity linked to cognitive decline (The Hill)
How did a medieval spice cabinet survive 500 years underwater? (Atlas Obscura)
Pastry chef Stephanie Prida returns to Santa Cruz with big plans (Edible Monterey Bay)

Happy eating!

~ Jessica

Jessica M. Pasko has been writing professionally for almost two decades.She cut her teeth in journalism as a reporter for the Associated Press in her native Albany, NY, where she covered everything from...