Young salmon.
(Via Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project)
Food & Drink

Lily Belli on Food: Salmon release at wharf, expanding food systems and summer workshops

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!

Juvenile salmon to be released at Santa Cruz Wharf

Young salmon being released.
(Via Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project)

State officials and the nonprofit Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project are set to release 160,000 juvenile chinook salmon off the Santa Cruz Wharf after dusk Wednesday, with the public invited to watch and learn more about efforts to boost the local population. Read more here.

Shoppers Spotlight

UCSC to support new regional food business center as part of national initiative

The Center for Agroecology at UC Santa Cruz.
(Via Center for Agroecology at UC Santa Cruz)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is enlisting regional partners in its efforts to help small and midsize farming operations, socially disadvantaged farmers and traditionally underserved populations, and a team from UCSC’s Center for Agroecology is on board. Read more here.

UCSC hosts benefit with acclaimed San Francisco chef Brandon Jew

Tickets are still available for this week’s benefit dinner featuring James Beard award-winner Brandon Jew at the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Jew is the executive chef and owner of Michelin-starred Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco.

The Friday event will directly support the university’s efforts to reduce student food insecurity through the Foodways Fund for Student Success. In addition to dinner, attendees will get to tour the UC Santa Cruz farm and learn more about ongoing initiatives to help students gain access to nutritious food. Tickets are $250 and are available here.

Summer school: A sampling of upcoming food, wine and gardening courses

(Jessica M. Pasko / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Looking to grow your knowledge of food and agriculture? From fungi and lavender to cooking classes for adults and kids, Jessica M. Pasko checks out a few of Santa Cruz County’s offerings. Read more here.


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Father and son Juan Valencia (right) and Daniel Govea will soon take over at popular cafe the Silver Spur.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The owners of El Huarache in downtown Santa Cruz are taking over beloved Soquel breakfast and lunch spot Silver Spur. Father and son Juan Valencia and Daniel Govea will take ownership of the restaurant Thursday, and plan to reestablish the familiar menu. Wallace Baine has more here.


6 – That’s the number of wineries on the Corralitos Wine Trail you can visit to sip some wine and enjoy beautiful views. Laura Sutherland has put together a guide to the trail with all the important details you need to know. Check it out here.

Nicholson Vineyards - The Corrolitos Wine Trail
(Laura Sutherland / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“I liked working in the field because it’s an outdoor job where I feel relaxed and it was one of the only jobs available to me.” — Teresa De Los Santos Trujillo, a longtime berry picker from Watsonville. De Los Santos Trujillo was profiled by grandson Javier Aldaco De Los Santos as part of Lookout’s high school journalism scholarship contest.


“Gastropod,” a podcast from Eater. This podcast launched back in 2014 but for some reason, I had never listened to it until recently. That was clearly a mistake on my part. Co-hosts Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber do a deep dive into a different food or farming-related topic in each episode, and I really appreciate their journalistic approach. A recent episode focused on the history of fish and chips and how this dish became synonymous with British cuisine despite its Jewish and Belgian origins. Other episodes have examined such varied topics as the hype around new prescription weight-loss drugs, the connection between texture and taste, and Native American cuisine. As someone who is perpetually curious about pretty much everything, the wide range of topics really appeals to me, especially the hosts’ willingness to look into the minutiae of things most of us probably don’t even stop to think about (like the portrayal of food in science fiction films). Now that I no longer commute to work, I don’t listen to nearly as many podcasts as I used to, but “Gastropod” is definitely getting added to my regular rotation. Considering that one of my favorite times to listen to podcasts is while chopping vegetables and doing other types of meal preparation, it seems perfectly suited.


Climate disruptions force salt farmers to reimagine their business (Modern Farmer)
Castroville vs. Coachella: Battle heats up to grow the perfect artichoke (San Jose Mercury News)
The story of why over 500 pubs in the U.K. share the same name (Food and Wine)

Happy eating!

~ Jessica