Lily Belli on Food: Slough Brewing giving way to Buena Vista, Wild Poppies Olive Oil closing, Open Farm Tours
Welcome to Lily Belli on Food, a weekly food-focused newsletter from Lookout’s food and drink correspondent, Lily Belli. Keep reading for the latest local food news for Santa Cruz County — plus a few fun odds and ends from my own life and around the web.
Stay in touch with me by text throughout the week — I send text alerts every time I publish a story. And you can text me back! Share your thoughts, send tips and give feedback. Sign up for texts from me here. Thanks to those of you who’ve already subscribed! Check out all of my food and drink coverage here.
… After three years, Watsonville’s Slough Brewing Collective is closing this month, but more beer is on the way for the brewery and taproom off of Airport Boulevard. Current owners and brewers Jorge Vazquez, Erix Celis and Ben Ward are transferring the space to brothers Chuck and Phil Ornelas of Buena Vista Brewing Company, another local brewery that has operated out of a space in Santa Cruz’s old Sash Mill since 2020. “We are happy to put the keys into the capable hands of our friends Chuck and Phil of Buena Vista Brewing Company. They will continue The Slough legacy, while forging their own path forward,” the Slough announced in an Instagram post Friday. More information on this transition and Buena Vista’s plans for the space to come.
… Aptos-based Wild Poppies Olive Oil is closing shop after five years in operation. Since owners and sisters-in-law Jamie de Sieyes and Kim Null founded the olive oil company in 2018, Wild Poppies has won numerous awards, including first place at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition in March 2022. Now, they’re passing the olive branch to farmer German Soto, who has pruned their 8-acre grove in the Santa Cruz Mountains for the past three years. He plans to rebrand his olive oil as Soto Farms after the 2023 harvest and return to the Saturday morning Aptos farmers market with his products, the website notes. Wild Poppies’ shop will close Friday — go to wildpoppiesoliveoil.com to snag the last cans.
… Open Farm Tours is back for its 10th year on Oct. 7 and 8. At this Open Studios-style event, 12 family-owned farms throughout Santa Cruz County open their doors to the public and share information about their operations through activities like tastings, U-picks, workshops, demonstrations, tours and more. This year, participants include: Prevedelli Farm, Terra Sole Nursery, Esperanza Community Farms, Live Earth Farm, Beeline Blooms, Sea To Sky Farm, Thomas Farm, Mariquita Farm, Pajaro Pastures Ranch, Dos Aguilas olive grove, Fruitilicious Farm and ALBA. Ticket prices range from $10 to $20, and a “Friends & Family” weekend pass to seven participating farms is $20. I’ll have more info on this event later this week, but you can head over to openfarmtours.com for more information and tickets.
Want to stay on top of the latest local food news? I send text alerts every time I publish a story. And you can text me back! Share your thoughts, send tips and give feedback. Sign up below.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Mochi, a type of cake made from glutinous Japanese rice, has a delightful squishy texture that’s beloved all over the world. It’s this chewy center that makes the mochi doughnuts at Dunlap’s Donuts in Pleasure Point such a joy to eat. Find out how co-owner Kevin Sam, who runs the bakery with his wife, Aly, perfected his recipe, which he tops with fun flavors like ube with coconut and matcha with crushed Oreo cookies.
57.5 — The average age of a farmer in the United States, according to the 2022 Census of Agriculture. To help encourage young people to pursue careers in agriculture, the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau raised money for scholarships at the Watsonville Testicle Festival on Aug. 26. The main dish at this family-friendly festival: Rocky Mountain oysters, aka fried bull testicles. Read my recent story to find out — do they really taste like chicken?
LIFE WITH THE BELLIS
On Labor Day, my husband, Mike, and I participated in one of our annual traditions — a date at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. For me, summer isn’t complete until I’ve screamed while flying down the Giant Dipper, laughed at the ridiculous cave men and women on the Cave Train and indulged in some of my favorite Boardwalk treats. Although food options at the Boardwalk have expanded to include everything from boba tea to craft beer to spicy Thai peanut wraps, I usually like to keep it classic: a corn dog with mustard and a vanilla soft serve dipped in chocolate shell. It always hits the spot and is as crucial to the summer experience as finishing with a gentle ride on the Sky Glider, where, from high above the chaos, we can admire the beauty of this lovely place we call home.
FOOD NEWS WORTH READING
➤ Community Voices: California is its own sort of slave state — we need to enact farmworker rights now (Lookout)
➤ In-N-Out, weirdly, is a climate change indicator (Slate)
➤ Starbucks got rid of disposable cups in part of Bay Area. Here’s how it’s going (San Francisco Chronicle)