LILY BELLI: Eaters Digest on Thanksgiving season, prime farmers market season & fizzy beat juice

The persimmons are out in glorious force at the farmers markets right now.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Lily has you covered on where to order turkeys, baked goods and more as the holidays loom ever larger, plus the pick of the litter from farmers markets around Santa Cruz County.

And just like that, the holidays are here. It might be hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. I have some advice on where and how to order your turkeys and baked treats — which you should do ASAP.


And there’s never a time of year when I don’t love shopping at our local farmers markets, but it’s especially fun right now with late-season tomatoes mixing with all manner of squash and persimmons, plums and pomegranates. Keep reading for updated market hours and a few extra treats you should take home with you while you’re there.

Food news

Local poultry producer Fogline Farm is offering Thanksgiving turkeys through its friends at PT Ranch in the Gold Country town of Ione. The turkeys have been raised in a pasture setting with non-GMO feed and are never given antibiotics or growth hormones. They are ecological outcome verification (EOV) certified, meaning the farming practices follow a protocol for maintaining soil health, biodiversity, and proper ecosystem functionality. All are a broad-breasted white, and weigh 10-16 pounds. Price is $8 per pound; order via Fogline Farm’s online marketplace at

Speaking of Thanksgiving, if you’re planning on ordering holiday pies from a local bakery, you’d better act now. Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola is closing its pre-orders as soon as they fill up, which will be soon, I’m told. Companion Bakeshop is currently taking orders but will also stop when things fill up, typically about a week before the holiday. The Buttery is taking orders through Nov. 20. In Ben Lomond, La Placa Family Bakery advises getting your orders in by calling the store at least a week before Thanksgiving to ensure that they’re fulfilled. If you’re in South County, Freedom Bakery is taking orders through Nov. 23. All holiday orders can be placed through their websites.

The harvest season is winding down, and some of the local farmers markets are adjusting their hours. The Felton market has closed for the winter and will reopen in May. The Scotts Valley market will continue to run on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Nov. 20. Starting next Wednesday, the downtown Santa Cruz market will end at 5 p.m. The downtown, Westside, Live Oak and Cabrillo College markets will continue to run year-round.

Eat this

Brad Briske, formerly a vegan, has perfected the art of butchery.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

My entire extended family has been in love with Home restaurant’s homemade Bolognese sauce ever since I picked up a jar from its stall at the Westside market to enjoy at Sunday lunch with my in-laws last summer. My husband’s family is Italian and takes family meals very seriously, and this sauce almost knocked everyone out of their seats. After talking with Linda Ritten, co-owner of Home and wife to chef Brad Briske, I know why.

She explained that Briske takes great care to select animals that have been humanely raised and slaughtered and practices whole-animal butchering so nothing is wasted. At Home, they dry-age entire quarter-cows for two to three weeks to create the dry-aged steaks they sell at the restaurant.

After the steaks have been cut, the remaining dry-aged beef trimmings end up in the Bolognese sauce, along with the choicest organic produce from local farmers, like dry-farmed tomatoes from Dirty Girl Produce and onions from Pinnacle. So yes, you can really, really taste the love. $20 for 32 ounces. Available at the Home booth at the downtown, Westside and Live Oak farmers markets.

If you are the kind of person who adores the dark pink probiotic goodness of a nice beet kvass, you can’t do better than the one from Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm. Beet kvass is a beverage made from fermenting beets in a salty brine, and the flavor is a little sweet, a little salty, and very earthy. It’s tart, fizzy beet juice, and if that doesn’t sound appealing, I encourage you to give it a shot, literally — one 2-ounce shot per day is all you need to get the health benefits from this superfood.

Beets are nutritive powerhouses with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure and liver function. Blossom’s beet kvass also includes gotu kola leaf and turmeric root extract thought to improve brain function. So you can drink it because it’s good for you, or because it’s delicious. Find it at Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm stands at the Live Oak, downtown Santa Cruz, Westside Santa Cruz and Cabrillo farmers markets, and at its store at 2904 Freedom Blvd. $6 for 12 ounces.


Have you ever visited the UCSC Farm? If not, you might want to participate in a free guided tour this Sunday from 2-3 p.m. Situated on a meadow on the UC Santa Cruz campus overlooking the ocean, the 30-acre organic farm is stunning. Explore the organically managed greenhouses, hand-worked garden beds, orchards, row crop fields and children’s garden, and learn about the history of the site. You can also absorb organic gardening philosophy and tips to apply at home. Meet at the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn. No reservation required. More info at

That’s all for this week. Got food news? You can reach me at, and on Twitter and Instagram.