Veteran farmer Frank Prevedelli’s legacy lives on through a memorial scholarship, and spring heats up with an April lineup of wine tasting events and outdoor dining.
Happy Friday, and what a beautiful and warm Friday it is! Enjoy this refreshing dose of food news as your head into the weekend. Appropriate to the season, there’s a lot happening at Santa Cruz County farmers markets: Watsonville’s Prevedelli family has founded a new scholarship to benefit students studying agriculture; you can find a new cookbook exchange at Saturday’s Cabrillo College market; and try my new favorite make-your-own breakfast at the Live Oak or Westside markets.
And events are heating up as well, starting with the return of the West Cliff Food Truck Summer Series Friday night and a natural wine tasting at Aptos’ Persephone on Sunday. Plan ahead for Colectivo Felix’s monthly al fresco dinner and the Grand Tasting of Santa Cruz Mountain wines at the Mountain Winery in a few weeks.
Let’s dive in.
The Prevedelli family has farmed in Watsonville for nearly 80 years, best known for their apples, which they have grown since the 1930s. They currently produce 36 varieties of apples, including many heirloom varieties like bellflower and chestnut crab as well as newcomers like the dark and dramatic crimson crisp. They also grow pears, vegetables and berries, including locally beloved olallieberries.
Prevedelli Farms has been a staple at farmers markets throughout the Bay Area for years, so you’ve probably tried its fruit at the Aptos or Santa Cruz markets. On one of these visits, you might have met Frank Prevedelli, the patriarch of the Prevedelli family, who frequently helped out at the farm’s booth. Sadly, Frank, who began farming as a teenager in 1945, died in January. To honor his lifetime of farming and community spirit, his family has established the Frank Prevedelli Memorial Scholarship in his name to help future farmers. The scholarship will go to a high school student pursuing an education in agriculture or a related field, and will be awarded through educational nonprofit Agri-Culture and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. For more information on the scholarship, which is funded by donations, click here.
Feel like your recipe collection could use a little spring cleaning? Take advantage of the Aptos Farmers Market’s new cookbook exchange program. Bring your old cookbooks — as long as they’re still in good condition — to the market on Saturdays at Cabrillo College and replace them with a new-to-you cookbook. The bookshelves will be located by the information table on the middle level of the market, and here’s hoping you bring home some fresh inspiration. More info at montereybayfarmers.org.
Here are a few options to keep in mind if you’re making Easter plans. Malik Williams’ new eponymous Aptos restaurant is offering Easter brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 17. The a la carte menu includes eggs Benedict with lamb sausage, a breakfast burger, apricot crepes with blueberries and feta, biscuits and gravy, and house-made pastries — plus complimentary mimosas and croissants. Reserve on OpenTable.com. Or you can enjoy brunch at the View at Chaminade after one of its Easter egg hunts. In addition to classic favorites, the View will offer a special buffet just for kids. Make your reservations at chaminade.com. Chocolate in downtown Santa Cruz will be open for dinner on Easter Sunday starting at 4 p.m. Chef David Jackman says his chocolate mousse truffles are a popular choice for the holiday and can be purchased at chocolatesantacruz.com.
My husband, Mike, and I have a new favorite farmers market breakfast when we visit the Westside or Live Oak markets on the weekend. Start with an everything bagel from Holey Roller Bagels, a bagel-focused pop-up and our undisputed favorite bagel maker in the county. You can find Holey Roller at the Saturday market on the Westside, the Sunday market in Live Oak and at the Felton Farmers Market when it reopens next month. Holey Roller’s boiled and baked bagels are dark on the outside, completely coated in toppings and chewy through and through. You can’t go wrong with any of its seasonal, house-made schmears — we love the wild salmon with fresh dill and lemon — but in this case you need to use the Calabrian chili. Don’t worry if you’re sensitive to spiciness; this cream cheese captures the fruity flavor of the chilis and has only a barest hint of heat. Holey Roller sells its bagels whole only and its cream cheese separately, so ask the nice folks for a knife before you go. Now that you have your bagels and your cream cheese, head over to the New Natives booth and pick out a bag of its organic scallion microgreens.
Hopefully you can grab a table by the band, because it’s time to assemble. Cut open the everything bagel, use a heavy hand to smear your schmear, and add a generous handful of delicate, frizzy microgreens. The young sprouts aren’t as sharp as mature scallions, but they still lend a little allium heat in addition. Bite through the fresh sprouts and creamy, fruity cheese into the chewy bagel and all its crunchy toppings. The best part is you’ll definitely have leftovers to enjoy throughout the week. More info about Holey Roller Bagels at holeyrollerbagels.com and New Natives at newnatives.com.
The West Cliff Food Truck Summer Series is back for a fourth season, with monthly events at Lighthouse Point. On Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., Three Waves Coffee will offer its specialty brews; enjoy traditional Filipino dishes like lumpia and chicken adobo from Adobo To Go; grab a grilled cheese from Union Foodie Truck; or tacos, tortas and asada fries from Taquizas Gabriel. Take advantage of this beautiful summer weather and picnic on the lawn while the sun goes down over Monterey Bay. The Food Truck Summer Series occurs monthly through October, with a different lineup of food trucks each month. More information about this event at brotherspromotions.com.
Curious about natural wines? Head to Persephone restaurant in Aptos this Sunday afternoon for its new Second Sunday monthly wine tasting series. April’s theme is Natty Night, and the Persephone team will pour four wines produced using minimal intervention, native fermentation and little to no added sulfites. The wines are touted as “fresh and fun, sometimes with a funky twist,” and are paired with cheeses and small bites from the Persephone kitchen. There are three seatings available, at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased through OpenTable.com.
Colectivo Felix chef Diego Felix’s next al fresco dinner in the Swift Street Courtyard on the Westside of Santa Cruz is Saturday, April 16. There are only 20 seats available for these monthly pop-up events, so grab your ticket while you can. This month, the South American-meets-Santa Cruz menu includes a citrus and parsnip leche de tigre with scallops and sea urchin, a malbec- and mole-braised beef rib with chimichurri and three more courses. Tickets are $104.25 per person. Get yours here.
The wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains produce world-class wines unique to our local terroir, but it can be difficult to try them. Many of their tasting rooms are accessible only by braving winding mountain roads or are open only a few days a year. That’s why events like the Grand Tasting at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga on Sunday, April 24, are so valuable. More than 40 Santa Cruz Mountain wineries will be there, giving any attendant an unrivaled opportunity to taste their way through our local viticulture area. Discover the differences between a wine made with chardonnay grown in limestone versus sand, or how the proximity to the ocean affects the flavors of pinot noir. At the same time, enjoy a picnic at the stunning Mountain Winery and bid on more than 50 silent auction items. Just don’t forget to spit! VIP tickets for this event are sold out, but general admission tickets are still available for $68 at winesofthesantacruzmountains.com.