In this berry-licious issue of Eaters Digest, find rare and delicate olallieberries at Prevedelli Farms and treat yourself to a strawberries-and-cream berry tea latte at Honeylux in Watsonville.
Heads up, foodies: I’m now sending alerts every time I publish a story. Sign up for texts from me here. Thanks to those of you who’ve already subscribed and offered your thoughts! And catch up on my recent work here.
Happy Memorial Day weekend! After such a difficult week, I hope everyone takes the time to recharge with friends and family, get outside and eat and drink something special.
I have a couple of suggestions on that front. First, olallieberries are briefly in season, and you can find them Prevedelli Farms. Olallies used to flourish in the Santa Cruz area, but are so delicate that many farms eventually ripped out their bushes. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy these tart-sweet berries at their peak. Speaking of berries, I was wowed by the berry tea latte, an unmissable, totally refreshing strawberries-and-cream cooler at Honeylux in Watsonville.
There are several great events happening this weekend and into next week, including a two-day Backyard Bash at Humble Sea, a summer vegetable gardening seminar at Love Apple Farms and the Santa Cruz Restaurant Walk in downtown Santa Cruz.
Also, if you head to the water this weekend and wonder what the fleet of boats anchored off the wharf are doing out there, I have the answer for you: They’re salmon boats, here to fish for king salmon.
Read on for the rest, and have a wonderful weekend.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival is canceled indefinitely, but you can still celebrate artichokes with all your heart at the Artichoke Festival in Monterey. This 62-year-old tradition returns June 11-12 at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center. Expect artichoke cooking demonstrations, wine tasting, live entertainment, arts and crafts, family activities and lots of artichokes in all kinds of edible forms — lumpia, burritos, even cupcakes and ice cream. Buy tickets online for $15 for adults and $5 for children, with discounts for groups, seniors and members of the military, at artichokefestival.org.
If you’ve visited the Beach Boardwalk or walked along West Cliff Drive in the past few weeks, you probably noticed dozens of boats anchored off the wharf. One reader wrote in to ask what they’re all doing here. In this Ask Lookout story from Wednesday, I reveal that they’re commercial salmon boats here to fish for king salmon. The commercial season for the rest of California doesn’t open until July 8, so many of them could be here through June. The number of boats will grow soon when squid boats arrive for spring fishing, adds wharf supervisor Britt Hoberg. So if you enjoy locally caught wild salmon or calamari this weekend, you can thank those guys. (P.S. If you have questions like this, don’t be shy! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and put Ask LO in the subject line.)
Olallieberries are here! Most Santa Cruzans are familiar with this juicy, sweet-tart cross between a loganberry and a youngberry. For most of the latter half of the 20th century, olallieberries were grown widely in the area, but their short season and delicate fruits aren’t compatible with mass production, so most farmers ultimately tore out the bushes and replaced them with raspberries and blackberries. Prevedelli Farms and Gizdich Ranch are the only farms in Santa Cruz County that still grow them commercially. They haven’t popped up yet at Gizdich, but Prevedelli Farms, the only organic grower, brought them to its markets this week.
It’s a small crop, and Prevedelli Farms will have olallieberries for only the next four weeks, at its Watsonville farm on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. and the farmers markets in Aptos and downtown Santa Cruz, says Nick Prevedelli. I rushed to get some at the downtown market Wednesday. The flavor reminds me of wild blackberries, with more depth and tartness. Fresh olallies are precious, so eat them as is, on ice cream or, as Sylvia Prevedelli suggests, with good-quality unsweetened yogurt. I would save the frozen olallieberries, which are a little easier to find throughout the year, for baking projects. Buy them fresh online at prevedellifarms.com.
Last week, I stopped at Honeylux, a new café in the bustling Watsonville Hangar complex, and tried one of the most refreshing iced drinks I’ve ever had. The truth is I had already enjoyed an iced mocha with rich Mutari chocolate in the beachy, airy interior, and was about to leave when another customer’s order stopped me in my tracks. I had to try the dark pink iced tea with cream floating on top, dusted with cinnamon and a fresh strawberry for myself.
The berry tea latte starts with iced, caffeine-free berry-and-hibiscus tisane. Fresh cold cream with homemade vanilla syrup is frothed and poured over the top, and it’s finished with freshly grated cinnamon and a whole strawberry. It tastes like summer in a glass — creamy, just a touch sweet, completely refreshing and brimming with ripe berry flavor. The best part is that when you’re finished, you get to enjoy a whipped cream-covered strawberry.
Husband-and-wife owners Travis Nelson and Ashley Malone say they and their staff members are always trying to come up with fun drinks for customers. The Watsonville residents decided to open Honeylux after Nelson lost his job at Verve Coffee Roasters during the pandemic, and finally opened the doors last October. They make an effort to source from local partners, including Gold Leaf Spice & Teas in Salinas and Companion Bakeshop in Aptos. 11th Hour Coffee in Santa Cruz roasts Honeylux’s custom coffee blends, and Nelson and Malone consider owners Brayden and Joel Estby dear friends. Stop in to Honeylux for their refreshing strawberries-and-cream cooler Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info at honeyluxcoffee.com.
Love Apple Farms, gardening guru Cynthia Sandberg’s 22-acre biodynamic farm in Scotts Valley, will host an intensive summer vegetable gardening workshop on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains off of Highway 17. Sandberg, co-founder of the World Tomato Society, teaches this all-day seminar that goes over everything you need to know to grow summer veggies, from bed preparation, fertilizing and amending, to proper sow and transplant dates, pest control, companion planting, climate needs and more. Sandberg will also go over the characteristics of 20 different warm-weather veggies that grow well in this area. This class is great for beginners or anyone who wants to level up their gardening knowledge. Price is $99 plus a materials fee of $10. Register at growbetterveggies.com.
Humble Sea Brewing Co. will host two back-to-back Backyard Bashes this Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the courtyard at its Swift Street brewery. Each day features a different lineup of food trucks, vendors and games. Scrumptious Fish & Chips and Real Taco will be there on both days, and on Sunday, Cracked Cookies and Mariposa Cuban Coffee will join the fun. Of course, there will be lots of tasty beer to wash it all down.
Cancel whatever plans you had for dinner this Wednesday and head to downtown Santa Cruz for the Santa Cruz Restaurant Walk — it sounds way more fun than reheating leftovers. For the price of a $30 ticket, guests can visit 18 participating downtown restaurants, including La Bufala, Betty’s Eat Inn, Rosie McCann’s, Kianti’s Pizza and Pasta, Planet Fresh and Arslan’s Turkish Street Food, for a sample of one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Munch your way up and down Pacific Avenue to try them all. All of the proceeds from this event go to Common Roots Farm, a Santa Cruz organic farm that helps people with disabilities. Find tickets at Eventbrite.com.
Lily Belli On Food
Lily has you covered on all things Santa Cruz County food. Click here to sign up for her newsletter!