Experience Glaum Egg Ranch’s egg-cellent vending machine and other local goodies at the barn store, Santa Cruz County missed by Michelin, plus two local wine events to enjoy this fall.
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It’s Friday, which means we made it through election week. How
about taking a break from scrolling through hot takes and watching results trickle in with a nice palette cleanser of local food news?
This week, I got some fresh air and took my toddler to dinner and a show at Glaum Egg Ranch. By that I mean I fed $4 into an egg vending machine, received a dozen fresh eggs and watched as animatronic poultry sang and danced. That counts, right?
Also, Michelin Guide California released its new additions, but unfortunately no Santa Cruz County restaurants made the list… womp womp.
Coming up this weekend, discover how the Ohlone created meals from native plants with the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and sip on local wines at the downtown Santa Cruz Fall Wine Walk. Plus, tickets are now on sale for the Aptos Wine Wander.
The Michelin Guide California added 37 restaurants to its guide this week – none from Santa Cruz County. It felt like we were on a bit of a roll there for a second when, last year, Mentone in Aptos earned a Bib Gourmand, which is one step below a coveted star, and Alderwood in Santa Cruz earned a nod as well. I had hoped that other worthy local restaurants might make it this year as well.
I know that some of you are rolling your eyes at me – who cares about the outdated, geriatric, stuffy Michelin Guide? To them I say that while this mysterious and controversial guide is certainly not the only arbiter of taste and does possess notable flaws, its attention nevertheless carries significant currency and is worth noting. I believe in a “high tide raises all ships” philosophy – if even one Santa Cruz County restaurant were to earn a star, it would draw attention to the range of endlessly talented and creative culinary people here doing incredible work with our exceptional local ingredients.
Still, guide schmide – these same folks were doing what they do long before the guide started coming to the Central Coast a few years ago, and they’ll keep doing it regardless of when they return.
Tickets are now available for the fifth Aptos Wine Wander in the Aptos Village on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. More than a dozen local wineries from throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains descend on Aptos Village businesses to pour their unique wines. Tickets are $40 per person now through Nov. 15 – after that the price goes up to $45 per person, then $55 per person at the gate, if there are any tickets left. I went to this event last year, and it’s a great opportunity to try wines from small local wineries in our area. Purchase tickets at winesofthesantacruzmountains.com.
I’ve bought Glaum Egg Ranch eggs at local grocery stores for years, but until this week I had never visited the barn store. It’s a darling little detour off of Freedom Boulevard in Aptos and is worth a special trip just to experience the egg vending machine.
The egg vendor is a small window built into the side of the farm stand. Feed it four dollar bills – it specifies “crisp” – and out slides a carton of large, cage-free white eggs. It also triggers a cluster of animatronic chickens behind a window to its left to cluck and dance to a version of Glenn Miller’s ‘In the Mood,’ by Henhouse Five Plus Two. The chickens’ outfits change according to the season – this week, they were still decked out in their Halloween costumes.
That’s just the outside – inside the farmstand, visitors will find a mix of gifts, local products like meats from Freedom Meat Locker and Rivas Honey from Watsonville, some farm products like Glaum’s special chicken feed and, of course, plenty of fresh eggs. Although there are no live chickens here — they live happily on a farm in Watsonville — my one-and-a-half-year-old son, Marco, came home with a little stuffed hen.
The Glaum Family has produced eggs for a hundred years, first in Nebraska, then Live Oak and, since 1957, in Aptos. The egg vending machine was invented by Marvin Glaum, a second-generation egg farmer who created many inventions used on the farm. His children and grandchildren continue to run the ranch today. The Barn Store is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The egg vending machine operates Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. More info at glaumeggranch.com.
Manresa Bread opened an outpost in Santa Cruz this week, its fifth in the Bay Area. While its pastries have been available at local Verve coffee shops for a few years, visit the shop on the Westside to take home the real star of the show – its huge, dark, fragrant loaves of sourdough levain ($10). Made with freshly milled flour, the flavor and texture of this bread is exceptional. I was also pleasantly surprised that it stayed fresh for three days stored cut side down on my counter. It may have lasted even longer, but my family of three had eaten it all by then. Earlier this week I spoke with head baker and Santa Cruz resident Avery Ruzicka on her baking philosophy, why she mills her own flour and how she feels about opening a Manresa Bread location just blocks from where she lives. Check it out before you go.
The Ohlone, who were the ancestors of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, lived in what is now the Santa Cruz area long before we did. Discover a small bit of their history by discovering how they prepared native foods at the Native Foods Workshop at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History this Saturday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. California State Park Ranger and naturalist Alex Tabone researched traditional technology from the Central Coast and has worked with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band on traditional food revitalization programs. He’ll teach students how to make food from local plants, including bay nuts, grassland seeds and acorns. Tickets are $10 for members and $20 for the general public. This class is currently full, but you can emailto be put on the waitlist.
The Downtown Wine Walk is back this Sunday, Nov. 14 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Start at Soif Wine Bar and make your way to 12 local wineries scattered around downtown Santa Cruz, including El Vaquero Winery, Windy Oaks Estate and Roudon-Smith Winery. Taste local wines, get some exercise hoofing it from one end of Pacific Avenue to the other, and grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant after. Tickets are $40 through Eventbrite.