Wow! What can I say that you haven’t already heard… Foodbuzz knows how to throw an event! From the location, seminars, vendors, guest speakers and of course FOOD, this was one rockin’ festival! The vibe was contagious and the foodies were aglow to meet each other, chat and eat! I was particularly excited by the commitment of Foodbuzz to invite speakers and local artisanal vendors committed to the local food movement and sustainability. Our entire evening banquet was held by Outstanding in the Field, whose mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. Hat’s off to you Foodbuzz and your amazing team for an outstanding weekend!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Early Friday Morning, my sister, mami, and I boarded an airplane bound for San Francisco! I was so excited to finally visit as it’s my sister’s favorite U.S. city and she’s constantly raving about it. The Foodbuzz festival was set to have an opening reception/cocktail hour Friday evening, however, I decided to opt out and spend some time cruising the streets of SF with my sis and mami. Upon arrival, we gathered our bags, easily found the Bart (subway) and headed to our hotel in Union Square, Downtown SF! I love city life! The smell of fumes and restaurants, sounds of people and public transportation really do make me happy. Always brings me back to my favorite city, Sevilla!
After checking in, our first stop was China Town! By far, my favorite district in SF!
From the Hearst Ranch website
Hearst Ranch cattle graze freely over the 150,000 acres that make up our two ranches. They’re not only grass-fed, they’re finished on grass at the ranches, meaning that in the months before harvest they continue grazing outdoors to fatten up on spring grasses. This high-quality natural forage and the freedom of the cattle to roam are the keys to producing our healthful beef. The animals seek out the richest and most suitable feed for their growth stage, instinctively customizing their diets to their body’s needs.
During the discussion, Brian Kenny explained briefly about the differences between grass-fed meat versus conventional feed lots. Grass-fed meaning cattle are pastured and allowed to roam and eat grasses off the land as their bodies were created to do versus cattle raised in confined areas and fed diets of grains and corn. Most of my readers know this is a subject near and dear to my heart, so I was very excited to feel a part of the local food movement in California. Chef Paul Arenstam, Executive Chef of Americano Restaurant and Bar, buys his meat from Hearst Ranch. I was delighted to hear Chef Paul explain about the importance of establishing relationships with his farmers and producers to know exactly what type of product he is receiving. He actually spent time at the Hearst Ranch side by side the cattle that he would be serving his patrons of his restaurant. Now that is commitment! (Brings me back to my time spent at Ebersole Cattle Ranch in Southern Iowa!) His goals are to make the best hamburger in the United States and with the help of Hearst Ranch, I believe he will do it!
Alot of what Brian Kenny and Chef Paul were speaking about, I was already familiar with. However, it was interesting to hear the discussion of people wondering how to go about buying grass-fed beef. Being from Iowa, I take for granted my location and the resources I have for some of the best meat in the world. In Iowa we have basements, perfect locations for deep freezers and extra refrigerators. At the discussion, it became a reality that this isn’t the scenario for many people throughout our nation. So many of these folks come from large cities, living in small areas and grass-fed beef can cost an arm and a leg. I reduce my costs by buying grass-fed beef by the side and stocking my deep freeze for the year. Most of these people can barely fit a standard size refrigerator in their kitchen no less a deep freeze. So how are they able to provide the best for their family? I don’t know! I wish I had that answer. If you have any suggestions on this, please feel free to comment. I’m excited to write a post specifically on grass-fed beef encompassing some of these questions. I know for me, I find it very important to provide my family the best in nourishing foods. So for me and my family, we give up a lot of other things, such as movies or going out to eat, in order to pay a bit more for food. I also shop, utilizing many different sources to get the best bang for my buck. So I spend more time shopping for these products instead of getting it all at one place. Also, I do visit my farmers market every week to save money and buy organic. It saves me the most money and has allowed me to form great relationships with my farmers. I think for people living in the city in small areas, the best thing is to visit your farmers market, visit the farms, get to know the farmer, ask questions, ask about how you can start purchasing some of these products and their suggestions as to how you can start fitting this into your budget. You’d be surprised at how willing they are to help you. One thing is for sure, as soon as you see how much time, energy, and heart is put into raising your meat, you will start to understand why this product cost more. You will also be more willing to pay for meat knowing how it was raised, cared for and the nutritional value that far surpasses any conventional method. (And, there are NO HORMONES OR ANTIBIOTICS!!) If you’re one of these families that lives in large cities in small areas I also encourage you to visit, www.localharvest.org for a list of farmers in your area. Give them a call! Remember, Know Farmers… Know Food!!
After this heart felt discussion, I was pumped to hit the farmers market and find out what the San Francisco area farmers could bring to the table!
This lovely couple are Lora and Bob La Mar from Mendocino Sea Salt and Seasoning Company. After speaking to Lora and Bob, I’m pretty excited to do some more extensive research on Sea Salt. Expect a post in the near future!
As most of my readers probably already know, our evening awards ceremony and dinner was a “farm to table” feast held at Greenleaf’s produce warehouse. Dinner was was put on by Outstanding In The Field and catered by Chef Dennis Lee of Namu. It was a great atmosphere as tables wound around the entire warehouse in preparation for a family style feast.
The dinner and company was amazing! The dinner was Japanese fusion. I’m still drooling over the udan noodles with grilled calamari. The brussel sprouts were also to die for. Oh… and the oxtail was amazing… and the salmon… Okay… as you can tell, it was ALL delicious. Except for the soup. It was good, but way too cold for my liking.
During the event, I had the priviledge to sit next to Kimberly from Poor Girl Eats Well. I love to meet Latina’s!! She was so much fun and another great real person! We had great conversation and there may be a possible collaboration in the future. Keep your eyes peeled!!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
On Sunday, I also decided to opt-out of the final brunch to spend that time with my family. My sis, mami and I rented a car and toured most of San Francisco.
First Stop: The Golden Gate Bridge