The March 27, 2011 14th Annual Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting in San Francisco featured over 500 of the best American Rhone wines from more than 100 Rhone Rangers member wineries.
More than 2,000 trade and consumer attendees sampled gourmet foods from 30 specialty food purveyors, including bread, olive oil, fruits and chocolates. Miner, the 1st Annual TasteTV Press Club Winner August 2010 (see Gratitude Gourmet article) also attended, and their 2008 The Odyssey Napa Valley wine was suberb.
There was also a separate "Green Rangers" Saturday event which featured a discussion among sustainable, organic and biodynamic producers. Fort Mason, the event venue, enables one to also enjoy boats sailing in San Francisco Bay and views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
I hope you enjoy the Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting in Pictures, and let me know if you have a favorite Picture and/or Wine :-) !
Credit: Kari's Malva Pudding
I recently tried the decadent pudding-cake dessert, Kari’s Malva Pudding.
It's a rich, dense, caramelly, pudding-cake that's a favorite of Oprah Winfrey, Henry Kissinger and Nelson Mandela that keeps in the freezer. It’s a unique vegetarian (not vegan) dessert that originated in South Africa and handmade in Aptos California
by the Mansfeld Family.
Kari started making her favorite Malva puddings for friends and family when they came over for dinner and after being told enough times that she should make them and sell them she decided to do just that. Each Malva uses only the freshest and best local ingredients
including cage-free eggs and fresh apricot jam from the local farmer's market with no corn syrup in it. More information on the product is here: www.malvapudding.com
You may have read my Interview with Stephanie Soechtig: 'Tapped' Documentary Director in 2009
which featured the virtually unregulated business of bottled water and its lifecycle, including health, environmental, and human rights issues. Her Documentary interviews include community members, politicians, scientists, and government agency representatives.I also interviewed David de Rothschild's on his Plastiki Expedition
in 2009 at the Greener by Design conference where his “Message in a Bottle" Mission consisted of the team planning to design and navigate a boat created from plastic bottles through the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating landfill located between California and Hawaii that's twice the size of Texas.Here's a new book by Susan Freinkel called Plastic, A Toxic Love Story
where she tells her story through eight familiar classic objects: comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, soda bottle, and credit card. Here's a nice Q&A from Amazon:Q: What are the five things people can do to improve their relationship with plastic?
A: 1. Refuse single-use freebies: Bring your own bag when shopping. Carry a travel mug for your daily caffeine fix. Tell your waiter you don’t need a straw.
2. Reuse where possible: Give that sandwich baggie a week’s workout; use that empty yogurt tub for leftovers.
3. Quit the bottled water habit. You can stay just as hydrated with a reusable bottle made of stainless steel, aluminum, or BPA-free plastic.
4. Learn what you can recycle. Find out what plastics your community recycler accepts. Explore other recycling resources: UPS stores will take back shipping peanuts; many grocery chains will take used bags and plastic film; many office supply chains will take back used printer cartridges.
5. Don’t cook in plastic. Heat can cause hazardous chemicals to leach out of some polymers, so transfer food to glass before microwaving.
Per this Reuters article, Brockovich, testified to the Senate and says she has become an informal reporting agency for those who worry that something in their immediate environment is a health hazard.
"Thousands of Americans contact me every month asking for help
and telling me about unexplained diseases in their neighborhood or on their streets," Brockovich told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. She offered a map of the United States and Canada she said she put together by plotting these calls geographically, showing calls from almost every U.S. state and several Canadian provinces.A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Disease Clusters Alliance
reported 42 disease clusters in 13 U.S. states, showing incidence of numerous types of cancer, birth defects and other chronic illnesses."
Image; Jack and Jasons
Jack and Jasons Pancakes and Waffles
has a great line of Pancake and Waffle Mixes like Double Chocolate, Blueberry, and Banana & Walnut. If you'e looking for a great treat, you must try these. The mixes themselves are vegan
and can also be prepared vegan using egg substitute, oil and almond/soy milk. It's a gourmet pancake and waffle mix that incorporates real fruit and the finest in all-natural, organic ingredients, such as whole wheat flour and hearty-healthy oatmeal.
Co-owners Jack Harper and Jason Jervis started the San Francisco company to create the absolute best product available as well as promote healthy eating and buying local. Supporting local manufacturing and farming was really important to them
when they decided where to launch. They are currently available online and in about a dozen specialty grocery stores in the city and they will be working to expand to the North, South and East Bay very soon.
Credit: Growing at the Speed of Life
Do you have a kitchen garden? Ever since Gratitude Gourmet was founded in 2008, we have been featuring gardening stories because of the importance to be self-sufficient in raising our own food, realizing and appreciating where our food originates, and providing a greater opportunity for more nutrient-rich foods, and delicious, fresh flavors.
If you like Kitchen Gardening or would like to try it, here's a NEW book for you called Growing At The Speed of Life .. A Year in the Life of My First Kitchen Garden.. by Graham Kerr.
He dug up his South Lawn, put together a greenhouse, and shared his crop with those in need. He put a great list of Sixty garden vegetables, fruits and herbs to help you care for them and included great Quinoa and Lentil recipes. Have you recently started a Kitchen Garden? What are your tips? Post your tips on Facebook for a chance to WIN the Book: Growing at the Speed of Life by Graham Kerr.
Reuters reports that Saving Bats Will Help US Farmers. Normally, I don't feature most of a 3rd party article, however, I thought that all these facts needed to be presented and it's well-worth reading. Per the article:
"America's bats are dying in their hundreds of thousands due to a mysterious illness called white-nose syndrome, and efforts to save them could prevent billions of dollars in agricultural losses, scientists say.
In a paper published in the journal Science, bat researchers estimated that a single colony of 150 brown bats in the U.S. state of Indiana eats around 1.3 million pest insects a year, and that the value of such bats to agriculture may be around $22.9 billion a year.
They criticized a lack of funds and efforts to save the bats and to find out more about what is causing their widespread population decline. The current "wait-and-see" approach is unacceptable, they said.
"Bats are among the most overlooked, yet economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, and their conservation is important for the integrity of ecosystems and in the best interest of both national and international economies," the scientists, led by Justin Boyles of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, wrote in the journal.
"The life histories of these flying, nocturnal mammals -- characterized by long generation times and low reproductive rates -- mean that population recovery is unlikely for decades or even centuries, if at all."
The deadly white-nose infection is spreading quickly across the Northeastern United States and Canada, and a study published last year suggested the disease is likely to cause the regional extinction of the one species of bat known as little brown myotis bat.
The syndrome, linked to a fungus that spreads among bats as they hibernate, affects at least seven species, experts say. It was only identified in the United States 2006, in bats nesting in caves near Albany, New York, and since then more than a million of the flying mammals have died.
"This disease is burning through our bat populations like a five-alarm fire," said Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity in Ohio.
In a telephone interview, Boyles said the researchers aim was to drive home the importance of protecting bats -- animals he said were often undervalued by the public and policymakers.
"A lot of people say 'why should we care about bats?," he explained. "So our goal is to try and emphasize how important they are ecologically and economically," he said.
The scientists said the rising number of wind turbines in the United States and Europe were another major threat to bats. Thousands of dead bats have been found near wind farms, and some scientists believe sudden changes in air pressure close to wind turbines can cause the lungs of the tiny creatures to collapse.
"Solutions that will reduce the population impacts of white-nose syndrome and reduce the mortality from wind-energy facilities are possible in the next few years," they wrote. "But identifying, substantiating, and applying solutions will only be fueled...by increased and widespread awareness of the benefits of insectivorous bats among the public, policy-makers and scientists."
Per the BBC Article: "Dr Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton, analyzed the antioxidant levels of nine different types of nuts and discovered that a handful of walnuts contained twice as many antioxidants as a handful of any other commonly eaten nut. He found that these antioxidants were higher in quality and potency than in any other nut. Antioxidants are good because they stop the chain reactions that damage cells in the body when oxidation occurs.
The antioxidants found in walnuts were also two to 15 times as powerful as vitamin E, which is known to protect the body against damaging natural chemicals involved in causing disease, the study says.
Nuts are known to be healthy and nutritious, containing high-quality protein, lots of vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fibre. They are also dairy and gluten-free.
Previous research has shown that regular consumption of small amounts of nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, type two diabetes and other health problems." Enjoy your walnuts! btw readers, Do you know if Walnut Trees can grow well in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Per Reuters: "A consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers filed suit against global seed giant Monsanto Co., in a move to protect themselves from what they see as a growing threat in the company's arsenal of genetically modified crops.
The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed the suit on behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the agricultural giant's patents on its genetically modified seeds. The group is seeking a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm." The complete Reuters article is here.