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Miss Thang : This Harley Farms goat will not personally attend the Slow Food Nation festival in San Francisco, but she will send a human assistant.


Introducing Slow Food Nation, the World Series for foodies, coming to San Francisco over Labor Day.

By Amber Turpin

SLOW FOOD NATION Baseball fans have the World Series, fire-loving freaks have Burning Man and now we food fanatics have something to make our hearts go pitter-patter--Slow Food Nation! The quantity and quality of events planned for this first-ever, groundbreaking occasion in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend is almost too rich for words. The caliber of free and ticketed events is mind-blowing: the Food for Thought speaker series with leading food visionaries (Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Marion Nestle, etc.); the Taste Pavilion at Fort Mason Center, which will feature 15 categories of edibles in imaginatively designed displays; a Victory Garden in front of City Hall that will be harvested in September and donated to area food banks; and the two-day Slow Food Rocks music festival featuring Gnarls Barkley, Ozomatli, Phil Lesh & Friends and others. Many of our local farmers, winemakers and producers who are dedicated to sustainable food practices are involved. Ahlgren, Bonny Doon and Silver Mountain will represent Santa Cruz in the wine section at the Taste Pavilion. A vast Marketplace at the Civic Center Plaza will have fruits from Van Dyke Ranch, Live Earth Farm, Swanton, Pinnacle and Yerena Farms, veggies from Iacopi Farms, Route One, Happy Girl Kitchen, Far West Fungi, New Natives and A Nagamine Nursery, as well as walnuts from Hain Ranch and goat cheese from Harley Farms. This is truly something not to be missed. (

TOAST THE COAST The 16th annual Winemakers' Celebration is coming up on Saturday, Aug. 9, noon-4pm, at the Custom House Plaza in Monterey. Billed as your chance to "Toast the Coast," this lively event will feature almost 50 different Central Coast wineries, providing a glimpse of the diversity in terroir of our special region. Live music by the Dennis Murphy Band will accompany food pairings (they cost extra) and a silent auction, appropriately chalk full of enocentric items. For the true wine geeks, visit the "education tent" for demonstrations on wine barrel building, seminars and the oaked-vs.-unoaked "Would You Wood Your Wine?" exclusive tasting 1-2pm. As if that weren't enough, attendees can try their luck for the raffle grand prize: a vacation for two at Pueblo Bonito, a holistic retreat and spa in Cabo San Lucas. (831.375.9400 or

BEER BIBLE Just as there are cat people and dog people, there can often be a distinction between those who choose beer and those who prefer wine. Of course, those of us who tout the pleasures of taste would argue that there is a large population that enjoys both beverage options. I have a feeling that Charles Bamforth, Capitola Book Café's upcoming guest speaker, recognizes the attributes of both categories more than your average Joe. Author of Grape vs. Grain: A Historical, Technological, and Social Comparison of Wine and Beer, not to mention professor of malting and brewing sciences at UC-Davis, Mr. Bamforth has obviously dedicated his life to the ins and outs of fermentation and the anthropological issues associated with the craft. Join him at 7:30pm on Thursday, July 31, and toast to your own preference now that the Book Café includes beer and wine on an expanded menu. (831.462.4415 or

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