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News of the Food

Bitter and Sweet

By Gretchen Giles

With a boycott of Gallo products looming (see "Briefs"), the reasonable and socially conscious shopper naturally assumes that he or she can easily sidestep a Gallo-owned product. Think again. The monolithic producer owns some 50 wine and spirit labels, including the yummy Pinots of the MacMurray ranch, the affordable zesty Zins of Rancho Zabaco and the Italian wines produced under the Ecco Domani label. Thus, the socially conscious shopper has every reason to be profoundly sad. While many non-union-busting choices abound on store shelves, keep an eye out for the following Gallo brands: Anapamu, Andre (sparkling), Ballatore Spumante (sparkling), Bartles & Jaymes Coolers, Bella Sera, Black Swan (Australian), Boones Farm (regular and malt), Bridlewood, Burlwood (restaurant/hotel only), Carlo Rossi, Cask & Cream Chocolate Temptation, Cask & Cream Caramel Temptation, Copperidge (restaurant/hotel only), Da Vinci (Italian), E&J Cask & Cream, E&J Cognac, E&J Gallo Twin Valley Vineyards, E&J VS Brandy, E&J VSOP Brandy, Ecco Domani, Frei Brothers, Gallo Fairbanks (sherry and port), Gallo of Sonoma County, Gallo of Sonoma Estate, Gallo of Sonoma Single Vineyard, Gallo Vermouth (sweet and dry), Gossamer Bay, Hornsby Hard Cider, Indigo Hills Blanc de Blancs (sparkling), Liberty Creek (restaurant/hotel only), Louis B. Martini, MacMurray Ranch, Marcelina, McWilliams Hanwood Estate (Australian), Mirassou, Napa Valley Vineyards, Night Train, Peter Vella, Rancho Zabaco, Red Bicyclette (French), Redwood Creek, Sheffield Cellars (sherry and port), Sola Vista, Thunderbird, Tisdale, Tott's (sparkling), Turning Leaf, Whitehaven (New Zealand), Wild Vines (fruit-flavored), William Wycliff Vineyards (restaurant/hotel only) . . . .

In other politics of food, the West Marin-based Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) is wrestling the Safeway supermarket chain, insisting that the mega-retailer post mercury warnings in its fish cases. While Safeway generally does comply with Proposition 65 in posting inexpensive signs warning of mercury levels in swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and albacore at its California stores, TIRN charges that such signage is necessary--and missing--nationwide. Ironically noting that Safeway is currently under an "Ingredients for Life" ad campaign, TIRN warns that pregnant women, women of child-bearing age overall and small children are at risk for being truly poisoned when eating fish that isn't identified as being high in mercury. According to TIRN's Andy Peri, Safeway CEO Steven Burd, responded to the group's concerns by replying that signage wasn't necessary as the amount of media attention regarding mercury levels in fish are sufficient. To learn more about mercury levels and their presence in particular fish types, go to www.gotmercury.org . . . .

Meanwhile, on the upside of things, the collective known as Marin Organic just won $75,000 from the Columbia foundation to encourage sustainable organic food production in Marin. The Marin Community Foundation had just granted $25,000 to the non-profit in March, so the stuff does appear to be growing on trees out in West Marin . . . . And for those in the know, please be glad to learn that the SRJC Culinary Cafe and Bakery reopens for the summer semester (hooray!) on Wednesday, June 22, serving Wednesday-Friday, 7:30am to 2pm, with lunch swinging out at 11:30am. Fridays feature a special food and wine pairing lunch. 458 B St., Santa Rosa. 707.576.0279.

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From the June 8-14, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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