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May 26th
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Time is Ripe

din leadLocal fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

Have you checked out the fruit harvests coming in lately? Well, now is the exact moment of perfection for cherries, blueberries and nectarines, which seem to be better this year than I’ve ever tasted them. Head to your nearest farmers market and scoop up some of the local fruit harvest. Nectarines are superb right now. Cherries are abundant and sparkling with crunch, richness and a touch of tart. And the blueberries. Off the hook—especially those from the UCSC Farm & Garden and available at the Tuesday and Friday produce cart located at the foot of campus, at the intersection of Bay and High Streets. We do not remember ever (ever) having blueberries this brilliant. Also note: Live Earth Farm always has superior greens and herbs, but now in addition to peppery cresses, they’ve got plump, lemony-flavored purslane. This pretty veggie (see Shakespeare for purslane puns) makes a graceful visual statement for your next salad featuring the hot-off-the-farm Early Girl tomatoes (dry-farmed of course, for maximum sweetness and flavor) from Dirty Girl Produce. Yes! Nature is just the best.

Viti-Cultured

Kudos—again!—to Pamela and Steve Storrs, whose new 2012 Wildcat Ridge Chardonnay from the Corralitos neck of the appellation was named “Best White Wine of Region” at the 2014 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. To celebrate, the winemakers are hosting a Chardonnay tasting and cheese pairing event this weekend, July 26 and 27 at the Storrs Tasting Room (open from noon until 5 p.m., located in the Old Sash Mill). The 2012 Wildcat Ridge chardonnay hails from Pleasant Valley, said to boast a perfect climate for Burgundian varietals. “In the valley, warm sunny days are cooled in the evenings by ocean breezes,” says viticulturist and winemaker Steve Storrs. “These factors allow for a wine that is well-balanced and filled with bright notes of mountain pear, ripe pippin and a long, lingering buttery finish,” Pam adds. Details at storrswine.com.

Red Wine of the Week

Don’t miss the 2011 installment of Thomas Fogarty’s hugely likeable Skyline, a luscious Bordeaux-style blend with a happy $14.99 price tag. This smartly-balanced wine only tastes expensive. Big tannins, gorgeous flavor, 14.5%. Think beef.

White Wine of the Week

A 2012 Sauvignon Blanc—part of the Whites line from Windy Oaks—filled with Monterey grapes. Unusually unctuous for a light alcohol creation (13.3%), this atypical SV offers saltiness, honeydew, and bay leaves. Winemaker Jim Schultz has worked a bit of voodoo and made a white that can stand up to charcuterie and cheeseburgers. What’s not to like? $14.99.

Salt of the Earth

Have you noticed the designer culinary salts being artisanally crafted by Farmer Freed? Those attractive jars of salt blended with herbs, citrus, zippy spices and more, are the handiwork of former UCSC Farm & Garden apprentice Emily Jane Freed. Sourcing local organic herbs, chiles, and other ingredients, Freed has placed her salt blends in top emporia around the Bay Area—locally at Companion Bakeshop, Cameron Marks and Westside Farm & Feed. This is great news for us salt lickers who can’t get enough of the mother mineral. And, the stuffed padron peppers at Soif continue to amaze and delight. As does the futomaki at Totoro.

Beer Fest

Set your clock for the 4th Annual California Beer Festival, coming up fast on Aug. 9 & 10 at the Aptos Village Park. Craft beers galore, live music, sliders, picnics, burgers—totally all-American summertime activities. I’ll remind you again next week.

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Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.
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