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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Learny Journey Three Times A Day

Uploaded: Apr 8, 2014

I've never been a Girl Scout, or even a Brownie, so I didn't know about the Scout "journey" until recently. I like the name journey over project. Projects are desk jobs. A journey is a road trip to exciting destinations far and wide.

The Portola Valley Girl Scouts are journeying about food right now. You might ponder hitching a ride. They are learning about food production, distribution and use, both from a local and global perspective. Along the road, they read the signs: Why is it essential for us to care about the food system? What can I do to improve it?

Last week, the journey led to Bianchini's in Portola Valley, where Kevin Bianchini is quietly leading a food revolution all his own. The girls learned how to create a mini farmers market 365 days a year with systematic partnerships at super-local farms including Webb Ranch of Portola Valley and Pomponio Creek Farms in Pescadero. You can always find something unique and screamingly fresh these days from Pomponio because the farm and the store created a growing schedule of seasonal produce all year long with no gap in harvest and delivery. They're not just dating... they got married.

Right now, I am loving the beautiful baby butter lettuce. I swear it's smiling at me in the produce aisle. And I don't even want to remind you that Webb Ranch's pick-and-deliver-corn-in-5-minutes-or-whatever is right around the corner because you might buy it all before I get there. Check out the produce signs, Kevin is great about listing where things are grown. Beet Enthusiasts, I hear those are on their way.

"I enjoyed the tour," said Kevin. "Teens are a good age to learn how and why to be passionate about food. The girls understood and appreciate that real relationships with farmers make our food taste so much better."

After Bianchini's, the Scouts and I made dinner using ingredients "harvested" from the market. Cooking classes (where dinner is the goal), are often organized chaos, but when the meal hit the table and each girl presented a dish, I found myself inspired and proud. They got it. Thru journeying they learned one of the most positive effects we can have on ourselves, and the environment, begins on our dinner plate, and that there's a story behind each dish. If we take the time to learn the story, the farmer and the rancher join us at the table, and family dinners take on whole new meaning. It is essential to care. We can do something to help.

Let's all join their journey. We'll have impact because food is power, possibly more powerful these days than politics. Most of us are fed up with politics, but still hungry for good food. Not everyone votes, but everyone eats.

So let's journey into the kitchen tonight and cook, shall we?

Together we can make a great meal and a great difference.

Bianchini's Market
3130 Alpine Rd. Portola Valley, CA
810 Laurel St. San Carlos, CA


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sophia M., a resident of another community,
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Another fantastic post Laura! Keep them coming as you always bring up such great points about how food should be inspiring, healthy, and fun.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 9, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Flattery will get you everywhere Sophia M.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 10, 2014 at 5:37 pm

USA is a registered user.

That's great. It is good to see such values instilled in young people.

Thanks for the info, Laura.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

USA - back in da'howse!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 10, 2014 at 6:36 pm

USA is a registered user.

BTW, I see that there is a VeggieGrill opening on San Antonio and El Camino. The one at Santana Row is great. Check out the menu: Web Link

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Alan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Apr 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Doesn't the girl scout organization induce some cognitive dissonance in these young ladies - while on the one hand, teaching them about eating in-season organic fruits and vegetables, and on the other hand, turning them into evil "pushers" of Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and Samoas? Huh? ;)

 +  Like this comment
Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Maybe this is a good opportunity to return to thier roots of having bake sales with home made goods.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Alan and USA - YES!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Wondering, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Apr 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm

How do the commercial enterprises - restaurants, eateries, etc. that you promote pay you back?

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Wondering, Most things - such as Bianchini's and Girl Scouts, with hopefully a read and better still, a laugh. For events, openings, etc, media sometimes get invited to report on these. If it has value to readers, and inspires me, I might write about it. I'm especially inspired by people and places that are doing business for more than just the almighty dollar. What inspires you?

 +  Like this comment
Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

USA is a registered user.

Payback from mom & pop restaurants and fruit stands?

I am imagining Laura in the corner of a dark, smoke-filled room where a man in a fedora hat hands her a plain brown envelope containing a handful of grapes.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

USA - you don't skip a beat! (a beet?) But in full disclosure, Embarcadero Media bloggers are not allowed to benefit financially from their posts. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify that.

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