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Kathleen Hill: Ag Academy fundraiser and a new lunch menu at EDK


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Personal note: While we worry about the heat’s effect on wine grapes and flowers in our gardens and how hot we feel here in Sonoma Valley, thousands of people have lost their entire homes in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey’s devastating downpours. Imagine four feet of rain in four days here. Please do whatever you can to help, from prayers to donations. Try houstonfoodbank.org to help with food, water and other supplies.

Amazon completes purchase of Whole Foods

Do we have to drop “Whole Paycheck” from our culinary language now that Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods has closed, complete with threatened or promised reduced prices, depending on your perspective?

Basic foods have been marked down, but will quality stay up?

What will these reductions and national moves mean to other grocery stores and competition?

On Monday I checked the Sonoma Whole Foods and found the following: the organic avocados that are now $1.49 are the small ones. Large organic avocados are $1.99 each. The salmon on sale for $9.99 a pound is farmed Atlantic salmon, which is similarly priced at Safeway. Organic bananas are now 69 cents per pound while 99 cents elsewhere. And the ground beef that was on sale had five percent more fat than the ground beef at regular price.

Meanwhile, according to Eater.com, some people are boycotting Whole Foods because its now parent company, Amazon, refuses to remove its ads from Breitbart.com.

El Dorado Kitchen’s new Local Love lunch menu

Pay attention to this one: EDK just offered a new locals’ prix-fixe lunch menu, available Monday through Thursday, in addition to its regular menu.

The first course entails a choice of Caesar salad or soup, followed by the EDK Burger of all natural Angus beef and fries or a vegetarian risotto with English peas, asparagus, Beech mushrooms, spinach purée and Meyer lemon with truffle oil.

Course three offers a choice of tres leches with fruit salsa, fried peach pie, chocolate torta, coconut tapioca or ice cream or sorbet. Two courses $25, three courses $35. Can’t wait to try this. Reservations at 996-3030. 405 First St. W., Sonoma.

Instacart grocery delivery?

Catering to large grocery stores is a grocery delivery company called Instacart, which will deliver groceries you order from certain stores to your door within one hour. Yes, one hour.

Stores they say will deliver to households in Sonoma Valley include Costco, CVS, Whole Foods and Safeway stores. Minimum order is $10 with a delivery charge of $9.99. With an order of $35 or more, delivery charge drops to $5.99. You order through the Instacart app.

Sonoma County Fermentation Festival

As a fundraiser for the Sebastopol Grange Hall, the Petaluma community will present its ever-growing Fermentation Festival to celebrate all things fermented on Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Petaluma Fairgrounds. Bring a cooler bag in case you buy your favorites.

They will have a libation lounge where they will serve alcohol such as cider, beer, mead and wine from small producers such as HenHouse Brewing, Almanac Beer Co., Tilted Shed Ciderworks, Old World Winey and more.

Craft spirits are a huge trend and often better than those mass produced.

Attend classes on making kimchi, water kefir, flatbreads, fire cider, Asian nukazuke pickles and enjoy fermented and probiotic root beer floats with Triple Root Beer from the Kefiry, non-dairy and dairy ice cream from Coconut Bliss and Straus for the vanilla ice cream. All proceeds of root beer float sales go directly into to donation pot for the Sebastopol Grange Hall.

Generosity pure and simple

Apparently Carol and Sam Morphy unexpectedly delivered more than 20 Red Grape pizzas to the volunteer crew working hard to set up the everything for last Saturday’s Red & White Ball, according to Sallie Kyle Moore.

Marin French Cheese annual summer picnic

Take a picnic, blanket, chair or whatever you want out to Marin French Cheese for a lazy afternoon on their vast lawns and next to the pond on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Taste loads of cheeses and other foods including Laura Chenel’s goat cheeses, Marin French cheeses, Nicasio Valley Cheese, and many more from the California Artisan Cheese Guild, plus samples from Petaluma Coffee Co., Tea & Trumpets, Three Twins ice cream, Bonnie Bee & Company, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Fabrique Délices, Saint Benoit Creamery, Sonoma Harvest, DGLangley Farms, McEvoy Ranch, L’Appart Pesto, Farm Chocolate, Angelo’s meats, Orchard Choice fig growers, and the Fig Rig. And there will be a display of my Kathleen Hill Culinary Collection.

Fig Rig owner Sondra Bernstein and I were both installed as Compagnons of France’s Guilde Internationale Des Fromagers, during a ceremony two years ago at Marin French Cheese, where I serve as Culinary Historian.

This is tasty and loads of fun, and cooler than Sonoma. Go west out D Street in Petaluma and keep going till you get there. Wine, beer, and food available for purchase. $20, children 12 and under free. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Agriculture Boosters dinner and auction

Do not miss this bargain fundraiser to support the new Agriculture Academy at Sonoma Valley High School where students study agriculture, leadership and citizenship.

As you know, much of farming has gone corporate, labor is hard to find in many food-related fields, and natural disasters such as recent droughts and floods have endangered crops.

We badly need a new generation of enthusiastic and well educated farmers who are passionate about growing food sustainably and feeding people. And we have a whole crop of them at Sonoma Valley High School.

If you would like to find out more and support the new Sustainable Agriculture Academy at the High School, join in the little fundraiser at Hydeout Ranch on Hyde Road on Saturday, Sept. 9 for oysters paired with your favorite beer or wine, followed by a tri-tip barbecue and live auction.

All students in the Sustainable Agriculture Academy become members of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and have the opportunity to raise livestock, work the high school vineyard and produce gardens, go on field trips and job shadowing. Last year’s field trips included Chico State, Butte College, New Clairvauz, Benziger, Bartholomew Park, SRJC and Shone Farm.

In the 10th grade they focus on plant systems management through ag biology and world history, 11th grade is viticulture with soil chemistry, U.S. history and world languages, and in the 12th grade they emphasize ag business and marketing through English and civics and economics.

Community members of the Sustainable Agriculture Academy board include chair Pat Stornetta, Tony Passantino, Ken Wornick, Ron Lawson, Andrea Davis-Cetina, Kevin Sea, Christine Neles, Jeffrey Landoit, Ross Cannard, Austin Lely, Courtney Berger, Maureen Cottingham, Tom Angstadt and myself. Directors and teachers include Aaron Gildengorin, Felicia Rus, Karling Skoglund, Dan Aschwanden and Wendy Swanson.

Great dinner, great setting and great price of $45 on up. All tickets include two drink tickets, and a table of eight for $400 includes two bottles of wine. 5:30 p.m. oysters; 6:30 tri-tip barbecue. 20680 Hyde Road, Sonoma. Reserve at tinyurl.com/17AgBoosterDinner.

Umbria Glen Ellen’s new menu

Just got Giulio Tempesta’s Umbria Glen Ellen menu hot of the press. Apparently Tempesta is re-creating his Umbria San Francisco in the Jack London Lodge in Glen Ellen, and friends who dined fairly often at his San Francisco restaurant say they really enjoyed it.

Can’t wait to try the calamari fritti, truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, and garlic or truffle fries. Salads range from Caesar (available in half portion), a kale Caesar, Caprese, spinach or panzanella.

Expect the Jack London Burger with grilled onions, mushrooms tomato and cheddar cheese, the Larry Baer Burger with all of the above, choice or cheese, local organic beef, and named for the San Francisco Giants’ CEO.

Panini range from vegetarian to porchetta or housemade beef and pork meatballs, and you can choose among 10 pastas such as Da Mayor’s (Willie Brown) Special of half eggplant Parmigiana and half lasagna al forno. There are also chicken breast and fish specials, with everything under $20. Corkage fee $15 per bottle, waived for every full bottle ordered.

For now Chef Tempesta is serving in the saloon and on the patio while the dining room is being redecorated. Reservations at 996-4401. Umbriaglenellen.com.