Not all food news is good
Remember when I wrote that some McDonald’s franchises were offering $500 signing bonuses to entice potential workers to join the McDonald’s workforce in Texas? Well, that strategy has hit home.
Last Friday Mary’s Pizza Shack in Boyes Hot Springs had a window sign facing the patio and entrance offering a $200 signing bonus for pizza delivery drivers.
Why is this happening? Local American and immigrant workers leaving town? Going elsewhere for cheaper housing? Finding higher paying jobs elsewhere?
High cost of housing, business rental location increases, and just plain local government obstacles to starting and running food-related businesses are all hurting local restaurants and food purveyors.
Those who pay more have less trouble finding and retaining workers.
Last weekend Lorene Reed and Marc Sloop canceled their Divewalk Café pho pop-up at Rancho Maria Winery’s First Street West tasting room for lack of ticket sales. The reason they are trying to do pop-ups is because they say they got priced out of the old Nicholas Turkey Farms offices.
Lorene says that she is now looking to locate the pho, banh mi sandwiches and crepe business somewhere where rents are apparently cheaper for both businesses and residences
In any case, most Sonoma restaurants are hiring and are a great place to start a career, even driving a delivery truck. You can assume that those that have low turnover of employees probably pay better and treat staff well.
New wines from here to there
Last week we had the pleasure of a fabulously informative tour and dinner at Fred Cline’s Green String Farm on Adobe Road just around the corner from Frates Road outside Petaluma.
Fred and Nancy Cline own this ranch and several others around northern California, including one near Red Bluff where they grow cattle and the original family vineyard near Oakley. Fred Cline’s mother was a Jacuzzi. This writer spent my high school years living next to his cousin, Kenny Jacuzzi, for whose ailments Kenny’s father and Fred’s uncle got the bright idea for a bathtub pump to relieve Kenny’s polio pain.
Starting with the $9,000 Fred said he inherited from the Jacuzzi side of his family, the Clines restored the Dillon Beach Resort, the Mizpah Hotel and Tonopah Brewing Company in Tonopah, Nevada, and the Villa Laura in Tuscany, to say nothing of raising a bunch of kids, all successful in their own rights.
Megan Cline works as a “cellar rat” for the winery and its new Farmhouse label, while Hilary toils for Pernod Ricard, having worked their last harvest in New Zealand, learning everything she can from the bottom up.
Fred told the history of his association with renowned grower Bobby Cannard, whose philosophy of growing everything is extremely interesting. Bobby is the son of the late Edna and Bob Cannard. Bob was a one-time Ortho employee, former owner of the property where the General’s Daughter and Ramekins are today and the barn in back, and a historian and auctioneer with strong opinions on everything that went on in Sonoma and the world.
For years Bobby has been growing vegetables for Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, and helped introduce Clines’ use of sheep to “mow” weeds in Cline vineyards to avoid using chemicals. Bobby now oversees the farm at Green String and other properties including his own and still grows for Chez Panisse. Several restaurants pick up their orders at the Green String Farm shop right on the property. While there I bought a dozen “just laid today” eggs, available until they run out.