Local Foodies Celebrate Farm-to-Table Spirit

Edible Monterey Bay magazine launches its Spring edition
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Local food enthusiasts gathered this week at San Benito County’s own Suncoast Organic Farm & Bakery on Southside Road to celebrate the launch of Edible Monterey Bay magazine's Spring edition. Hosted by Slow Food San Benito Bounty, the event was standing room only at the small bakery, which has a growing cult following.

San Benito Bounty Co-Chair Ann Fata was thrilled with the turnout. "It was amazing. We were really happy to see that many people come out on a Tuesday night," Fata said. "We saw that (Suncoast co-owner Lisa Jensen) was a perfect fit for Slow Food the first time we heard about her bakery. She has educated us immensely on the different types of flour and grains." Jensen grinds her own grains for the pastries and breads she makes, and sources them from local, organic farms. Open on Friday and Saturdays to the public, the bakery serves its own baked goods, as well as fresh coffee on a patio with breathtaking views. They have plans to open a brew pub later this year. 

"We're really trying to promote the beauty of cooking and sourcing food locally, as well as trying new things," Fata said. "They are a great example of sourcing local ingredients and they grow much of it right there on their farm: olives, fruits, vegetables. It's a pretty cool, all-encompassing farm." Slow Food San Benito Bounty has about 300 followers and works to promote and celebrate foods grown in San Benito County. Fata traveled to Italy last year representing San Benito County at the International Slow Food conference. 

Edible Monterey Bay Publisher Sarah Wood credits San Benito County with much of the Central Coast's foodie street credit. 

"I think the local food scene in San Benito County is really exciting! The county produces most of our region's pastured meats and a huge diversity of organic produce, as well as delicious wine and olive oil. And great chefs keep opening up, like Lisa at Suncoast Organic Farm's bakery, and Mike Fisher of Mike Fisher's Deli. The Monterey Bay foodshed would not be what it is without San Benito County!" Wood said.

“One of the great things about the delicious food served at this event was that it really represented the bounty of this area: beef, pork, dairy products, vegetables, fruit, and olive oil were donated from family-run businesses in Panoche Valley, Tres Pinos, south San Benito County, San Juan Bautista, Hollister, and north Salinas.  How lucky are we to live here?” said Karminder Brown, co-chair of San Benito Bounty. 

Jensen and her husband, David, founded the bakery in 2011 and have been going strong ever since.

“The transition from Bay Area Farmers Markets to opening here at the farm has been a smooth transition.  The expansion of beer and wine seem to be a welcome addition and we look forward to adding fresh pasta to the lineup in 2016 as well,” Jensen said.  “We are all about our community and promoting our wonderful San Benito County Farmers.  We really want to be true to the ‘farm to table’ movement.  I was so appreciative and impressed with the local Slow Food chapter and proud to be a part of their amazing message.”

Tuesday's event was attended by about 200 people.

Edible Monterey Bay features articles and photographs of the Central Coast food scene and is one of more than 70 magazines in the award-winning Edible Communities family.  The Edibles span North America, but each is locally owned and run.

"At Edible Monterey Bay, our mission is to celebrate the local food cultures of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties, season by season," Wood says on the website. "We believe in sustainability, and that everyone has a right to healthful, clean and affordable food. We think knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing, and we hope our magazine, website and events will inspire readers to get to know and support our local growers, fishers, chefs, vintners and food artisans."

Donors to Tuesday's event included: Hain Ranch Organics, Heirloom Organic Gardens, Morris Grassfed, Peterson Land & Cattle Company, Schoch Family Farmstead and Your Family Farm. To learn more about Slow Food San Benito Bounty, visit their Facebook Page here or e-mail [email protected] 

Note: Karminder Brown, co-chair of San Benito Bounty, is on the BenitoLink Board of Directors. Julie Morris was executive director of Vision San Benito and was also a founding board member of BenitoLink. She and her husband, Joe, own and operate Morris Grassfed.



Julie Finigan Morris

Julie Finigan Morris is a journalist and business owner. She has worked as staff writer for several news organizations, including Thomson Newspapers in Washington D.C., McClatchy Newspapers and Scripps News Service. She is also the Co-Founder and Owner of Morris Grassfed and has lived in San Benito County for more than 25 years. Morris has also worked in corporate communications, marketing, and the non-profit sector. She is a founding board member of BenitoLink and currently serves on its Editorial Committee. She recently published her first novel, Exit Strategy. Visit her online at