- Category: Blog
- Hits: 51
Written by Natasha Bourlin
Cresting the Sierra from any direction, Elysian fields carpet a valley encircled by staggering, craggy alpine peaks.
Within this agriculturally driven valley resides a multitude of charming shops and eateries proudly proffering locally sourced products with a smile.
Aerial view of the Carson Valley. Photo by Ewasko
Restaurants reside in historic structures, while quaint bars invite stories to be told over spirits distilled nearby. Hundreds of years of history here still feel palpable and remain quite explorable.
This Xanadu of sorts is the exquisite Carson Valley.
About a 45-minute drive from Reno or 20 minutes from South Lake Tahoe, Carson Valley is a showpiece for the stunning geographical beauty found in Northern Nevada. Prevalent mountain springs coursing down from Lake Tahoe have long fed the valley’s abundant farms and ranches.
Today, thanks to its lengthy history and vast agricultural acreage, Carson Valley beckons culinary adventurers interested in exploring local fare.
Supporting Local Food Producers
The Pink House in Genoa, a Gothic Revival property built in 1855 that now lives on the National Register of Historic Places, serves house-made, seasonal menu items that incorporate many regional ingredients. The shop sells products from area food producers such as Mary’s Gone Crackers, Hyde’s Herbs, and Z Bee’s Honey. House cocktails feature Frey Ranch and Bently Heritage Estate Distillery products.
Charcuterie at The Pink House in Genoa. Photo by Digiman Studios
The Pink House’s Genoa neighbor, Sierra Chef, is a definitive destination for locavores. This epicurean haven serves as a culinary center, Italian bakery, and gourmet market that prepares to-go dishes such as its Italian delicacies made with beef from area ranches. Gelato also is made in house and now a sought-after sweet. Espresso is poured over the fresh gelato to make its specialty, the Affagato Espresso.
“We make our own everything!” says Cynthia Ferris-Bennett, owner of Sierra Chef, explaining that this provides the business with its own level of quality control.
Private cooking classes also can be booked with Ferris-Bennett.
Sierra Chef bakery case
Nearby in Gardnerville, Overland Restaurant and Pub commemorates the Basque pioneers who settled in the Carson Valley and their gastronomic culture. Alongside Overland’s Basque shrimp and chorizo dishes, its menu boasts delectable pub food such as fish and chips and beer-battered cheese curds, plus handmade pastas, burgers, sandwiches, and more. Ingredients used often are sourced from the area, a mission for the pub’s proprietors. A full bar serving local brews and spirits rounds out the Overland experience.
Brennan Best, marketing director for Reno Local Food Group, of which the Overland Restaurant and Pub is part, says the valley’s history was an alluring factor for RLFG partner Mark Estee.
Overland Restaurant and Pub in Gardnerville. Photo by Bobby Talley
“Mark was immediately drawn to the Overland because … he loved the old-time feel and history of the building, and that it was in a small town full of history itself,” Best says. “From there we couldn’'t pass up being even closer to a ton of our local producers (Bently Heritage, Borda Ranch, and Jacobs Berries, to name a few)!”
Nearby, Jacobs Family Berry Farm tantalizes local food lovers with scrumptious berries grown on its historic Lampe Homestead farm.
Jack and Diana Jacobs make farm-fresh jams and syrups from their juicy, organic raspberries and blackberries, and bottle honey produced by bees that pollinate the plants. Berry fans can pick up orders and products at the Gardnerville farm seasonally, which also serves as a spectacular backdrop for weddings and events.
Fresh berries picked at Jacobs Family Berry Farm
Exploring Makes You Thirsty
In neighboring Minden, Bently Heritage Estate Distillery crafts countless gallons of world-class, estate-grown spirits found in many bars and restaurants throughout the region. A rarity in the liquor industry, its spirits’ vital components largely are grown on the Bently estate, or foraged for in the surrounding hills and forests.
Products such as gin evoke the valley’s picturesque landscape. Imbibers often feel as if they’re blissfully sipping on their surroundings.
It’s not hard to find Bently’s well-loved libations such as Juniper Grove Gin, Single-Estate Source One Vodka, and Hecate Coffee or Cacao liquors around the area.
For a pick-me-up in Minden, head to Coffee on Main, a family-owned shop that serves a multitude of coffee drinks made from organic, locally roasted Alpen Sierra coffee, alongside other area products.
Coffee and scones from Coffee on Main. Photo by Digiman Studio
Valley visitors can’t miss the Genoa Bar, lovingly dubbed “Nevada's Oldest Thirst Parlor.” It’s a must. Here, spirits may be sipped while spirits of a different sort hover. The bar’s structure was built in 1853 and legend has it some of the regulars never left…
Aside from pouring exceptional local liquors from its full bar, the historic saloon has served as a movie set multiple times, plus hosted renowned guests ranging from Mark Twain and Willie Nelson to Raquel Welch (who left some underthings to remember her by).
The Carson Valley is so enticing, an overnighter may be in order.
For a fully experiential excursion, choose from several welcoming properties, such as the Carson Valley Inn or Holiday Inn Express. In Genoa, the soothing natural hot springs found at David Walley’s Resort are yet another incredible local offering.
Picturesque Carson Valley. Photo by Ewasko
Carson Valley is an agricultural paradise right in Reno-Tahoe residents’ backyards. Explore all of its offerings and take a step back in time for the day, or make a weekend of it.
Memories formed here will create tales to share for a lifetime.
Throughout the pandemic, the safety and health of their customers has been of the utmost priority for Carson Valley businesses. Calling ahead for reservations or to confirm when the establishments are open is advised at this time.
- Category: Blog
- Hits: 139
ER at McCarran NW, an extension of Northern Nevada Medical Center, now open
Written by Jamii Uboldi, APR, Director, Marketing & Communications, Northern Nevada Medical Center & Group
To meet the needs of the growing community, Northern Nevada Medical Center has opened a freestanding emergency department (FED), or ER, at McCarran NW. Located at 10290 N. McCarran Blvd. in Reno, next to Staples and Discount Tire. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 10,884-square-foot facility will primarily serve walk-in patients and is supported by local EMS provider REMSA.
"Our new facility expands access to care and provides a convenient option when seeking emergency services," says Helen Lidholm, CEO of Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks. "The FED will treat the same types of emergencies as a hospital emergency department, and we anticipate low wait times."
The facility is staffed with board-certified physicians and emergency-trained nurses. Additionally, there on-site laboratory services and diagnostic imaging, including CT, X-Ray, and ultrasound, are available.
The new FED is equipped with CT scan equipment
On-site laboratory services are available
What to Expect from the ER at McCarran NW
This FED provides treatment for serious, sometimes life-threatening emergency medical conditions, including abdominal pain, chest pain, respiratory distress, broken bones or dislocated joints, serious infections, injuries, stroke symptoms, and more. Patients of all ages, from infants to seniors, are welcome for treatment. Additionally, a pediatric treatment room helps little ones feel at ease. Critically ill patients also are able to be treated and stabilized, and if hospital admission is warranted, the patient will be transferred to the hospital.
The pediatric treatment room at the new FED
For patient convenience, current wait times are available by visiting nnmc.com.
Short wait times are common, and many times patients are immediately placed in treatment areas.
"This is a unique facility for our community in that it operates within and is held to the same quality standards as our hospital emergency department in Sparks," says Travis Anderson, MD, ER Medical Director at NNMC. "During COVID-19, patients have expressed concern about using health care services. We want patients to know they can continue to safely receive care at either of our ER locations."
COVID-19 protections in place
The same protocols as our hospital in Sparks are in place at the FED. This includes thorough cleaning in between each patient, requiring anyone who enters the building to wear a face covering, screening prior to entering the building, and social distancing in all sitting areas and hallways.
To learn more, visit nnmc.com/mccarran.
- Parent Category: Blog
- Category: Farmers
- Hits: 257
Reno Garlic Festival goes online with free year-long course.
Written by Claire McArthur
Photos courtesy of Reno Food Systems
Though the much-loved Reno Garlic Festival was cancelled this summer due to the pandemic, the event organizers want to make sure there is no shortage of garlic-fueled fun in your future.
A garlic bulb ready to be harvested. Photo by Rachelle Le Rude
This October, Reno Food Systems and Be the Change Project kicked off a year-long online (and free!) course teaching Reno-Tahoe gardeners of all skill levels everything they need to know about planting garlic this fall for a hearty summer harvest.
In just three years, the festival had succeeded in its mission to support local garlic growers and build a community of garlic enthusiasts — the 2019 festival attracted nearly 4,000 attendees — but the organizations still wanted to find new ways to inspire more people to grow garlic at home.
“We just hadn’t gotten there yet,” explains Jolene Cook, board member of Reno Food Systems. “We were glad to hear from the garlic growers who usually depend on our festival that much of their crop was pre-sold due to supply chain disruption in China, which supplies 75 percent of the world’s garlic, as well as the continued recognition of the importance of local farmers. So we turned our one-day, in-person event into a year-long learning opportunity.”
The online-based course, A Year in Garlic, will provide new articles and videos each month from Reno Garlic Fest vendors on the user-friendly, community-based platform Mighty Networks.
“October’s lesson is all about learning how to make your bed. A lot of people who have signed up for the course already said they’ve tried to grow garlic and it’s been really puny and hasn’t worked out,” Cook says. “Garlic grows really well in Nevada, but the number one thing is you’ve got to have really good soil — fertile, soft, organic-matter-rich soil.”
On the first of each month, new content that is topical in terms of what needs to be done to your garlic crop during that period will be posted, and throughout the month, video tutorials, recipes, and community-engagement opportunities will be highlighted. Preparing your garden bed for garlic is October’s theme, and the content can be viewed whenever you’d like, as often as you’d like.
Throughout the year, participants will learn about all different topics pertaining to garlic, from composting with Full Circle Compost and Down to Earth Composting to garlic braiding with Katy Chandler-Isacksen from Be the Change Project.
Katy Chandler of Be the Change Project. Photo by Ben Lazar
Cary Yamamoto of Yamamoto Farms, Lyndsey Langsdale of Reno Food Systems, Charles Schembre of Desert Farming Initiative, and Earstin Whitten of Soulful Seeds are also slated as instructors during the 12-month course.
Earstin Whitten of Soulful Seeds. Photo by Rachelle LeRude
During the winter months, when the garlic growing process is hands-off, participants will discover fun ways to use garlic in their kitchen, including a highly anticipated garlic doughnut recipe from Fausta Apambire of MwintSoph Enterprises.
Once signed up for the course, participants also will have the opportunity to win garlic-themed prizes. Five lucky winners will take home a Be the Change Project garlic braid; 10 registrants will be offered “farmer mentors” who will come to their houses three to four times over the year for personalized, COVID-compliant garlic-growing consultations; and 30 more will receive a few heads of locally grown garlic seed and compost from Full Circle. A beautiful container from Moana Nursery pre-planted with garlic also is up for grabs.
NDA funds purchased Arnold’s Acres Garlic to give away to 30 participants
enrolled in the A Year in Garlic course. Photo by Ben Lazar
The Reno Garlic Festival, funded by the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, has grown each year since its inaugural event in 2017. And with a tentative 2021 date of July 31, it will be back at a new location, Dick Taylor Park, to accommodate that growth.
“It’s something to look forward to for next year, and if it can’t happen how it used to, we’ll come up with a new way to continue to engage our community’s love of garlic!” Cook adds.
To sign up for A Year in Garlic, visit Growingnv.mn.co/all-courses.
- Category: Blog
- Hits: 843
How Raley’s O-N-E Market in Truckee is revolutionizing grocery shopping
Written by Natasha Bourlin
Photos by Connie Saint
Have you ever wished a grocery store could help you on your wellness journey? This nearly mythical scenario is now the norm at the new Raley’s O-N-E Market in Truckee.
A first-of-its-kind store for the notable grocery chain, the acronym in its moniker stands for “Organics – Nutrition – Education,” the three brand pillars on which the market concept was structured. Shelves and bins are stocked with highly curated products, all of which are fresh, nutritious, organic when possible, minimally processed, and sustainably sourced.
But the market also uses education to help customers make more informed decisions while shopping. Scott Brown, a registered dietitian and the store’s nutrition adviser, is an on-site expert who guides customers toward the best choices for them.
Raley’s O-N-E Market has elevated simple grocery shopping into a highly personalized, nourishment-seeking experience.
This store blends meticulously researched food standards, high-quality organic ingredients, on-staff educators, and bold, informative signage for area customers’ healthy shopping ease.
Long in creation, the living “banned ingredients list” is the filtration system Raley’s O-N-E Market uses to make sure offerings are free from nutritionally undesirable ingredients such as hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, and artificial flavorings.
To create this list, Raley’s corporate team members, such as Nutrition Strategist and Brand Influencer Yvette Waters, a registered dietitian — and University of Nevada, Reno grad — identified attributes to exclude in the product-sourcing process through extensive research, resulting in careful and methodical product curation.
For instance, they researched what Canada and the European Union were doing as their organic standards tend to be higher than those in the U.S. Customer perception, research, and legislation also were factors taken into consideration.
“I’m proud to say our list is more stringent than most,” Waters says. “It’s a progressive list.”
It will be re-analyzed yearly to keep it relevant and altered to accommodate new research, adding and removing ingredients as needed.
Thanks to this list, everything in the entire store is considered “clean label.”
From deli items and pet food to goods from the bakery or prepared foods counter, all offerings have strict standards they must meet before customers lay eyes on them. For instance, seafood is wild caught, responsibly farmed, and third-party-certified sustainable, while all meats are antibiotic free and contain no added hormones, nitrates, or nitrites.
The meat and seafood case at O-N-E Market
When questions arise, Scott Brown is there to engage and educate using his expansive nutritional knowledge. Brown is available for store tours, signage explanations, and answers based on his expertise in nutrition and wellness.
He also teaches his team how to be a resource for shoppers, especially when they ask for items such as traditional soft drinks and popular snack brands, which the store doesn’t sell but offers plenty of alternatives for.
If Raley’s O-N-E Market guests have questions they’d like to research on their own, they can visit the Something Extra Health kiosk and use a software tool called Aisle7, which is evidence based, with educational resources available in real time. The digital kiosk shares the most up-to-date news, blogs, research, and nutrition education, along with abundant information on vitamins and supplements.
For example, if a customer were prescribed statins but isn’t sure about food or supplement interactions, he or she is able to look up adverse statin interactions and avoid selecting those products.
Curious about new vitamin C research? Type in “Vitamin C” and get up-to-the-minute updates.
“It’s a new model for what a grocery store looks like, the first of its kind … it’s really cool to see that there are plenty of options that are not only delicious but also better for us,” Brown says. “I’d definitely like to build a strong relationship with the Truckee-Tahoe region and serve as a resource for everyone … to be the new normal for what a grocery store looks like, but more importantly to do everything we can to improve the health of the community.”
A Flagship in Truckee
“Retail is crucial in the area of preventative health,” Waters says.
After years of planning and effort, Raley’s O-N-E Market came to fruition in the small mountain town.
Raley’s owner, Mike Teel, runs a purpose- and vision-driven company. Both Brown and Waters are inspired daily by his corporate vision of “infusing life with health and happiness by changing the way the world eats one plate at a time.”
Teel’s wife, Julie, grew up in the Tahoe area, so the community remains near and dear to her heart. The Teels wanted to provide something that this area, with its abundant health-conscious residents and athletes, didn’t already have.
“Once upon a time, the market used to serve as a hub of the community, the only place you can go and get your food, and in my heart, I truly believe your food is your nourishment,” Brown states. “So if this is where you’re getting your nourishment, you’re getting what you’re coming for, but also taking away a piece of info that is going to impact your health.”
A Place to Gather
More than a grocery store, the McKinney Loft in Raley’s O-N-E Market is a place for people to meet or a spot to relax and get some work done over healthy, delicious foods and brews. With three fireplaces, an outdoor patio, and power outlets everywhere, the loft was created as an aesthetically pleasing alpine escape for the community.
At the Raley’s O-N-E Market Café, visitors can nosh on wholesome snacks, enjoy coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, or sip on plenty of organic options, including freshly pressed juices, smoothies, and kombucha.
The staff also loves working with locals.
When working with regional vendors, farmers, ranchers, and food producers, this store has a two-pronged approach. Should area foodstuffs its managers would like to sell not meet Raley’s strict standards, the store team works with the producers to get those items to the desired level.
When seeking merchandise such as Tahoe stickers and gear, Brown also has done his due diligence as an ambassador to area vendors looking for outlets in which to sell their wares.
Eventually, on its quest to ingrain itself more into the community as a positive resource, the market’s team plans to provide cooking classes, educational sessions, biometric screenings, and more as a part of the new Something Extra Health program.
This first-ever store is the realization of the path that Raley’s wants to follow. The Sacramento-based company is on a health and wellness journey as a whole, and its leadership team wants to open more stores similar to the pioneering Truckee market.
“So far it’s been a raging, awesome success,” Waters says with a grin.
For more information on Raley’s O-N-E Market, visit Raleys.com/truckee.
- Category: Blog
- Hits: 693
Written by Claire McArthur
With balmy summer temperatures and social distancing still hanging around, it’s an ideal time to dine al fresco in Reno-Tahoe. From lakefront piers to cozy flora-filled patios, enjoy a range of cuisines while reveling in the fact that you’re finally not the one cooking! Here, we’ve rounded up some can’t-miss spots for dining outdoors in our area.
But most importantly, don’t forget to show your support, whether monetarily or with kind words, for the industry that’s been hit so hard by our current circumstances.
West Shore Café and Inn
West Shore Café and Inn offers outdoor seating on their patio, pier and even delivery to your boat in the buoy field.
Photo courtesy of West Shore Café and Inn
At West Shore Café, dine on elevated California cuisine from a gorgeous lakefront patio and pier, indulging in house-made burrata with grilled peaches and lavender truffle honey, or a local wagyu beef burger with white cheddar and black garlic aioli. If you arrive by boat, tie off to a buoy and call in your order, and it will be delivered to you by a boat valet!
West Shore Café and Inn
5160 W. Lake Blvd., Homewood
530-525-5200 • Westshorecafe.com
Alibi Ale Works Truckee Public House
Pair delicious Alibi Ale Works brews with creative, beer-inspired dishes at the brewery’s Truckee-based beer garden. At long picnic tables reminiscent of the original German biergartens, nosh on a Dark Saison-braised pork belly “BLT” with fried green tomato, red leaf lettuce, chimichurri sauce, and pimento-lime aioli, or dip your Truckee Sourdough pretzel into Alibi’s house-made beer mustard or cheese sauce. Prost!
Alibi Ale Works – Truckee Public House
10069 Bridge St., Truckee
530-536-5029 • Alibialeworks.com/truckee-public-house.html
Wild River Grille
Nestled on the banks of the Truckee River in Downtown Reno, the aptly named Wild River Grille offers an eclectic menu accompanied by tranquil waterfront views. Enjoy lobster mac ’n’ cheese, plum chipotle salmon, or sautéed elk medallions with hand-foraged Sierra mushrooms. Wash your meal down with one of the many freshly squeezed lemonades available — from peach-flavored to pomegranate — or perhaps something stronger, such as The Biggest Little City Citrus Sidecar.
Wild River Grille
17 S. Virginia St., Ste. 180, Reno
775-284-7455 • Wildrivergrille.com
Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe
Take in unimpeded views of Big Blue from the patio at Edgewood Tahoe’s mountain-chic Bistro. The restaurant serves up a diverse roster of fine-dining dishes, from roasted bone marrow and fig-prosciutto flatbread to yellow curry stew and Chilean seabass — each with the Bistro’s signature high-end flair. A walk on the beach is the perfect way to cap the al fresco experience.
Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe Resort
180 Lake Pkwy., Stateline
888-769-1924 • Edgewoodtahoe.com/dine-imbibe
The Stone House Café
Bursting with colorful flowers, topiaries, and trees adorned with twinkly lights, the patio at The Stone House Café is the perfect garden escape for diners. Fittingly, the stone structure was one of Reno’s first businesses when it opened as a nursery with more than 80 varieties of roses, berries, and trees back in 1876. With lengthy, creative menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the neighborhood café has something for every palate.
The Stone House Café
1907 S. Arlington Ave., Reno
775-284-3895 • Stonehousecafereno.com
Great Basin Brewing Co.
Nevada’s oldest currently operating brewery cranks out more than award-winning beers. At the Sparks location in Victorian Square, sip on an Icky IPA between bites of ale-battered, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers; milk stout-braised lamb shepherd’s pie; or a charbroiled patty melt on house-made beer bread. It’s the perfect spot to post up on a late summer afternoon.
Great Basin Brewing Co.
846 Victorian Ave., Sparks
775-355-7711 • Greatbasinbrewingco.com
Sit beneath The Union’s outdoor pergola, taking in the happenings on Carson Street in Carson City, while making the difficult decision of whether to order pizza, pasta, or a burger — but with a twist. The Union’s smoked-pork-baked fusilli includes handmade pasta and is topped with a kettle chip crunch, and the 72-hour fermented pizza crusts are layered with high-quality meat and mozzarella. Meanwhile, the burgers — made with a blend of ground beef chuck and short ribs — have unique flavor profiles, such as Cajun and bánh mì. Top it all off with a local craft beer or one of The Union’s own house brews.
302 N. Carson St., Carson City
775-885-7307 • Theunioncarson.com
Lone Eagle Grille
For elevated new American cuisine coupled with beautiful North Shore Lake Tahoe views, head to the Lone Eagle Grille in Incline Village. As the sun sets over the water, cut into perfectly seared duck breast atop farro risotto, English peas, summer squash, pickled Granny Smith apples, and smoked jus or opt for the grilled king salmon roulade with Dungeness crab salad, grilled lemon, and caper beurre blanc. As the temperature dips in the evening, enjoy a nightcap around one of the grille’s outdoor fire pits.
Lone Eagle Grille
111 Country Club Drive, Incline Village
775-886-6899 • Loneeaglegrille.com
- Category: Blog
- Hits: 419
Local woman documents the Nevada vine story
Written by Kymberly Drake
In recent years, Nevada’s winemaking industry has gone from being the experimental hobby of a few adventuresome hobbyists to a thriving industry whose practitioners — from passionate grape growers to winemakers producing and selling award-winning vintages in tasting rooms — increase in number almost daily.
In fact, the captivating history behind this industry in Nevada, as well as stories about the events and dynamic people working in the state’s burgeoning winemaking industry are told in an online winemaking trade publication called Grape Basin News, The Journal of Nevada Wine Producers.
The journal’s publisher, Samantha Stone, started the publication after the Nevada State Legislature lifted a ban on wineries in Washoe and Clark counties in 2015. That year, the Northern Nevada wine community lobbied hard to remove a ban on commercial tasting rooms in both counties.
As a legislative reporter who hailed from Napa Valley, Stone took a deep personal interest in Nevada’s wine industry.
“I was covering the legislative hearings in 2015 and thought, ‘I’m the only reporter in the room. Where is the interest in this topic? There are no newspaper or TV reporters here to tell the story about what is happening in the local wine community,’” Stone recalls. “That’s when I decided to start an online trade publication to journal the activities of these Nevada wine pioneers.”
Uncorking the industry
Stone says as soon as the ban was lifted, hobbyists and professional winemakers initiated plans to open wineries.
“I watched people gear up for a year after the law passed,” she says. “I kept track of their progress and documented what they were doing. That is when I decided to launch the publication.”
According to Stone, winery owners struggled to find properties and get licensing at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels.
“I have certainly learned a lot and have found it interesting how there is a hybrid of business and the law in this local industry, and how this segment deals with the law,” Stone says. “A great deal of the content of Grape Basin News is focused on the struggles the businesses have had getting up and running and pioneering a burgeoning industry. It’s not easy. It’s a tough road. There are trials and tribulations related to learning how to deal with regulations. The journal is for and about the wine community in Nevada and helping them to chart their path.”
You can read Grape Basin News, a free publication, at Grapebasinnews.com.
Kymberly Drake is a Reno-based freelance writer with endless curiosity about food and drink and the sources that help bring it to our tables.
- Parent Category: Blog
- Category: Farmers
- Hits: 1770
Local Food Week Event Raises Awareness About Area Farmers and Food Producers
Written by Natasha Bourlin
Photos courtesy of Growing NV
Now in its second year, Growing NV local food week is back to connect area folks to the foods cultivated and crafted in their backyards. With mostly virtual events happening from Sun., Aug. 9 through Sat., Aug. 15, more than 50 regional organizations, from farms and restaurants to nonprofits and food producers, are participating.
Led by event founder and local food advocate Jolene Cook, the weeklong celebration of whole, healthy foods will help teach food lovers where their non-processed nourishment really comes from. Taking place the week before school begins, events were created to reach a wide breadth of age ranges and community segments.
“My inspiration comes from being a local food enthusiast,” Cook says. “That’s my secret. I really care about eating healthy. And with local food, it’s so easy to do that.”
Her husband, Steve Cook, partner in Reno’s NEON Agency, a marketing and advertising business, had attended a local food week in Ontario and, afterward, prompted his wife to create one of her own. So she reached out to a multitude of food-industry organizations to help build this event-based spotlight on healthy eating and the many locals who make that possible for everyone.
She was an ideal candidate for such a task. Cook currently serves as board president for Reno Food Systems, a nonprofit whose mission is “cultivating community-based food systems through education, research, and civic engagement.” She’s also a former buyer for the Great Basin Community Food Co-op. She used her involvement in the food industry and knowledge of healthy eating to form a passion project that directly affects the community.
“Everyone had their own struggles and was super busy doing what they were already doing and didn’t really have bandwidth to reach out and connect with other organizations and make things easier on each other, or help each other,” Cook explains. “[I wanted to] help other people raise awareness about what they’re doing and kind of connect it all together … knowing that it’s needed and knowing that I could do that work.”
Local farmers showcased their products during Reno’s inaugural Local Food Week in 2019
She entered the event field not wanting to create more work for the participants, many of whom were already stretched thin. She simply wanted to raise awareness about their work. In Growing NV’s first year, the organization successfully achieved this mission, drawing attention nonprofits such as Soulful Seeds, who increased its volunteer base and attention to its efforts after hosting a day on its farm in 2019.
During this time of COVID-19, nonprofits constantly are having to pivot, with their programs and various events getting stymied by new rules and regulations.
“It’s important to me to make the event as accessible as possible,” Cook says.
Cook has put together a roster of events for 2020 that kick off with Sunday is for Sunflowers, Shoots & Sprouts. People of all ages who are interested in learning to grow their own sprouts from seeds can pick up supplies at select businesses in advance, then attend a live Facebook event, which will show them all the steps to get from seed to sprout.
Results from attendees will be documented on Growing NV’s social media channels throughout the week. It provides kids in particular with a tangible way to see where their food comes from.
Other happenings during the week include Workshop Wednesday, which teaches adults how to make fruits and veggies more appetizing to their little ones; Thirsty Thursday, when area mixologists will demonstrate how to concoct cocktails using fresh, local ingredients; and Apothecary Day, in which a local herbalist hosts a ticketed (free) workshop on turning plants from Reno Food System’s Park Farm into treasures.
One of the missions Cook is most excited to launch this week is Money Monday, where people pledge online to spend at least $10 in one week on local foods, creating a direct and trackable economic impact on local food producers, farmers, and retailers. Her goal is to get a minimum of $5,000 in pledges that week.
Anyone participating in the week’s events is entered into a series of drawings, and those who pledge to spend $10 on local food are entered to win a goodie-filled grand prize package.
Growing NV’s overarching goals, however, are to raise awareness about eating healthy and local, to get people away from eating heavily processed foods, and to teach people of all ages and cultures that eating more fruits and veggies is so important. With the largely virtual nature of this event, perhaps people from other areas may also be inspired to explore their own area food systems.
“Farmers know food; if we don’t support them and buy from them, we’re just so disconnected from the larger picture,” Cook says. “But we have an opportunity to slowly but surely plug in, and once you go to a farmers’ market, or buy from a certain farmer, there’s just this special relationship being built that really inspires further development … People want to be connected; it’s just really easy not to be.”
For more information on Growing NV’s local food week, visit Growingnv.com.
- Category: Blog
- Hits: 1066
How managing stress and adopting healthy eating and lifestyle patterns are critical to our minds and bodies
Written by Ashley Johnson
During these difficult times, with their unprecedented challenges and unfamiliar rules, our health and wellbeing should take center stage. The combination of the shift to remote work with less physical activity and the adoption of bad eating patterns is changing our bodies, inside and out.
A recent article in The New York Times takes a deeper look at the role stress plays in our bodies. Not only do stress, traumatic events, and lifestyle changes trigger internal physical changes, but they can cause problems with our gastrointestinal systems and how we digest food.
Mark S. Riddle, M.D., a doctor of public health and associate dean of clinical research at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, explains the different types of stress and how each one affects the GI system.
“GI problems are really common in the population, and stress is a component of those,” he says.
Mark S. Riddle, M.D., associate dean of clinical research, at University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Clinical Research
Stress on the Body
Acute stress, typically identified as the fight or flight mechanism, releases hormones that essentially shut down the stomach and lead to bloating, cramping, and nausea. Alternatively, chronic stress can have similar effects that result not from the release of hormones but from food and liquids that leak from your gut and intestines. This happens when the linings of the intestines become compromised, allowing bacteria to pass through that barrier into the body. Over time, this can lead to inflammation and other GI problems. More importantly, stress can alter our microbiome, or the composition of bacteria and microorganisms in our intestines. Changes in the microbiome affect our immune systems, chronic low-grade inflammation, and bacterial absorption of nutrients, and they can lead to diarrhea, gas, and other gut issues.
“Chronic GI problems are common; we don’t understand exactly the cause of everybody’s problems, but there are treatments out there that can be tried and work for you,” Riddle says.
It’s important to be cognizant of these changes and notice any negative patterns. Emotional eating, or stress eating, caused by overwhelming feelings of uncertainty has increased since quarantine began. Often, people reach for quick and easy solutions, which tend to be junk food. If you notice you are not exercising as much, it’s important to build that into your daily routine. Dr. Riddle suggests using a calendar to set an appointment for a 15-minute walk so that it becomes part of your daily schedule.
“Life is stressful,” he says. “There are stresses in life and that can affect your gut. So do things that will relieve your stress, whatever that may be, whether it’s exercise, yoga … whatever you do that makes you, at the end of the day, feel less stressed.”
Managing stress is important and can prevent chronic health problems. Consistently exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating a well-balanced diet will help your body stay in equilibrium and ultimately affect your health overall.
“There are treatments for chronic GI problems. There are not only nutrition and exercise, but also things like cognitive behavioral therapy or hypnosis even have been shown to treat these chronic GI disorders,” Riddle says.
One tip Riddle recommends is drinking plenty of water. This forces you to get up more often to use the bathroom and move around. It also helps your body process and metabolize nutrients.
“I think what we’re seeing sometimes is people just aren’t doing their normal routines, so they’re not drinking the same amount of water that they usually drink,” he says.
Adopting Healthy Patterns
Caitlin Bus, a registered dietitian at Renown Health Intensive Cardiac Rehab, recommends sticking to an eating schedule in which you only eat when you’re hungry and keep yourself busy with non-food-related activities you enjoy that keep your hands busy without reaching for food.
From left, Caitlin Bus, registered dietitian, provides nutrition counseling to a patient. Photo courtesy of Renown Health
“Whether that’s listening to music, calling up a friend, or just getting outside and getting some fresh air, that can really help,” Bus says.
As more people experiment with new recipes at home and opt for comfort foods, Bus recommends investing that time in trying healthy new recipes. She recommends experimenting with substitutions for butter and sugar commonly found in baked goods recipes.
“One thing I like to use is either mashed banana or applesauce,” Bus said. “These can replace the fat in a recipe. They add moisture and natural sugars without adding refined sugars,” she says.
Substituting refined sugar with natural sugar — such as fruit, honey, or maple syrup — helps to reduce inflammation in the gut. Additionally, sugar alternatives such as stevia, Splenda, or monk fruit are easily accessible and cost effective. In addition to experimenting with new foods and recipes, some people have used quarantine as an opportunity to experiment with new diets such as keto, Sirtfood, paleo, and so on.
“A lot of diets imply that they’re just temporary, and you might see some results initially, but they’re hard to maintain long term,” Bus says. “The best option is to choose a well-balanced eating pattern that encompasses the healthy foods within all food groups.”
Ashley Johnson is a prolific freelance writer based out of Incline Village, with more than 10 years’ experience writing on topics such as health technology, mind and body awareness, and sports innovation.
- Category: Blog
- Hits: 782
Reviving the traditional art of garlic braiding
Written by Heidi Bethel
Walk into nearly any old-school Italian joint and you’ll likely find beautiful braids of garlic adorning the walls. While they are an artful nod to one of the key ingredients in many great dishes, garlic braids serve more than just an aesthetic purpose. Local farmers are busy this time of year crisscrossing long stalks they’ve grown since last fall.
Preserving the Aromatics
Traditionally, garlic braiding has been used to keep garlic fresh longer. With the increased air circulation provided, the shelf life of braided garlic is stretched two to three times that of cloves stored in mesh bags or thrown in a container somewhere in the kitchen.
About three years ago, Christine Rosakranse, co-owner of Bee Here Now Farm in Wadsworth, started garlic braiding after seeing a big demand at the annual Reno Garlic Festival.
“These are beautiful, heirloom creations that you can’t buy at the store,” she notes. “They are a great way to enjoy garlic well into the winter months since some varieties will last up to nine months. You don’t have to worry about funky mold or mildew, or those little black bits that mean it’s gone bad.
“The braids also put off a wonderful smell for anyone really into garlic,” she adds. “They give off the garlicky aroma for months.”
Garlic braids created by Christine Rosakranse at Bee Here Now Farm
Pretty Up a Corner
The technique for garlic braiding can be as simple as a three-section braid typical of little girls’ pigtails or as exquisite as the intricate designs used to lace the dough for challah bread. It’s really up to the braider.
“People can put a lot of work into their pattern or just keep it straightforward,” Rosakranse says. “It’s definitely one of those things that’s a nice, homey look. It’s like when you have a really pretty candle that you never burn, you end up with this beautiful piece of art that adds to your home.”
She goes on to explain that if folks plan to eat the garlic bulbs, it’s important that they are stored correctly … even hanging on the wall. “You’re supposed to keep them somewhere relatively dry and out of the sun. They can really brighten a dark spot in your kitchen without affecting the flavor of the garlic.”
Try Your Hand
For those who want to take up garlic braiding, Rosakranse suggests growing the garlic themselves. She typically plants the bulbs in the fall, garnering longer stalks for braiding in the early summer months. Then she urges braiders to watch videos on YouTube.
Garlic growing at Bee Here Now Farm. Photo by Nick Hill
The fourth annual Reno Garlic Festival that was originally scheduled for July 25 has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. However, event organizers have converted the event to a year-long opportunity for education and inspiration, including the “A Year in Garlic” course that provides insights on growing garlic locally, as well as promotions for free garlic seed. Follow news about the event at https://www.renofoodsystems.org/garlicfest.
Meanwhile, pick up some local garlic at your area farmers’ markets. As Rosakranse says, “They’re a great way to support local farmers and have a nice, usable piece of art in your home for months to come.”
During her youth, Heidi Bethel had a neighbor who absolutely loved garlic and would proudly hang her homegrown braids throughout her kitchen and living room. Bethel remembers the vivid essence of garlic before you even entered the front door.
- Category: Blog
- Hits: 1165
Written by Claire McArthur
We’re living in unprecedented times, but amid all of this chaos and uncertainty, at least one thing remains true: If you plant a seed in the ground, give it sunlight and water, it will grow. More people than ever have turned to growing their food — some for the first time — in the wake of COVID-19. Not only is doing so resourceful, but gardening is an excellent stress reliever and gets people outside while still observing social distancing.
Fisk Farm Herbs, Two Ravens Farm, and Mewaldt Organics are offering sliding-scale discounts for their seedlings.
Photo courtesy of Fisk Farms Herbs
It’s also a great way to support regional farms and nurseries as they navigate these difficult economic times. A number of these businesses across Reno-Tahoe have adapted their business practices to make purchasing seedlings safer this year, so skip the bulk orders from large online retailers, and instead put your dollars back into the local economy.
In response to COVID-19, Moana Nursery launched an online store with curbside pickup at the Moana Lane location and delivery to anywhere in Reno and Sparks. Call the South Virginia Street and Pyramid Lane locations to utilize the personal shopper service for curbside pickup. Moana Nursery also has created various sized “victory garden packages” to get you started on an edible garden, including a phone or Zoom consultation with a gardening expert, vegetable starts based on the conversation, soil, and fertilizer.
Moana Lane Garden Center
1100 W. Moana Lane, Reno
Pyramid Way Garden Center
3397 Pyramid Way, Sparks
South Virginia Street Garden Center
11301 S. Virginia St., Reno
Loping Coyote Farms
Though you can’t browse Loping Coyote Farms’ annual plant sale in person this year, you can flip through the nursery’s online plant catalogue and place orders over the phone or through email. Plant pickup day is May 2 at the north parking lot of Bordertown Casino, located at 19575 US Hwy. 395, Reno.
Old Stone House Gift and Garden
Old Stone House Gift and Garden has curbside pickup and delivery options from its Reno greenhouses. They also offer delivery of gift-wrapped potted plants as a way to send a thoughtful gift to someone you care about but can’t see in person due to social distancing.
1350 Geiger Grade Road, Reno
Reno Food Systems
Reno Food Systems, a nonprofit organization cultivating community-based food systems, has been hosting seedling sales outside at its Park Farm. Five packs of seedlings go for $5, with the sixth plant getting donated to local organizations that help feed people in need, such as Soulful Seeds and Katharina's Garden and Compost Program.
Reno Food Systems has been holding seedlings sales, announced through its social media platforms, at its Park Farm.
Photo courtesy of Reno Food Systems
Future sale dates are not yet set and are based on when the seedlings are ready, so follow along on Facebook or Instagram for updates. To ensure social distancing, a board is used to provide shoppers with a number to text to “get in line” for the sale while they wait in their cars. Reno Food Systems also accepts payment through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
3295 Mayberry Drive, Reno
Great Basin Community Food Co-op
Though Great Basin Community Food Co-op had to cancel its usual in-person seedling sale, seedlings from regional farms are available for sale on the co-op’s website, with curbside pickup. All orders must be placed by 10 p.m. on May 12 for pickup in the parking lot on Fri., May 15 from noon – 3 p.m. or Sat., May 16 from 9 a.m. – noon.
240 Court St., Reno
Greenhouse Garden Center
Call Greenhouse Garden Center to place and pay for an order for curbside pickup or delivery. Delivery fees apply based on location.
2450 S. Curry St., Carson City
Fallon Food Hub
The Fallon Food Hub is doing an online seedling sale with local farmers. Items are available for purchase on the Great Basin Basket Farm Share website, with pickup at Lattin Farms, located at 1955 McLean Road in Fallon.
Fisk Farm Herbs, Two Ravens Farm, and Mewaldt Organics
This trio of Fallon farms has teamed up to deliver vegetable, fruit, medicinal, and culinary herb seedlings to homes in Fallon, Reno, Sparks, and Carson City with a minimum purchase of $40, through the end of April. They also are offering sliding-scale discounts from 10 to 50 percent off. Visit Fisk Farm Herbs’ website and submit your email to get details on how to purchase the seedlings.