Support for Reno's Co-op shoots through the roof.


Act global, drink local at Reno coffeehouse.


Students focus lens on local food movement


Tractors & Truffles showcases Fallon


Longtime Nevadan contributed greatly to community.


Support for Reno’s co-op shoots through the roof.



Front row on knees, from left: Greta De Jong, Laura Fillmore, Kelly Peyton, Laila Murfin, Jana Vanderhaar, and Anita Macek.
Back row standing from left: Harvey Hand, Elias Dechent, Manny Becerra, Amber Sallaberry, Meagan O’Farrell, Lorrie Moore, Nicole Sallabery, Donald Moore, Ernie Baragar, Kevin Porter, and Chris Moore

Amber Sallaberry’s passion and enthusiasm are infectious. She seems about to burst with joy over her new project, and yet takes no personal credit. Instead, she boasts that “the amazing people in Reno making conscious decisions to vote with their dollars for the local economy, sustainability, and healthy foods are the ones expanding our local food co-op.”

In January of 2006, a garage donated by Black Hole Body Piercing near Wells Avenue in Reno served as the first site of the Great Basin Community Food Co-op. At that time it was a small buying club run by Sallaberry and Melissa Nixon. Then the co-op landed at its current location (542½ Plumas St.) in the fall of 2008. Recognizing the community’s desire for an expanded co-op led to the next phase of growth for Sallaberry, her sister Nicole Sallaberry (who now is involved), and their supporters.

“The customers are the owners, and the owners want to get everything in one place,” Sallaberry says. “Everyone wants it to be a one-stop shop.”

After securing close to $430,000 in community-supported loans in a short period (a few months in the spring), including about $60,000 in prepaid annual memberships, the co-op is on the move again. The new location — at the corner of Court and Flint streets in downtown Reno — should be ready in November. It will have not only a marvelous location close to the river in the heart of downtown, but also promises to be the place to go for a wide variety of local, organic, and bulk foods as well as prepared meals.

The three-story, 7,000-square-foot building will have a basement for Northern Nevada’s first regional food hub called DROPP (Distributors of Regional and Organic Produce and Products). This will be a place where farmers can safely store goods in climate-controlled conditions. The ground-floor, 4,000-square-foot retail space will have a hugely expanded bulk department as well as large fresh produce areas, fresh local flowers, and a 10-door refrigerated section that will include bulk cold items as well as fresh meats and fish. There also will be a large frozen section, two grocery aisles, and two checkout counters. This part of the store is where shoppers will find the freshly prepared foods as well. Once the co-op gets the store up and running, members then will turn their attention toward completing a kitchen and café that will feature baked goods, breads, salads, sandwiches, and soups made with local and organic ingredients.

Upstairs on the second floor will be café seating, a balcony, and a free information section, as well as health and wellness items and body care merchandise. Raised beds will surround the property outside and will be planted with an edible landscape demonstration garden complete with seating areas.

“It will be a place for the community to relax, hang out, and enjoy great food,” Sallaberry says.

When I asked her to describe the new place, her face lit up and she offered up only one word, “Amazing.”

Reno resident Stephanie Stika is a horticulturalist and avid gardener. She also has a landscape design and consultation company called Your Plant Guru (




Act global, drink local at Reno coffeehouse.



When her $100 donation funded a tea farm in Burma and transformed an entire village, Julie Douglass became interested in helping farm workers worldwide earn sustainable wages. So at her café, Fairly Grounded Too, all the coffee, tea, and nonedible merchandise she sells are either fair or direct trade products.

“You get a better coffee because it’s more likely to be organically grown, and you can feel good about not supporting an exploitive industry,” she says.

Douglass describes fair trade as a system of exchange wherein buyers pay the producers of a product, in this case coffee and tea farmers, a price consistent with a livable wage. With direct trade, buyers have a one-on-one relationship with producers.

Fairly Grounded Too obtains its coffees from Water Avenue in Portland, Ore., which roasts them to order. Its seasonal selections originate in several countries, including Mexico, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Tanzania. Staff members prepare each cup of coffee by grinding the beans, then slowly pouring hot water over the grounds for a fresh, cleaner flavor. As for tea, more than 15 organic, Rishi flavors are available, such as peppermint, peach blossom, and Jamaican red rooibos.

The breakfast, lunch, and snack menu features quiche, salads, paninis, soups, sandwiches, and baked goods, with vegan and vegetarian options. The shop’s specialty is cupcakes containing tea leaves, such as Masala Chai with honey cream cheese frosting. All foods prepared on site include as many local, fresh, and organic ingredients as possible, Douglass says.

She plans to debut a new breakfast and brunch menu in September, which would feature more dishes made this way. New items will include French toast with fresh fruit and crepes containing local eggs.

“Supporting local farmers encourages growing varieties that are not chosen simply for their shipability but for their flavor,” Douglass says. “But it is also satisfying to have a part in supporting the small farmer over the big corporate farms. Local, small-scale farmers have a more honest approach to growing food and raising livestock.”

Doresa Banning is a Reno-based freelance writer and editor who craves coffee in the morning.


Fairly Grounded Too
170 S. Virginia St., Reno
Open daily at 7 a.m.



Students focus lens on local food movement.



Sarra Aguirre never thought much about the food she ate and where it came from. That is until she took Launie Gardner’s senior government class at Truckee Meadows Community College High School in Reno. The light bulb switched on.

“We saw two films — Food Matters and Food, Inc. — and learned what goes into commercial food production,” she says. “It was shocking and a real aha moment!”

Aguirre and other students now are passionate about eating fresh, local foods and spreading the word. The vehicle for their mission is a film project with the working title Farm to Family – A Documentary about Food in Nevada’s Great Basin. The students wrote storyboards and filmed in the summer — and will continue to work through the fall — under the direction of Volunteer Producer Kevin Porter, a former-teacher-turned-marketing-consultant who is passionate about the synergy of farm to family.

“The film is essentially a project about community, about connecting people,” Porter says. “The local food movement is being driven, for the most part, by small farms, farmers, and individuals with backyard and community gardens. It’s the little guy who has a couple of bushels and needs a place to sell.”

The Great Basin Community Food Co-op in Reno is a place where many farmers and community members meet. It was there that Porter connected with TMCC High School Teacher Manny Becerra who now helps with film production. Becerra introduced Porter to Gardner’s class and presented his idea. Hands flew up to volunteer.

Student Photographer Daniel Lewis chipped in, but had to admit he had never eaten lettuce. Enlightenment came when he tasted mustard greens fresh from the soil at the River School farm. What began as required hours of community service for a core group of students now continues after graduation. The group is committed to finishing the film.

“We want people who don’t know about locally grown food to have their own aha moments,” Aguirre says. “When they learn about the farmers and taste delicious fresh produce, we hope they’ll say, ‘These are the people I want to buy from!’”

The group’s goal is to produce a full-length feature ready for community viewing in the spring of 2012. You can follow the film’s progress or volunteer to help, on the group’s Facebook page (Farm to Family – A Documentary about Food in Nevada’s Great Basin). For details, contact Porter at 775-762-5801 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Marnie McArthur is a freelance writer and film fan who eats lots of fresh produce whenever she can.



Tractors and Truffles showcases Fallon.


Celebrating Farmers

Rick Gray’s description of the upcoming Tractors & Truffles event sounds like a day in Napa Valley, combining great food and culture. Yet, you don’t have to travel far for this outing. You’ll find it in Fallon, Nev.

“It is a vehicle to promote two amazing aspects of Fallon: the small farm agriculture industry and an eclectic art scene,” says Gray, who is director of tourism in Fallon and creator of the event, which was introduced last year with a resounding success.

This year’s event will begin with a tour of Lattin Farms that includes lunch. Afterwards, visitors may choose between a tour of Churchill Vineyards for wine tasting and homemade crackers and cheeses or a cooking demonstration with Celebrity Chef John Ash.

Ash has hosted his own TV show on the Food Network, is the author of best-selling cookbooks, and often is referred to as the father of wine country cuisine. His self-named restaurant in Santa Rosa, Calif., is one of the first in Northern California’s wine country to focus on local, seasonal ingredients.

After Ash’s cooking demo, visitors can enjoy a conversation with Susan Werner, a classically trained guitarist who fuses folk into her performances. Next on the agenda will be cocktails in Oats Park followed by a gourmet dinner prepared by Ash, Steve Hernandez of The Slanted Porch, and Chef and Ice Sculptor Mark Davis of the California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco. These talented chefs will make, prepare, and plate the food themselves.

The meal will showcase fresh, locally grown ingredients from Fallon farmers. After dinner, Werner will perform in Barkley Theatre. As Gray puts it, “she’s the truffle.”

A shuttle will be available to transport guests to the different events. Capacity is 100 people, allowing for an intimate setting and the ability for the chefs to maintain a high quality of food and service. Last year’s event sold out. So don’t delay in grabbing your tickets.

Reno resident Stephanie Stika is a horticulturalist and avid gardener. She also has a landscape design and consultation company called Your Plant Guru (



Tractors & Truffles
Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15

To participate in the entire day, the cost is $125 per person. For dinner and show only, the cost is $100 per person. For details, call 775-423-4556 or visit

Why not turn a Saturday event into a weekend getaway? For information on lodging in Fallon, visit or and follow the links. Be sure to eat at The Slanted Porch and Pizza Barn while you’re there. Both feature local produce in their dishes.



Longtime Nevadan contributed greatly to community.



Reno resident June Broili passed away on Aug. 1. The gracious 92-year-old woman leaves behind family, friends, and a legacy of giving. She served in nearly every office in Chapter F of P.E.O., a philanthropic organization that promotes educational opportunities for women throughout the world. She was a Past Queen of Amon-Ra Temple 56 and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, as well as a member of Nevada Press Women, American Association of University Women, the Nevada Historical Society, and Sparks Heritage Association.

Cooking was another passion. She earned a bachelor’s of science degree in home economics from University of Nevada, Reno in 1940 and wrote cooking columns for the Reno Gazette-Journal. She also self-published two books, including a cookbook called Easy Cookin’ in Nevada & Tales of the Sagebrush State in 1985. Easy Cookin’ is a compilation of the history of Nevada –– with photographs from the Nevada Historical Society and other sources –– complemented by a selection of her recipes (from cakes, cookies, and casseroles to sautéed wild duck breasts, fresh-baked trout, Navajo fry bread, and wild blackberry jam). If you're interested in buying a copy of this fascinating book on local cooking and history, email her son, Robert Broili, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In honor of edible Reno-Tahoe’s Basque theme this season, we’ll share her recipe in Easy Cookin’ for Basque Stew.


Basque Stew

(yields 8 servings) Ingredients:

1 pound oxtails

2 pounds beef stew meat

Oil for braising

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 tablespoons flour

2 quarts water

½ head white cabbage, in chunks

3 zucchini, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut oxtails at the joints. Place in oven roasting pan with beef stew meat and a little oil. Place pan in oven and brown meat, stirring often. It will cook fast. When meat has browned, remove from oven. Add carrots, onion, and celery to pan and return to hot oven for about 10 minutes to allow the vegetables to brown slightly. Stir in flour. Remove from oven. Add water to pan and simmer covered for about 2 hours or until oxtail joints and meat are tender. Add cabbage and zucchini and cook another 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper when cabbage and zucchini are added. Serve with side dishes of carrots, potatoes, and peas.