Written by Molly Lautamo (mollylautamo.com)
Pictures by Allison Garcia
In case you haven’t noticed, the folks at Event Santa Cruz love celebrating entrepreneurs in the food industry. There is an endless supply of talented, creative chefs here in Santa Cruz and who doesn’t like an event focused around food and drink?
If you’ve attended any Event Santa Cruz nights, you know that you will always be treated to tasty bites from two or three different local vendors in addition to beer and/or wine to wash it down. November’s event, BITE … A Food Bazaar, was no exception, featuring samples from more vendors than you can count on both hands.
Some memorable bites included the cardamom coconut macaroons from the Teen Kitchen Project, spicy smoked salmon from Santa Cruz Salmon Jerky, turkey mole tacos from My Mom’s Mole, and of course, amazing jams from the night’s host, Friend in Cheeses Jam Company.
Wrapped in scarves and jackets against the crisp November night, foodies gathered outside the industrial kitchen of Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. to hear the stories behind some of the tastiest food businesses in Santa Cruz. The night concluded with acoustic guitar and soulful singing by musical guest SPEC. Listen to more of his music on SoundCloud or follow him on Instagram @lifeasaspec.
Here’s a quick recap of the night’s speakers:
Tabitha Raquel Stroup – Friend In Cheeses Jam Company
Tabitha started the night off by reminding everyone that food is the one common bond we all share: we all have a relationship with food, no matter who we are. She also described cooking as a form of art and encouraged everyone to look at her jams and other artisanal foods as an investment in an art piece that nourishes both body and soul. “[This venture] is not anything more than to be able to turn mother nature’s bounty into beauty … You are getting pieces of art, you are getting a piece of someone’s soul.” Find her tasty jams at local stores and online: https://www.friendincheeses.com/
Cesario Ruiz – My Mom’s Mole
Cesario makes all his mole in The Incubator Kitchen in Watsonville. This community kitchen currently hosts about 30 different businesses and could host up to 50 in the future. Cesario encourages everyone to check out this amazing collaborative effort that supports aspiring chefs in his community. You should also try his mole — it’s amazing! You can find it in local grocery stores or online: https://www.mymomsmole.com/
Caleb Barron – Fogline Farm
When you purchase meat from Fogline, you are supporting a truly sustainable farm that is striving to create the best life possible for its animals and deliver you the highest quality meat. Caleb explained that Fogline is an organic, closed system where the animals fertilize the plants and the plants feed the animals. Their chickens and livestock are pasture-raised and Caleb makes sure no one outside of Fogline handles the meat — he and his team raise the animals, butcher, and sell the meat to local markets. Unfortunately, Fogline won’t be able to stay on their current 40 acres and is desperately searching for 5-40 acres of land in Santa Cruz County for both livestock and agriculture. Get in touch with Caleb if you hear of anything! Find their meat, eggs, and produce at local farmer’s markets. Learn more here: https://www.foglinefarm.com/
Brittany Cowden – Santa Cruz Salmon Jerky
Brittany’s husband Casey started Santa Cruz Salmon Jerky out of a lifelong passion for smoking fish. He smoked for about 10 years for himself and then decided to sell his jerky four years ago. Their fish is sustainable, certified organic Canadian King Salmon and can be found in all local markets throughout Santa Cruz. Find out more here: https://www.santacruzsalmonjerky.com/
Angela Farley (And team) – Teen Kitchen Project
While Angela’s youngest son battled a rare lung cancer, her friends and neighbors helped out by providing the family with pre-cooked meals. Angela and her family were so grateful to this help and knew that others struggling with a serious illness in their family must be in need of the same. After her son finished his treatment, the Teen Kitchen Project was born and now not only provides food to 270 families in need, but also provides a safe space for teens to come after school and learn how to cook healthy, nourishing food. Learn more at https://www.teenkitchenproject.org/.
If you missed the event or if you attended and are craving more of what you sampled, here’s a list of the night’s vendors:
- Ashby Confections
- CaCoCo, Inc.
- Friend in Cheeses Jam Co.
- My Mom’s Mole
- The Philosopher’s Stoneground
- The Teen Kitchen Project
- True Olive Connection
- Zena’s SASS
Thanks to our sponsors: Bright Valley Marketing, Nextspace, Santa Cruz Economic Development, Launch brigade, ip Society, Crystal Birns Photography, and Sandbar Solar & Electric.
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Molly Lautamo is a writer and content strategist who loves hiking in the woods with her cattle dog, going on bouldering adventures, and actively exploring the local food and beer scene in Santa Cruz. To check out more of Molly’s writing, visit mollylautamo.com or follow her on Twitter @mlautamo.