.Stay Fresh

A farmers market love note, a big street fair and some pollen-infused pisco

On the count of three, shout your favorite thing about greater Santa Cruz.

One…two…three…FARMERS MARKETS!

Yes, judges will also accept Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot, surfing, tacos, craft beer and Bookie’s mushroom-nettle pizza with porcini white sauce.

But still, show me somewhere—anywhere—with as many vibrant, diverse and deep farmers markets, from Watsonville to the Westside.

The best way to honor them (and your own happiness) is to frequent them. But there’s another interesting new angle to do so, which is what inspires this note.

American Farmland Trust is currently hosting a 2024 Farmers Market Celebration, now through July 31, wherein Cruzers can geo-locate their fave markets using an interactive Google heat map and submit a vote, with $15,000 in prizes on the line for market organizing angels with the most grassroots/root vegetable support.

Because I’m all for recent winners like North Tonawanda City Market in New York and Overland Park Farmers Market in Kansas getting some shine on their squash.

And I’m ready for Santa Cruz to claim its crown. markets.farmland.org


An outstanding summer tradition—Good Times readers have voted it Best Street Fair—hits a landmark this week as the annual Pleasure Point Street Fair turns 10. Come Saturday, June 22, more than 100 vendors fill Portola Drive (between 41st and 38th avenues) with arts, crafts, local services, food, beverages and a beer/wine garden. Plus local bands appear on two stages, the kids zone kicks in, Santa Cruz Boardroom oversees a skateboard contest, and all proceeds underwrite the nonprofit Live Oak Education Foundation. pleasurepointstreetfair.com


Fresh Chaminade Resort & Spa leadership, including new Director of Food & Beverage Chance Van Cleef, translates to an inventive summer cocktail menu with pours like the pollen-infused pisco Pollinator and the chamoy lollipop Muchas Luchas. Director of Culinary Avram Samuels  says the inspiration comes from Santa Cruz’s “local organic bounty, rich earth, seasons and a clientele who demands excellence,” adding drinks like The Santa Cruz Verde with Codigo tequila infused with cilantro, cucumber and jalapeno 1) seem preordained for the view of the Monterey Bay on the patio; and 2) benefit from tech techniques like using their sous vide machine to extract and meld ingredient essence. “It allows us to really accelerate the flavors exponentially,” Samuels says, “without having to reduce or use concentrates [and while using] fresh, local and sustainable produce.” chaminade.com

THINGS AND THANGS Alderwood’s new executive chef Mikey Adams has assembled a mouthwatering menu featuring things like ice-cold California Kumamoto oysters, glazed kampachi, black truffle squid ink rigatoni, grilled trout with smoked roe, alderwoodsantacruz.com…“It’s a Thursday Thing!” for both its Aptos and Santa Cruz outposts, Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen announces, it being New England Lobster dinner specials, with pound-and-a-quarter bugs, coleslaw, Old Bay chips and drawn butter, for $40, 5pm till sellout, venusspirits.com…Woodies on the Wharf returns June 22, with free admission, more than 200 woodies, music, woodie goodies and prize drawings, santacruzwoodies.com…The Homeless Garden Project hosts Sustain Supper July 20, and it’s a doozie. Chef Reylon Agustin, culinary director at Big Sur’s singular Post Ranch Inn, conjures magic with locally sourced ingredients—many grown on site—UCSC Environmental Studies professor and Union of Concerned Scientists chair Anne Kapuscinski keynotes, and farm tours, local wines, live music and a special kombucha brewed from farm-grown inputs flow, homelessgardenproject.org…Happy solstice, Earthlings.


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