Author Archive | Nora Mounce

Showing off a mature oyster

Humboldt Bay Hosts the Humble Oyster

Oyster Farms Yield Many of the Mollusks and Invite Visitors

While the federal government busies itself retrogressively nixing protections for national parks and endangered species, an unexpected environmental hero quietly rests in the saline waters of Humboldt Bay—the humble and elegant oyster. Both seafood and sustainability are flourishing on the North Coast, where oysters (and farmers) are positively impacting the health of intertidal waters and the entire region.

Given their knack for either romancing or reviling eaters while being eaten alive, oysters are already fascinating characters. Plus, each mollusk filters between 30 and 50 gallons of water through its gills each day, helping to remove pollutants like nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide from ocean water. Additionally, oysters are a keystone species, which means that a web of marine plants and animals depends on them for survival. A healthy oyster culture attracts diverse sea life, controls algae, and improves water clarity. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, a guide that helps consumers make smart choices about seafood, gives Pacific oysters the green light on sustainability—the shellfish are ranked as a Best Choice seafood option.

Looking across the calm, metallic surface of the Humboldt Bay, visitors would never guess the beehive of … Read More

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Farm to Table _ Ukiah,CA

Emerald Triangle Farm Tours

Cannabis Tourism Offers A Growing Industry For Rural California

A social and economic experiment still in its infancy, California’s shiny new cannabis industry will have impacts no one yet sees. As the provisions of Prop 64 are incrementally unrolled, both traditional and state-of-the-art cannabis operations are slowly opening up shop across California. While a few towns saw crowds lining up to purchase legal bud on January 1st, the majority of businesses wanting to enter the fray struggles with a convoluted permitting process. Industry veterans speculate that between the web of red tape and a combined county/city/state tax rate that tops 30%, cannabis farmers are an endangered species. Yet, new business models like collectives, where small farmers share bureaucratic resources under one license, are bolstering prospects for survival. Another avenue for preserving farmer livelihoods lies in branding; cultivators strive to distinguish themselves as boutique producers of “premium” or “sun-grown” cannabis, strengthening their value in the competitive marketplace. Despite these efforts and innovations, the forecast for Northern California’s famed marijuana farmers is still bleak. One great green hope remains—cannabis tourism. 

“It’s not the miners who got rich during the gold rush, it was the guys selling shovels and picks,” … Read More

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Version 2

Move Over Medicinals

In California, a dozen Edible magazines serve the Golden State, each singularly focused on the local, agrarian stories that shape our daily lives. Yet, a huge chapter of that story has gone mostly untold, certainly in this magazine—cannabis. It is cultivated up and down California, tucked under redwood trees, hidden in neighborhoods and rural areas alike, and soon, grown in industrial greenhouses across the valley floor. As 2018 brings unprecedented change to California’s agricultural landscape, stories about the farmers, families, and migrant workers of the cannabis industry will finally be shared. This article focuses the lens on the most fundamental intersection between cannabis and food—edibles. More particularly, those of the sweet kind prepared nearby.

A tricky moniker, the definition of edible is simply fit to be eaten. But more often, when talking about an edible, people refer to food products infused with a liquid, powder, or fat form of cannabis. The chemical compounds contained within the cannabis flowers and leaves are known as cannabinoids, which bind to various receptors in the human body. The most famous cannabinoid, THC, is responsible for creating a powerful psychoactive effect on humans—it’s been getting teenagers (and their parents) high since the 60s. But Read More

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PIzza 2

Strawhouse Grows Up

Seventeen years ago, when Don and Julia Ellis set out to create an agro-tourism destination on the Trinity River, they never imagined tossing pizzas and roasting coffee in a house made of straw. Now Don, head pizza chef and chief roaster, wouldn’t want it any other way. The Strawhouse Café & Resorts is perched just off Highway 299 in Big Flat, California, a hitching post sized town halfway between Redding and the Pacific coast. The scenic highway hugs the bubbling whitewater and blue-green pools of the Trinity River as it rushes west. Nearly every year, winter storms send massive boulders bouncing down the mountainside, resulting in frequent road closures and long delays. After an onslaught of rain last winter, the highway was closed, incredibly enough, for two long months. In this wild and mountainous country, even on an average year, the challenge in accessing fresh and organic foods is huge. Against all odds, the Strawhouse Café has been weathering the storm for seventeen years.

“We wanted to farm. We wanted to be truly self-sustainable,” says Don, reflecting on the dreams that led them to Big Flat. After selling most their possessions, the Ellises bought a truck and headed north, leaving Read More

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