Buy Local Pasadena Blog

NPR’s “Independent Farmers Feel Squelched by Milk Cartel”
August 21, 2009, 3:52 am
Filed under: Food, Living Local | Tags: , , , , ,


Photograph by Katie Hayes/NPR

NPR’s “All Things Considered” shared an informative, well told story on the dairy industry and the importance of buying locally to ensure fair wages to the workers while guaranteeing a fair market.

Find the story here. Read or hear it on their podcast.

Thanks, NPR!


Restaurant Week Supports Those in Need!
May 29, 2009, 12:29 am
Filed under: Food, Living Local | Tags: , , , , ,






From June 1st through 8th, local foodies and visitors can indulge in the best of Old Pasadena’s award-winning restaurants, and help feed those in need at the first ever Old Pasadena Restaurant Week.  In response to our ongoing economic crisis, over 25 of Old Pasadena’s finest restaurants have joined together to help our less fortunate neighbors.  For eight straight days, diners will savor three gourmet courses at one great price, starting as low as $15, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Union Station Homeless Services.

A diverse array of the area’s most exciting restaurants will offer three course pre-selected meals at a special deal with deluxe dinning at $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner or fine dining at $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner.  Exquisite dishes prepared by the area’s most talented chefs include: redwhite + bluezz’s Berkshire pork raised in Snake River Farms, Idaho, complemented with a creamy blueberry-cambozola bread pudding, baby greens and a port wine finish, Green Street Tavern’s duck panini with caramelized onions, roasted plum and Manchego cheese, Heritage Wine Company’s eggplant cannelloni stuffed with three cheeses, walnuts, tarragon and beet reduction sauce, Sushi Roku’s seared Albacore sashimi with garlic ponzu sauce, Malagueta’s grilled steak served with plantains, salsa campanha, chimichuri sauce and black beans and rice and La Grande Orange’s olive oil savory cake.  A complete list of restaurants and menus are available at

Diners will not only marvel in the adventure of taste that Old Pasadena Restaurant Week offers but will also enjoy helping others with 10% of event proceeds benefiting Union Station Homeless Services, celebrating 35 years of helping those in need.  Old Pasadena Restaurant Week is presented by the Old Pasadena Management District in partnership with Union Station Homeless Services.


In 1973, a group of community volunteers opened Union Station Homeless Services as a simple hospitality center to serve poor and homeless men in downtown Pasadena. Today, Union Station is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest and most comprehensive social service agency assisting homeless and very low-income people. Their mission is to help, men, women and children rebuild their lives and end homelessness.  Services include community meals program, community shower program, career development and job placement, emergency shelter and much more.  Visit for more information.


The Old Pasadena Management District (OPMD) is a non-profit business organization that creatively plans, manages and develops Old Pasadena as a unique, authentic and vibrant downtown experience. The OPMD currently contracts with the City of Pasadena to manage the Old Pasadena Business Improvement District (BID). The BID enhances the basic City services by funding district-wide security, marketing, and maintenance programs to provide a clean, safe vibrant downtown experience.

General Public: For more information including a list of participating restaurants and menus the public can visit

Media:  Please contact Kershona Mayo at 626.356.9725 or for further information, interviews and photograph

Kershona Mayo Mgr. Marketing & Events


65 N. Raymond Ave., Ste. 260 Pasadena CA 91103

Tel 626.356.9725 x14               Fax 626.356.9775

Introducing the Co-op & Food Exchange of Altadena
November 4, 2008, 8:11 pm
Filed under: Food, Living Local | Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Altadena residents spread the fruity wealth.

Drum roll please……introducing the Co-op & Food Exchange of Altadena, aka CofeAltadena. The CofeAltadena is a Yahoo Groups e-mail list and discussion board dedicated to sharing and swapping homegrown organic fruits and vegetables. Started by Altadena resident Gail Murphy, the co-op now boasts over 45 members who live in or near Altadena and Pasadena. Says Murphy, “[If you live in Southern California], you know that usually trees with fruit get ripe within a few weeks, and it is difficult for an owner to use all of the fruit at once. But if we share with a neighbor, they are likely to have another tree which ripens at another time. It helps spread out the bounty and make it more usable.” The CofeAltadena posts announcements offering surplus crops or seeking a particular kind of produce. Last weekend they had an official “Crop Swap” at Farnsworth Park. BLP apologizes for not posting sooner. Prospective members can go to for more information. Meanwhile, check out this great article about the group that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Keep up the good work and spread the bounty!

Salmonella Flavored Tomatoes
June 19, 2008, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags: , , , , , ,

Buying local or organic seems to be the current buzz in everyone’s bonnet. Tomatoes have taken the latest rap, causing salmonella scares all over the US (CA was, however, recently placed on the OK list!).  So can buying locally grown produce help keep our families safe from contaminated veggies???

Recall back in 2006 when contaminated spinach caused a big uproar. The bacterial contamination was traced back to tainted irrigation water at the farm. Those little bacteria grew on the spinach at the farm…and the long ride to the packing plant…and from the packing plant to the distributor….and from the distributor to the retailer, gave those bacteria a long time to grow.

Our current outbreak of salmonella flavored tomatoes looks tied to Florida and Mexico. Through the process of industrial farming and massive distribution these tomatoes have caused people across the US to become sick.

Imagine this: Putting a box of tomatoes in your car…driving them 500 miles to be cleaned and packaged…then putting them back in your car and driving them another 500 miles to a warehouse to sit until a retailer orders them. Now pack them up and drive them another 500 miles to a store where they sit until YOU buy them.  Seems like a lot of places for those tomatoes to get yucky!

Instead you could stop by your local farmer’s market and pick up some veggies from the guy that grew them a couple hours away. Chances are, they were picked that morning and driven to your market that day.  There’s still no guarantee it’s free from bacteria, but chances are a lot better that they’re fresh, clean, and ready for dinner!

My conclusion is, If you’re lucky enough to have a near-by farmer’s market, it’s best to get to know the farmers and ask how local their farm is (how far the fruits and veggies have to travel) or whether their just selling wholesale produce.

Shopping the Local Farmer’s Market
June 12, 2008, 4:30 am
Filed under: Food | Tags: , , , ,

There isn’t a more perfect time to shop at the farmer’s market*. Prices are soaring, salmonella is rampant (well, sort of) and Spring in its final days. Steve and I gleefully plopped our 7 month old into the stroller today and walked to peruse all the delicious possibilities that fruits and veggies could offer. We chatted about the ominous vine-less tomatoes that we could avoid, the plastic we’d escape and the local farmers we could support (and man! There’s nothing like saving a penny, or 10, on gas).

At the market, we held on to our precious $20 bill and canvas shopping bags like we were eager children in a candy shop (nature’s candy shop!). Beautiful ears of sweet yellow corn, flaming red bell peppers, and bright orange apricots – they were all tempting us to buy them. We said hello to the familiar strawberry man and the potato and carrot lady (funny how you can see the same people from week to week and never know names). She had the best smooth red fingerling potatoes this week. Among the tiniest fingerlings I had ever seen was a sign cut out of cardboard that read “pee wee thumb potatoes.” Hilarious! I embarrassed myself by laughing so hard because I was probably the only one who never thought of thumb potatoes in conjunction with fingerlings before…but it sent me over the moon. We weighed down the stroller with our bundles and walked back home.

No cookbook was needed with all these wonderful veggies. We decided on our veggie version of twice baked potatoes. Our 3 year old, now home from his grandpa’s house, excitedly drew up his chair to the counter to help with the preparations. Always aware that his girlfriend (Rachel Ray) could be watching, he carefully washed off the vegetables as I sliced up an onion. Steve threw the potatoes into the microwave (yeah, it’s cheating – but we were hungry!) and then generously poured fruity green olive oil into a pan for our veggies to sauté. The smells were heavenly. We scooped the potato into the veggie mixture and then the real fun began. We mashed everything together and then reunited the mash with their skins. Tons of glorious sharp cheddar cheese and twenty minutes later, it was heaven on earth.

Maybe next week we’d ask the farmers their names.

Approximate Recipe for your convenience (serves 4 as a side dish 2 as a main dish):

2 large potatoes (the skins on baking potatoes are heartier but any potato will work)

½ onion

1 bell pepper (any color)

1 bunch broccoli

2 zucchinis

1 yellow squash

2 large carrots (any color)

2+ Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (fair trade is even better)

salt/pepper to taste

about ½ cup of milk

Thoroughly wash all vegetables (substitute with any of your favorite veggies). Score potatoes in half, length wise, and cook (or nuke) until soft. While potatoes are cooking, chop and sauté all veggies in olive oil (with salt and pepper) until tender. Once potatoes have cooked (let cool enough to handle), cut length-wise and scoop out the potato with a spoon and add to sautéed veggie pan (careful to not tear the skins). Place empty skins on a baking sheet. Mix and lightly mash potato/veggie mixture while over low heat. Add enough milk to the mixture until it has a slightly whipped texture (final mixture will be light but with lots of veggie chunks!). Add salt and pepper to taste. Evenly fill skins with the potato mixture (heaping mound) and top with cheese, if desired. Bake on 350 for 20 min, or until cheese is slightly crispy.

*Sierra Madre Farmer’s market: Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. at the Mariposa parking lot between S. Baldwin and Hermosa Avenue. Click here for more info.