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Do you know of an organization that can help provide snacks to an East Oakland School?

Hey all,

A friend of a friend is a teacher in an East Oakland school and she's been paying out of her own pocket to provide snacks to the students who come to school hungry in the morning. She's looking for help.

I'm sure there's a non-profit out there that helps with this kind of thing, but I dont know of one...does anyone out there have any leads?

Or if you would like to get involved in helping out that would be amazing too.

Email me at iso@foragesf.com if you have any leads.

Thanks,

Iso

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Glove law repeal passes Assembly Health Committee 18-0!

The bill to repeal the glove law, AB2130, passed the Assembly yesterday 18-0! Thanks to everyone who sent in letters of support, they really made a difference. We still have to get through the Assembly Appropriations Committee and then on to the Assembly Floor and the Senate. Still a long road to go, but the unanimous vote today shows that folks in Sacramento see this is a bill that the people dont want. Exciting stuff! Iso

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URGENT: Today is the day to show you hate the glove law: Vote in sacramento tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day. Its the day the health committee decides whether to repeal the glove law. Your support on this petition is one of the reasons they're meeting at all, but now we need to show them you really mean it.

Two ways to help:

1. Send a letter of support to Benjamin.Russell@asm.ca.gov. There is a sample letter below, but you can also let them know in your own words that you support AB2130 (the bill to repeal the law). If you send a letter please let me know.

2. Go to Sacramento! I know its a drive, but its important that we have people there to show their support. The meeting is at 1:30pm in room 4202 of the State Capitol. Let us know if you can make it.

Thanks again for your support. Your voice is working to change a misguided law that will effect millions of people. We're in the homestretch now, we can do it!

Iso

 

Sample Letter:

[Date]

The Honorable Dr. Richard Pan

Assemblymember, 9th District

State Capitol, Room 6005

Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: (916) 319-2109

Re: AB 2130 (Pan) – SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Pan,

[Name of your organization] writes to express our support of your AB 2130, which would

roll back the recently enacted law prohibiting bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food.

This prohibition, created last year by AB 1252 (Committee on Health), will require bars and

restaurants to buy and discard thousands of disposable gloves, imposing a significant financial

burden and environmental impact. The numerous glove changes workers will be required to

undertake will further result in a loss of operational efficiency. Though we are in full support

of ensuring food safety for restaurant customers, small restaurants and bars were not involved

in the discussion surrounding AB 1252. As a result, substantive changes that directly affect our

business and livelihood were put into place without our input.

[Optional: include a brief statement about your organization and the problems created by the

glove law.]

We thank you for introducing AB 2130 to roll back the glove law.

Sincerely,

[Name and title]

cc: Members of the Assembly Health Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Legislation introduced to repeal the Glove Law!

You did it! You signed and they listened! Assemblymember Pan, the chair of the Health Committee (the committee that passed the Glove Law), announced emergency legislation today to repeal the law! We're not done yet, we still have to make sure the bill goes through, but they havnt heard any major opposition so it's looking good. This is super exciting, and a real example of how powerful we are as a group. This is my first time wading into politics, and granted, its a law that was clearly ridiculous, but its really amazing how quickly this all happened. The people spoke and the government listened: If only all politics could work so well…. Thank you all for the support so far, and I'll make sure to keep you updated as we move forward.

Iso

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Glove Law update: Phil Ting

Been working working working on getting this campaign going. After just a few days we have over 2500 signatures on our petition! We're going to be meeting with Assemblyman Phil Ting tomorrow, hoping to convince him to champion the bill. Met with the new head of the GGRA (Golden Gate Restaurant Association), Pattie Unterman from Hayes Street Grill, and Earl Shaddix from Bayview Underground Market to talk strategy. We're going to really start pushing this out to media after we get Ting to agree to work with us (fingers crossed!).

Next steps are getting more folks in the city to be aware of the campaign. Going to be organizing some folks to canvas the cities restaurants, getting people to sign the petition. If you want to get involved, email me at iso@foragesf.com. This is exciting stuff! I really think we're getting somewhere in pushing back against this misguided law.

Iso

 

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Glove Law Update: The Committee on health, and a bill written by a corporate lobbying group

What I’ve learned on the glove law: The last few days I’ve been trying to get up to speed on where this law came from. Who sponsored it? Who voted on it? How did it just appear without anyone in the industry hearing it existed? It’s been an interesting process, delving into the machinery of government, and so far I’ve found out:

The bill was introduced by The Committee on Health in February (weird no one heard about it), which includes our very own Tom Ammiano, and was sponsored (the ones who created the bill), by a group called The California Retail Food Safety Coalition (CRFSC for those long winded acronym lovers amongst us). So that means that this group is the one who actually wrote the bill, and gave it to the Committee on Health to push through. I contacted Pat Kennelly, who is the head of the Food And Drug Branch of California Department of Public Health, who told me that DPH did not advise at all on the bill publicly.

CRFSC is a lobbying group comprised of state health officials and private industry. Some interesting members include:

The head of the California Food and Health Branch, Pat Kennelly, as well as heads of several other California Health departments, Jack in the Box, YUM! Brands (the largest fast food company in the world, they own Pizza Hut and KFC amongst other chains), Olive Garden, and Safeway to name a few.

I am just learning about this group, but for me reading that list is disquieting. Imagining the folks who decide on our health code, the people who are being paid by us to protect and represent the people, sitting in a room creating legislation with fast food and supermarket chains, certainly gives me pause….I sent them a request outlining their justification of the law, and we’ll see what comes out of that.

I also reached out to Assemblymember Richard Pan, who is the chair of the Health Committee, to ask what information factored in their decision to support the legislation.

So at this point it seems that the bill was created by a lobbying group with made up  of CA health officials and corporate food giants, and quietly passed through committee. They did reach out to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, who as I understand it does not support the bill, but for some reason none of us heard about it….More updates soon.

 

 

 

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The end times are neigh! Don't leave your loved ones behind.....

A public service message from forageSF

The holidays are a time for giving. For searching our hearts and minds,  attempting to find just the right gift to satisfy those we love. Perhaps its that ipad they've been lusting after, or maybe a fine book of fiction, one that will gently lull them to sleep, bundled up in front of a crackling fire on those cold Bay Area winter nights (I don't care what East Coasters say, 50 degrees is cold!). Perhaps you have an art lover in your life, and are leaning towards a gift of oil paints, those nice ones that caught her eye at Flax last month, and for the less imaginative amongst us, pre-paid gift cards to Best Buy are always a hit.

I am the fist to say that these are all great gifts, but we at forageSF would be remiss if we failed to remind you of the coming post-apocalyptic dystopia. It could be a foreign power that shuts down the grid, a torrential flood caused by global warming (if you believe in that kind of this), or the ever popular fire and brimstone, rained down upon us for our myriad sins (I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure the rapture is going to be leaving me behind). Sure, it could come in 50 years, or it could come tomorrow. Our team of experts are still working out the specifics, but they predict with 100% certainty* that it will come "very soon" (*with a margin of error of 0-100%).

We don't like to think about it, but the truth is that when it does come we'll all have to choose teams. There wont be room for everyone on our ship, and two by two we'll choose those with the skills to survive. I don't know about you, but those that can hunt, fish, and forage will be first on my list.

Don't let your loved ones be picked last. For their sake and for the sake of all of us, set that ipad aside, and get them a gift certificate from forageSF: here

Blessings this holiday season,

From Iso and The forageSF family to yours

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The idea behind live fishing

  At last Sunday’s Batch Made Market we tried something new, live fishing.  The idea was simple: teach people how to catch, clean, and cook a fish from beginning to end. Along with all the classes we teach, the aim of the live fishing class was to provide the rare opportunity to observe, learn, and experience urban fishing.. It wasn’t something I’d ever seen anywhere else. Without a model to work off of, we decided to take a risk and try it out. We thought through the process, researched the fish, got the pool, and lined up a lifelong commercial fisherman to help guide the class. The response to the idea was overwhelming and the class sold out almost immediately.

While majority of responses were positive, I did get a few vocal concerns about the event that I’d like to address:

We came up with this idea as an attempt to show people the reality of what it means to catch and eat fish. Watching the entire process of killing and cooking an animal should enliven a respect and gratitude for the food we eat.  Last Sunday we found that the fish were not interested in biting. This wasn’t a consequence of inhumane treatment. The fish were handled very gently. Freshly bought from a fishmonger down the block (incidentally, they had much more room to swim around in our pool than in their previous home) and placed into fresh water. After it became clear that it wasn’t going to plan, we cut it off, and decided to show folks how to filet, gut, and fry fish instead.

At forageSF our mission is first and foremost to support and educate people about the food they eat everyday. Sometimes that’s taking people out into nature to find it, sometimes that's taking them into the kitchen to cook it, and sometimes that’s taking them into the dining room to eat it. It’s great when we can get people out into nature to see the reality of their food, but that isn’t always feasible. The people who came to our event came because they wanted to learn what it means to take a fish from live to cooked. As in all things we do, we created this event to take people one step closer to being comfortable obtaining and preparing delicious food.  We will continue to search for innovative ways to bring fresh food to urban settings, and to hew to our mission of supporting a vibrant local society through the lens of great food.

 

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Why I had to kill The Underground market....

On letting go....

I went to film school, and something a professor once said has really stuck with me (one of the few things that did…). It was the notion that sometimes you have to "kill your babies". He was talking about filmmaking of course, and what he was alluding to was the idea that sometimes the things that are the closest to your heart (a protagonist, strong image, compelling story arc, or exceptional line of dialogue) need to be cut. Though they seem vitally important, or--even worse-- have worked really well in the past, sometimes you need to get rid of them. Again, he was discussing film, but over the years I’ve thought a lot about this concept as it pertains to all things in life: the relationship that needs to end even though you’re overwhelmingly comfortable in it, the city or job you need to leave if you’re ever going to follow your dreams, and in this case; a successful project you’ve created that needs to be put to bed.

The Underground Market was my baby. It was an idea that flashed into my mind while I was driving across the Bay Bridge (my favorite ideas come on solo drives), and I went for it. It was successful in a way that I would never have imagined; who really thinks they’ll end up on the front page of the New York Times for starting a food market? This success has given the vendors who got their start at the market the jumpstart they needed to launch their businesses, and has allowed us to take the leap towards bigger projects like Forage Kitchen. I truly could not have asked for a better outcome, and honestly, at times I’ve felt terrified to see it go.

So why kill it?  The market needed to close. It was originally created to lower the bar to entry for folks who made delicious food and wanted to sell it. Home cooks with a dream of starting a business, but without the resources, hence “Underground”. Since being shut down, there is nothing underground about it. We need to get all the same permits, pay all the same fees as any other event, and turn down home cooks as vendors.  It didn’t feel right to keep it open like this.

To be successful, you need to always be looking forward. It was scary closing down the market. It was what I was known for, part of my line about what I did when people asked at parties, and just a great event to be a part of. I still wonder if I’ll top it. Part of me wanted to keep it going forever, but part of me also knew that wasn’t the way  things work.

I feel that the fear of seeing the end of something--especially something you care deeply about and have worked incredibly hard to build-- stems from a fear that you won’t be able to produce anything better, that the recipe or concept you’ve created can’t be shared because somehow great ideas and inspiration are finite, the dread that if you let this person go, there won’t be anyone else to follow. I fall prey to this fear myself, but deep down I believe that this kind of thinking is self-fulfilling.

If you don’t share your ideas far and wide, they won’t be as sensational as they could have been; if you don’t--at times-- let go of things that you love, you close yourself off to new experiences. To move forward you need to let go of the past, it’s as true of ideas as it is of emotions. So the next time you have an idea/job/city that you’re holding onto too desperately, think of this concept and consider that maybe the only way to find something better is to let go of what you already have.

Here's a nostalgic look at the Underground Market.

 

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This week in Forage Kitchen: Jan 7th

The holidays have scattered us far and wide, so we've all had  a dose of much needed down time. I took a trip up north to visit my dad in northern CA, spent a few days watching the rain and playing an outdated version of trivial pursuit (interesting how many facts have changed in the last 10 years), and came back to SF to discover that the herring were running! Our local herring live in the open ocean, but once each year they come into the bay to breed. Millions of fish (the estimated weight is almost half a million TONS) all rush into the bay. Just beneath the surface, females drop millions of eggs on shore rocks, and males are close behind to fertilize. This is called a run, and its an amazing thing to see. You need to be at just the right place at the right time, as they're often only in a certain location for a few hours, so if you want to find them, you need to have an in with the local fisherman network. If you're lucky enough, you'll get a frantic call, and you'll need to drop everything to make it there on time. I was lucky enough to get the call this year. With each throw of the net, dozens of fish came up, got over 60 lbs total! A super fun, exciting experience. We pickled them up and will be serving them at our next Wild Kitchen Dinner this month. If you want to join, the information is here.

But back to the kitchen: lots has been going on with Forage Kitchen of late. We've hired an operations manager, a great woman named Tracy Leighton who has years of experience in the industry. She's owned several restaurants, as well as spending years in the corporate world focused on project management. This will add some much needed structure to the team, and I'm excited to be working with her. We've also gone official and registered Forage Kitchen LLC (this actually happened a few months back, but I haven't mentioned it), and Fred (my business partner) is getting the SF business license today.

Our most pressing need now is to find space. We are looking for two kinds of spaces at the moment:

1. A 3-4000 Sq ft space with a previously built out commercial kitchen, to use as a starter space. The build out of the larger space could take over a year, and we really want to get all the excited folks using the kitchen before that. It will be a good spot to create fun events, get some businesses and Makers started working, hold classes, and also to figure out what tweaks we need to make to our ideas before the larger space opens. It will also help us start making money and proving that this isn't just some hairbrained scheme but actually something that people want to use (banks and investors like to see things actually existing before they shell out too much cash).

2. A final space: an 8-1000 sq ft. space, preferably with some kitchen infrastructure already existing (this will dramatically reduce our build out costs)

We have leads on both of these, which is super exciting! If you know of any similar spaces, let us know. That's all for now. I'm feeling really good about the project. We've got a great team together, and everyone is excited to make it happen. Until next week.

 

Iso

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The market returns

This Saturday was the return of The Underground Market. After a year closed, it was great to see everyone out there again. The way we were able to do this event is that we came above board. Permits, inspections etc, we did it all. The health inspector came and hung out with us for what seemed like hours, making sure everything was legit. What was great about this market is to see how far everyones come. Most of the vendors who were there, pulling permits, totally legit, started out rag tag at The Underground Market. Good stuff. The markets are not going to be monthly, but they will return. The next one will be Sept 7th, hope to see you there.

Iso

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We got to 30% on kickstarter!

We made it to 30%! This is real milestone on kickstarter. Campaigns that get to 30% have a 90% chance of being successful. What we need now is a constant push through the end. The most important thing is getting the word out. You are the ones who are dedicated to seeing this project happen. Tell your friends, and friends of friends. Don't just tell them to check out the project, but tell them why they should check it out. Why you pledged, and why you think it's important. If you're trying to start a business, this space will really help you out. Tell people how much, and why, you think it will help you move forward with your dreams.  After years of working in shared use kitchens, seeing what works/what doesnt work, what I liked, what the space really needed, I created the idea for Forage Kitchen.

I am going to be posting pictures/video of the raw space where the kitchen will be early next week. It's an amazing space. A huge warehouse. 100 ft ceilings, close to the water, a giant space that will give us room to grow the ideas we all come up with together when we move in there. I can't wait for you to see it.

Iso

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A Meal Of Firsts: Slow Braised Lamb Shanks with Red Wine and Pan Fried Oyster Mushrooms

Tonight is a meal of firsts. The first mushrooms of the season and lamb from my first slaughter. I won’t go into the details of the lamb slaughter, except to say that it was an intense experience; a knife, a knee -that was it. It’s cliché, but the experience truly did change my relationship with the meat.  Everyone should participate in a slaughter, if only once.

The other first is the oyster mushrooms; I went out on the hunt a few days ago for the first time this season. I’d heard rumors of chanterelles, so I headed up to a piece of land a friend of mine had access to, but had never collected on. The legend goes that an old man used to forage there, and would emerge with baskets overflowing with golden chanterelles, hardly able to carry his bounty. He passed away years ago, and no one had collected there since.

For me, untouched land where mushrooms are promised is like the mystical bass tale told by fisherman: the one as big as a man. The one that is hooked but never reeled in. It makes a mushroom forager’s mouth water to think of a spot where mushrooms surround you; a spot where you rarely pass a tree without a score. These were my thoughts while driving up at dawn. The reality is rarely as abundant as the dream, but there is always something exciting to report. We’d hiked for about an hour without success when we ran into a stream with trees covered in oyster mushrooms. Dead logs standing up stained white with mushrooms. Logs across the stream covered. Once oyster mushrooms have grabbed onto a dead log they'll grow for years in the same spot, so definitely an exciting thing to find.  This was the largest patch of oyster mushrooms I’ve ever seen; It almost seemed like someone inoculated the place years ago, given the sheer volume.

Didn't find any chanterelles on that trip, but the oysters were more than an adequate consolation prize. So on this rainy night post foraging, I figured it made sense to thaw some of the lamb, sauté up the mushrooms, and have at it. Hope you enjoy.

You’ll need:

Shanks:

2 lamb shanks

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion – chopped

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

3 tsp chopped fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Cup red wine

1 Can whole peeled tomatoes

1 Quart chicken broth

1/2 lb fingerling potatoes

2 anchovies - minced

Mushrooms:

2 lb oyster mushrooms

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 Tbsp butter

Note: The number one rule that people will tell you with wild mushrooms is that you shouldn’t wash them. Of course, sometimes they have dirt that wont rub off. I wash mushrooms when I need to, and you shouldn’t feel bad if you have to either. If you buy oysters in the store, they should be pretty clean, but the wild variety often doesn’t come to us so pristine.

Mushrooms:

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel (or wash if necessary, see above reasoning), slice, then “dry sauté,” which means cook over medium heat in a dry pan until most of the liquid has evaporated. This is how I cook all my mushrooms. It gets the moisture out before the butter hits them, so they cook rather than stew.  Remove oysters, clean pan, heat butter over medium heat, then cook mushrooms. When they start to get some good color, add garlic, and cook them until they’re good and browned, salt and pepper to taste. I find that recipes that ask to add the garlic at the beginning of cooking always leave me with burnt garlic and undercooked food. This way, the garlic gets cooked, the food is perfect, and life is good.

Shanks:

First things first: get your mise en place together. Slice onions and garlic, clean and slice mushrooms,  chop herbs – everything in its own bowl.  Take shanks out of the fridge to get up to room temperature, dice shallots, preheat oven to 300, and get your equipment together. The real stress of cooking is needing something done without time to do it, so a bit of preparation makes the process much saner (now if I could only follow this advice, I’d be set).

Once you’ve got everything ready, you’re off! Heat your dutch oven over high heat with oil for your sear. You want to give the shanks some color, and also caramelize those sugars to get a good deep flavor. Brown well, remove shanks, add onions. Lower heat to medium, cook 10 minutes until translucent, add garlic and anchovy, cook 2 minutes. Add Shanks back into the pot, along with thyme, pour over stock and canned tomatoes (it should almost cover the shanks, this added liquid will help cook the potatoes later), and white wine. Bring up to a boil, then cover, place in oven, and relax. Cook 1.5 hours, then add potatoes, topping up liquid so it’s at least 3/4th up the shanks (with water if you’re out of stock), cover and cook a further 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and shank is falling off the bone.  Done! Delicious! Salt and pepper to taste, serve with mushrooms and greens (I had it with bok choy, but that’s really only because that’s what I got in my CSA.  I’d rather broccoli rabe with this.) Enjoy!

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Wild boar chips and a show

We've been busy over here, trying to push everything along. We're in the midst of getting the market back open (soon my friends, very soon), figuring out this commercial kitchen business, and all the while, cooking food. It's nice to have a job with variety.  I've been spending the last couple days recipe testing for the Eat Real festival next weekend.  We are going to do fried smelt with pickled baby veggies, and a new creation, wild boar chips (like potato chips, but with pig).  Unfortunately I dont have any food porn worthy pictures of either of those, so I thought I'd share some media from Wild Kitchen dinners past.  Here is a video that was shot at the last meal, and below are some delicious pictures for your enjoyment. I'm off to prep day for this weekends dinners, if you're interested, I believe there are still a couple tickets available for Friday, and can be purchased here. Hope you're all having fun. [gallery]

photos by Ramin Rahimian

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A national Underground Market

Just got off the phone with the organizers of the underground market in LA about what are good next steps for this idea nationwide. We are going to start working on starting a national underground market membership, with markets across the country deciding together what exactly we are trying to accomplish, and the best ways to make those things happen. When I get emails from folks trying to start markets in other states for advice, up to this point all Ive been able to do is give our experience. What we did in SF, what worked and didn't work. With this national group, we will be able to give more concrete answers on what is permissible and what is not, so others can avoid the problems we're having here. I'm still very confident that the market will re-open in SF, know that we're working on making that happen.Iso

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June 11th Underground Market - Vendors List

This has been a great month for The Underground Market. We had an overstuffed sample day, with over 30 new vendors bringing everything from savory tarts, to a new one for me, a potato taco. SF Weekly published some delicious food porn from the last market, so if you want a taste of what's to come this month, definitely check out the article. We've also started on the road to creating more community amongst vendors with a google group where they can chat. If you want to join, you need to be a vendor. So come to the next sample day, become a vendor, and join us. Until then, we have a really great market this Saturday at Public Works. Fresh wood fired pizza, home-brew mustard, world class grilled cheese, and of course, the potato taco.

DAY

Popstand - Popsicles

Dos Gringos Salsa - Salsa

Dandelion Chocolate - Chocolate

Skincare by Feleciai

The Cookie Department – Functional cookies

Ahram Namu Kimchi – Organic kimchi topped hot dogs

Ooh La La Lumpia - Lumpia

Dulceria – Ice cream sandwiches

Nanny's Mustard - Homemade stout mustard

Monchi Foods - Pork kimchi tamale & quesadilla

Little Knock – Vietnamese crepes

El Charapo - Salsas

Vickles Pickles - Pickles

Jeannie's Artisan Jams – Seasonal jams

Desperation Bakehouse – Shirt pocket pies

Nostalgia Butters – Sweet spreads

Savory Crepes by Inna Golod

The Sauerkraut Kids - Sauerkraut

Raws In Business – Raw tarts & treats

Sweet Tings – Cheesecake Lollipops

Peter's Sausage - Sausage

Oaktown Jerk – Beef jerky

Bay Area Bee Co – Local honey

Iron Maiden – Vegan falafel waffle

Madrileño – Spanish empanadas

Tamales Oaxaca – Tamales

NIGHT

Schulzies Bread Pudding – Bread pudding

Sidesaddle Kitchen – Raw vegan cookies

A Humble Plate – Laotian Food

Dehesa Foods – Artisan sausage

BiBimBopBowl – Korean Bi Bim Bop

Simply Mochi - Mochi

Gluttony Catering – Duck confit tacos & more

Tamala Go Café – Enchilada tacos

Kitchensidecar – Banh mi burgers

City Smoke House – Pulled pork sandwiches & more

Jilli Ice Cream & Soda – Raw milk ice cream

Jerk. – Jerk chicken

PizzaHacker - Pizza

Little Knock – Vietnamese crepes

Sasonao - Empanadas and plantain chips

Mo Foods - Lemonade, marmalade & sabayon

Morgans Menu – Hawaiian baked goods

Saucy Dumplings! – Pork & vegetarian dumplings

Tara Mendioro - Adobo

PotacoSF – Potato tacos

Pesto by Marco Antonelli

Glorious Food – Chile Rellenos

Lenga Lenga – Portuguese croquettes

Morph – Thai Curry & fresh rolls

Grilledcheezguy – Grilled cheese

Manchef – Seasonal crostini

Nosh This – Bacon crack and more

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Pics from July Wild Kitchen Dinners

Here are our favorite pics from our last couple Wild Kitchen dinners by our amazing photographer Robin Jolin (robinjolin.com), who always makes the food look even more delicious than in real life. This dinner was eight courses, and featured a lot of great summer fruit, as well as some forageables from the coast and inland.  Thanks to all the people who came, it was a great crowd, and especially to the people who bartered such great stuff. Remember, we're always looking for people to barter skills, kitchen equipment, massages and the like. If you haven't checked them out yet, and want to get emailed when they're happening, sign up in the subscribe box on the homepage at foragesf.com. Thanks

Iso