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February 2, 2010
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Slow Food Lake Tahoe | It's all about sustainable and organic

Slow Food Lake Tahoe held it's first potluck and general meeting of 2010 Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee.

The variety and creativity of dishes reflected the folks who came to share good food, friendship and education. “I'm learning every day to slow down,” said local artist Cathee St. Clair, of egg and card painting fame. “I'm always on the go and a little nervous, slowing down has been a life-long challenge. This is really inspiring.”

The Slow Food Lake Tahoe potluck included a presentation by Sierra Valley Farms owner Gary Romano, who espoused both the rewards and challenges of the small farmer. Romano helped save his family's 102-year-old farm, returning to the land he once worked as a child. “As long as you have a piece of land, you never feel stranded,” said Romano. “You can always grow food — it's very spiritual. That's part of what keeps me going.”

In Romano's presentation, “Is Sustainable Attainable?” a new UC Davis documentary, he touts the community benefits of farming. That housing developments are a one-time use of structures and asphalt, where a farm can diversify uses and be a fluid environment. He advises the potential farmer not to “put all your eggs in one basket” — grow a variety of crops, maybe have a few chickens.

Or goats, as does Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards, who shared a goat stew spoke about the goats they raise. Chaffin Family Orchards also produces fruits 365 days of the year, olives, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, cherries, apricots, peaches, mandarins and much more.

Clara Casteller, 5, arrived with her mother Helen Pelster and brother Alex Casteller, 3 excited to meet a Chaffin representative, who grows their winter citrus. They brought a crock pot of lentils to share. “It's my favorite food,” Clara stated. Pelster is a firm believer in the family meal, and serves “real food” that the children are happy to eat.

Lisa Boudreau, who started Lisa's Organics and is the founder of the Lake Tahoe Slow Food chapter, is a longtime fresh food advocate. “This is just awesome,” she said. “There has been such a big response [for fresh food].” She is impressed with the growing community gardens, at Rideout Community Center in Tahoe City, and the upgraded Truckee Community Garden and one to come on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

“The whole eating local food movement is gaining in popularity,” said Sunmie Won, Slow Food Lake Tahoe's new web mistress. “We are riding the wave. Stay informed, join the movement, sign up for newsletters at"

For more information, contact Susan Brumm at or 582-7498.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 3, 2010 02:13PM Published Feb 2, 2010 08:35PM Copyright 2010 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.