Foragers Festival Tickets on Sale

2017 Big Sur Foragers Festival
Tickets On Sale and Fungus Face Off Participants Announced
Big Sur Health Center announces January 13–15, 2017, as the dates for its annual Big Sur Foragers Festival. This year’s partners include Carmel Valley Ranch, the sister property of longtime host Ventana Big Sur that was just named the No. 1 resort in Northern California in the Conde Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. With a resort enhancement project underway at Ventana Big Sur, the Fungus Face-Off and Grand Chef dinner will take place this year at Carmel Valley Ranch, a summer-camp-inspired resort that sprawls across 500 acres and celebrates a deep connection to the land of Carmel Valley.

The event has traditionally served as a fundraiser for the Big Sur Health Center. The community’s non-profit health center will receive the proceeds from the foraging events to help support the continued presence of local healthcare services in the Big Sur area.

New events for 2017 include:
· New Friday Night Dinner Added for January 13th, 2017. Pamper your palette for a great cause with a gourmet meal benefiting the Big Sur Health Center on Friday, Jan. 13, at La Balena Carmel, an authentic Italian restaurant on Junipero Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues. This very special dinner, part of the Big Sur Foragers Festival, will feature a five-course meal, lovingly prepared with wild mushrooms and black and white Italian Alba truffles, that were gathered during a recent three-week trip to Italy by La Balena owners Anna and Emanuele Bartolini. Wines donated by Bernardus Winery and Chappellet Wines will be served with each course.
● A Friday night winemaker dinner series will be held at select restaurants throughout Monterey County. Will’s Fargo Restaurant + Bar in Carmel Valley and Alvarado Street Brewery and Grill in Monterey will each donate 10 percent. The Big Sur River Inn will hold a forager-themed brunch, also donating a percentage of profits to the event.
● A vendor’s market will take place following the Fungus Face Off Saturday, January 14th from 1-4 p.m. Meet the local artisans during the Face Off, then shop at the market from 4-5:30 p.m. Each vendor-partner will donate a portion of their sales to the Big Sur Health Center.
Participants include:
● Carmel Honey Company: Jake Reisdorf’s fifth-grade report on bees developed into a successful business model with a non-profit component. Meet young Jake and his mom Becky as they detail the wonders of honeybees.
● The Quail and Olive: Board-certified cardiologist Dr. Stephen Brabeck long recognized the health benefits of olive oil so he started a successful local business centered around a California olive oil experience.
● Salt Roots Soap Company: Meet Stephanie Wise, who started this unique artisan company with her friend Shani Fridrich. Their soaps are handmade in small batches, which creates unique beauty in the variations of design, texture and color.
● Big Sur Sea Salt: Anna Linden runs this new startup, taking advantage of the natural bounty that comes from pristine seawater along the Big Sur Coast.
● Additional partners inclyd Percy’s Pies, Driftwood art from Duncan and more!
● Join us for a special evening at Hyatt Carmel Highlands. Executive chef Chad Minton and the culinary team will create a three-course meal paired with wines from Bonny Doon Vineyard. The evening will begin with a reception of passed appetizers, wines from Bonny Doon and live music from Dino Vera from 6:30–7 p.m. At 7 p.m. enjoy a three-course dinner in the legendary wine room. Meet the culinary team and representatives from Bonny Doon Vineyard! There are only 24 seats available. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased through

Back by Popular Demand:
● An exclusive Friday night dinner at Sierra Mar restaurant at Post Ranch Inn with a special menu and a unique opportunity to enjoy wines from their award-winning wine cellar. This event is limited to 14 people.
● The “Fungus Face-Off” will take place in a beautiful tented setting on the Pete Dye-designed golf course at Carmel Valley Ranch. This popular event sells out early. There are 250 available tickets, priced at $65 per person.

Fungus Face Off Winery and Brewery Partners Include:
● Holman Ranch
● Mesa Del Sol
● Bernardus
● McIntyre Vineyards
● Chappellet
● Twisted Roots
● Chesebro Wines
● De Tierra Vineyards
● Morgan Winery
● Bonny Doon Vineyards
● Filipponi Ranch Cellars
● Firestone Walker Brewing Company
● Belgian Pacific
● Blair Winery
● Alvarado Street Brewery
● Mad Otter Ale

Fungus Face Off Chef and Restaurant Partners Include:
● Chef Tim Wood, Valley Kitchen, Carmel Valley Ranch
● Chef Matt Glazer, Glazer Food and Beverage
● Chef Chad Minton, Hyatt Carmel Highlands
● Chef Soerke Peters, Basil Seasonal Dining
● Chef Angela Tamura, Peppoli
● Chef Cy Yontz, Rio Grill
● Chef Todd Fisher, Tarpy’s Roadhouse
● Pastry Chef Ben Spungin, Sierra Mar
● The Culinary Team at Alvarado Street Brewery
● Quail and Olive
● Carmel Honey Company
● Big Sur Sea Salt
● Salt Roots Soap Company

· Grand Chef Dinner at Carmel Valley Ranch. An intimate forage-inspired feast paired with incredible wines, the multi-course dinner from Chefs Wood and Worth begins at 6 p.m., and seating is extremely limited. Tickets available for $175 per person.
● Two foraging walks led by Steve Copeland and his expert team from Big Sur Guides. An easy “Wild Mushroom Walk and Talk” at Pfeiffer State Park and a nearby intermediate walk. This year, both hikes will be held on Sunday. There are 30 spaces available per walk. Tickets are $60 per person.

For event details visit Tickets can be purchased at

Marci Bracco Cain
Owner | Managing Partner
T 831 747 7455

Another Gideon Rainbow

This was seen from my bed this morning, out the window. Gideon is sure letting me know he is happy and watching out for me, no longer in pain, and playing while waiting for me. I will miss you until the end of my days, but I am glad you sent me all these rainbows.


Here is one from Pal0 Colorado Canyon:


Road Conditions – South Coast

From CHP:

Incident: 00315 Type: Traffic Hazard Location: SR1 S / GORDA Loc Desc: SB 1 JSO GORDA Lat/Lon: 35.842500 -121.401944
Detail Information
4:04 PM 3 [8] 1039 CT DIST 5 / WCB
4:03 PM 2 [7] VEH JUST HIT IT
I’m guessing Mud Creek.

Winter Solstice – 2016

Below, I repost one of my Winter Solstice posts from 2009:

“The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like Midwinter to refer to the day on which it occurs. For most people in the high latitudes this is commonly known as the shortest day and the sun’s daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest.” (Wikipedia)

There are as many different types of celebrations of this astrological event as there are cultures and religions, past and present. It is the “official” day of winter, here in the northern hemisphere, and it is when the days begin to lengthen again.

For me, rooted in a northern clime, the significance is both the beginning of winter, and the lengthening of the days. I am a person of the sun, who rises with it, and slows my rhythms when its time with me is also slowed. Long before we had a name to go along with these most natural of nature’s patterns (seasonal affective disorder), our bodies simply increased the secretion of melatonin in the body, causing longer sleep. Now, we know that special lights, plants, and negative ions can diminish the effect of the lesser sunlight.

It is a seasonal lull that many of nature’s plants and animals observe. It is a time for us to be focused inward rather than outward. Rather than fight the natural patterns, I choose to follow them, and become quiet, solitary, and introspective. Tomorrow, that time lessens, and my outward focus will begin its return, just as the sun increases its time in our northern skies.

I will celebrate the holidays with friends, as we all do, but for me, the true holiday is today, the Winter Solstice, when I begin my outward focus, once again, and leave the inner world I have come to inhabit.

Christmas Weekend Weather

From this afternoon’s NWS forecast:

“all agree that enough cold air will be present for snow over higher terrain Friday night into Saturday morning. Snow levels drop to 2500-3500 feet by Saturday. Cold northwest flow remains on Saturday with lingering showers possible through the day. Regarding precip amounts. It does not appear that this storm will be as strong or moisture rich as the last storm. None the less…0.25-75″ for most locations and 0.75-2″ for the hills. Depending on the exact timing of the cold air accumulating snow will be possible over the Santa Lucia range. Only real chance for a white Christmas in the Bay Area.”

From NWS, Monterey Bay:

“Much of the afternoon forecast package will focus around the evolving pattern changing later in the week. Models are coming into better agreement in bringing a storm system through the region Thursday night through early Saturday. The exact timing is not totally flushed out yet given model discrepancies. Colder air will accompany this storm system, which may bring some snow to the higher peaks in Monterey county. Will wait for the 12z model package before making any adjustments. All in all, could be a higher impact event given the holiday travel.”

From John Lindsey of SLO:

“Vigorous upper-level winds will intensify the associated cold front as it moves southeastward down the Central California Coast. This cold front is expected to pass the Central Coast Friday night with strong to gale-force (25 to 38 mph) southerly winds and heavy rain. Rain is expected to continue through Saturday morning.

Strong to gale-force (25 to 38 mph) northwesterly winds and rain showers are forecast Saturday afternoon and night with colder temperatures. Snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada by Friday afternoon and night above 4,000 feet with snow levels coming down further on Saturday with more than a foot of snow expected above 5,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada. Generally chilly and clear weather is forecast on Christmas.”

Some of us may see a White Christmas at the higher elevations. ❄️