Lily Belli on Food: Gilroy Garlic Festival canceled, Phil’s Fish House moves and mountain markets reopen

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…While many local festivals and events return this year, the future of a beloved local institution is uncertain. Gilroy’s Garlic Festival Council announcement Friday the annual festival was canceled sine die. The organization cited lingering concerns of the pandemic and the prohibitively expensive insurance required by the town of Gilroy, to the tune of $1 million. The festival is normally held the last weekend of July to celebrate the stinking rose in all its delicious iterations, from classics like garlic fries to unconventional creations like garlic ice cream. It is the sad end to an event that families have cherished for more than 40 years and which has brought the small farming community of Gilroy international recognition. We all remember the tragic mass shooting at the 2019 festival, when a 19-year-old Gilroy native killed three people and injured 17 others before turning the gun on himself. It would be extremely difficult for an event to hold the same place in the hearts of the community after such horror, but after canceling the festival in 2020, the organizers have decidedly organized a drive-in version over three weekends in July 2021 .

“The festival is part of our heritage. Now we have to make sure this is part of our future,” organizers said in the announcement. While they believe the festival will never be a massive event, they hope to create a smaller, more intimate local iteration. Several complementary fundraisers will take place throughout the summer, including a golf tournament, a concert at Clos La Chance Winery and a farm-to-table dinner. To visit for more information …

Felton and Scotts Valley Farmers Markets reopen the first week of May.

Felton and Scotts Valley Farmers Markets reopen the first week of May.

(Kevin Painchaud / Belvedere Santa Cruz)

…Next week we are once again hosting the seasonal Felton and Scotts Valley Farmers Markets. Located off Highway 9 in downtown Felton, the Felton Farmer’s Market reopens one week from Tuesday and will run every Tuesday from 1-6 p.m. through October. In addition to organic fruits and vegetables, fresh flowers, artisan breads, seafood, meats, eggs and other food staples, the market has expanded its rotation of food trucks with a focus on highlighting hard-to-find cultural foods. Scrumptious Fish & Chips will be there every week, and Dos Hermanos Pupuseria, Mattia Pizza Truck and Rogue Pye will be spinning.

The Scotts Valley Farmers’ Market restarts next Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will run every Saturday morning through Thanksgiving. Find him in his new home, off Scotts Valley Drive in the Boys & Girls Club parking lot. Visitors will find an abundant selection of regional farms and food businesses, as well as regular pop-ups from Chicken Foot and Dos Hermanos Pupuseria. New this year, Watsonville-based Hidden Fortress Coffee will sell breakfast favorites like French toast, pancakes, bacon and sausages in addition to its organic roast coffee and small-batch espresso.

Both markets will celebrate opening day with free strawberry shortcakes for visitors, made with fresh local strawberries and whipped cream on Beckmann’s Bakery shortbread. Doesn’t that sound like a sweet way to kick off summer? More info on

Phil's Fish Market & Eatery will move from its location on Sandholdt Road in Moss Landing.

Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery will move from its location on Sandholdt Road in Moss Landing.

(By Facebook)

… Concerned community members took to social media when it was revealed that Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery would be moving from its current location in Moss Landing. Fans feared the beloved restaurant and fish market would close for good after news broke that neighboring Monterey Bay Aquarium research institute planned to expand and demolish the restaurant in order to build a new marine of two stories of 33,000 square feet. research center at its location on Sandholdt Road. But reports of Phil’s death were greatly exaggerated, with Phil Di Girolamo itself purifying the air. If it is true that the establishment plans to move, “we will not close”, insists DiGirolamo in a Facebook post. DiGirolamo and MBARI work together to find another suitable location before the move, so no one has to say goodbye to Phil’s famous cioppino, clam chowder or crab cakes.


Blossom's line of fermented foods includes killer vegan kimchi.

Blossom’s line of fermented foods includes killer vegan kimchi.

(Kevin Painchaud / Belvedere Santa Cruz)

If you haven’t had the chance yet, I highly recommend stopping by Blossom’s Farmstand & Coffeeshop next time you’re in Corralitos. The pink-hued adobe building is packed with local treats, including fresh produce, eggs, local art, Blossom’s own line of fermented foods – I love their vegan kimchi – and their herbal apothecary. The café serves hot drinks, pastries and homemade savory snacks. Find out why this local spot is so special last week Summary of eaters.

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A man wears a Pizza My Heart shirt at the Taj Mahal in India

250,000 – The estimated number of t-shirts that Pizza My Heart sells each year through its $7 shirt and slice combo. In the latest installment of my colleague Wallace Baine’s Icons of Santa Cruz series, he traces how the Pizza My Heart t-shirt became a symbol of Santa Cruz. Read it here.


This might only appeal to a small portion of readers, but if you’re by chance looking for an easy and delicious way to prepare beets, I have a great recipe for you. I love beets when I eat them at restaurants, but until recently I rarely prepared them at home because I couldn’t find a preparation that gave me the results I wanted – tangy, pickled beets without their reddish skin with a tender, rich texture – it was that easy. I finally found this recipe, and it’s so simple. To make this, wash your beets and cut off the stem end, then poach them in a mixture of one part vinegar and four parts water until you can easily pierce them through. . Poaching is a fancy way of saying to cook them in liquid at a low temperature. In this case, the beets should be immersed or nearly immersed in the vinegar/water mixture, and kept over low heat, covered with a lid, for about an hour. Feel free to mix up the type of vinegar and add aromatics, depending on what you’re using it for. I used a cup of red wine vinegar and added a crushed garlic clove, a handful of peppercorns and a few bay leaves.

Once cooked and cooled, you can remove the skin with a paper towel. You’ll definitely do some damage – and beet stains, so be prepared. Chop them up and they’ll keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week, ready to jazz up your office salad. I actually mixed some into homemade tomato soup and it was surprisingly good. Sky is the limit!


…to a recent episode from the local “Paid The Cost” podcast, featuring business owner Eric Kennedy. Kennedy is a San Lorenzo Valley native and new owner of Zayante Creek Market & Deli, which he purchased during the pandemic. His path to corporate ownership has been a zigzag and zigzag, from his days founding a wine club featuring wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains to his days at Looker. He shares his plans for the little market in the mountains and many words of wisdom in the episode. And keep listening to a familiar face – host Nativo Gonzalez kindly invited me for its 100th episode, which will be released tomorrow.

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Bustling restaurants are heading to this mall – is it the Bay Area’s next foodie destination? (San Francisco Chronicle)
Is the future of restaurants financed by the population? (Eater)
How pickers reconnect with the land (Good time)

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Thanks for reading! Eat well, my friends.

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