OCEANSIDE – The O’side Feast: Farm to Table, Table to Farm event delivered food, drink, song and community May 20.
The event was held on Jason Mraz’s family coffee farm. It highlighted sustainable food systems, the farm to table restaurant movement and city agritourism efforts.
It also demonstrated how farmers, restaurants and consumers can partner to create a locally based, self-reliant food economy.
The event invited age 21 and older guests to sample sips and a variety of appetizers created from locally sourced produce.
Rows of picnic tables were set up for guests to enjoy tastes, live music and views of rolling farmland. Barnwall Shift performed throughout the event.
Mraz also took to the stage to talk about farming, sustainability and agritourism and to sing a few songs.
“There’s so much beautiful potential here,” Mraz said. “I want to see farmers stay profitable. If we let it disappear it’s gone forever.”
A challenge posed to chefs was to produce tapas with minimal food waste, and get creative with normally thrown away parts of foods.
The 11 invited restaurants and six beer, wine and vodka makers that served up food and drink were fit to meet the challenge. They routinely practice local food sourcing and minimal waste in their businesses.
Guests could talk with chefs, brewers and fermenters and learn more about their unique sustainable food practices, which help the city meet its zero waste goal. Practices range from sourcing fish from Oceanside harbor fisherman to making vodka out of unsold Twinkies.
“The sustainable food system model of farm to table and back to farm is proven to mitigate negative environmental effects while supporting positive economic and social benefits in the community,” Colleen Foster, city solid waste and recycling management analyst, said.
Restaurants that took part were 608, Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen, Jitters Coffee Pub, Local Tap House, Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro, The Miller’s Table, The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar, The Whet Noodle, Tutto Dolce Gelato and Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub.
Brewers and fermenters pouring drinks were Beach House Winery, Breakwater Brewing Company, Golden Coast Mead, Living Tea Brewing Company and Misadventures & Company.
The O’side Feast was the city’s first large-scale agritourism event. It was sponsored by the city of Oceanside in partnership with Visit Oceanside, the South Morrow Hills Association and Feeding the Soul.
“It shows the potential to do these types of activities in South Morro Hills, and the quality of these activities,” Leslee Gaul, Visit Oceanside CEO and president, said.
The next step is to develop a city agritourism plan, which will focus independent agritourism efforts, such as farm to table meals, winery tours and wedding venues, and create synergy.
“Done right, agritourism can ensure the health and economic viability of Oceanside farms,” Gaul said. “Without a comprehensive plan — the likelihood is high that many farming operations will cease and land will be transitioned to high-density housing and development.”
In related efforts Oceanside will hold an agritourism workshop for small farmers on June 15, which will explore agritourism opportunities and help farmers with business plans. More information on the workshop is available on the city website at www.ci.oceanside.ca.us.