July 10, 2013 |
Is there an artist as well-suited to record an album inspired by Big Sur as Bill Frisell? Having spent much of his long career working a fertile seam in the jazz world that shares ground with Americana and folk, Frisell and his often twang-dusted tone seems tailor-made for sweeping vistas and pastoral wonders. Stemming from a 2012 commission by the Monterey Jazz Festival, “Big Sur” is the result of Frisell holing himself up in a cabin at the 860-acre Glen Deven Ranch and writing music for wherever this natural muse took him. Recorded with a blend of the guitarist's most recent projects in the string-laden 858 Quartet and drummer for his Beautiful Dreamers trio Rudy Royston, the resulting 19-track suite approaches a lush, near-orchestral sweep on the strength of violist Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts and Jenny Scheinman on violin.
June 28, 2013 |
Anyone who's bitten into a ripe apricot, peach or plum understands the juicy scents of summer. But today's perfumers have created fragrances that make fruity essences available all year long. Fancy an olfactory plate of ripe figs? L'Artisan's Figuier Extreme and Ava Luxe's Figue de Sucre showcase the creamy sweetness of the fruit, while Heeley's Eau de Figuier and L'Artisan's Premier Figuier evoke the entire tree, complete with green leaves, milky white secretions and twiggy branches.
June 22, 2013 |
The stunning Côtes du Rhône "Petit Ours Brun" (little brown bear) tastes like a youthful Cornas. The grapes come from a parcel that winemaker Matthieu Barret calls "no man's land"; it lies just between the official boundaries of Cornas and St. Joseph. The wine is 100% Syrah from 40-year-old, low-yielding vines. Oh, and it's also certified biodynamic. The taste is cool fruit, earth, bruised blackberries and that indefinable wild quality that makes Syrah from this part of the Rhone pure magic.
June 18, 2013 |
The thornless blackberries in Mary Steffens' backyard in Echo Park are going on three years, and one of the plants is finally setting fruit -- big, purple-black globes of nearly seedless, sweet-tart juiciness. Steffens got the plants from a friend at Ocean View Farms, the community garden in Mar Vista, but her initial planting site was too sunny. So two years ago she moved the plants to a spot that got late afternoon sun but was shaded during the hottest part of the day. “This is basically a Northern Californian berry,” she said.
June 10, 2013 |
Dole Food Co. introduced mainland Americans to the Hawaiian pineapple more than a century ago and grew the fresh fruit business into a global empire. But the Westlake Village food company has trimmed down considerably. The company sold its worldwide packaged-goods units and its Asia fresh-produce business to Japanese firm Itochu Corp. for $1.7 billion this year to focus more narrowly on its fresh produce elsewhere in the world. The company, also a major provider of bananas, expects lower revenue but higher profit as it concentrates on its fresh vegetable and fruit businesses in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Africa.
June 7, 2013 |
This week may be the best of the year for high-flavored fruit that's worth a special trip to local farmers markets, because it's almost never available elsewhere. Start with boysenberries, whose rich, complex, sweet-tart flavor reflects their ancestry, part raspberry, part trailing blackberry. To be at their best, they must be picked dead-ripe, when they're too soft and perishable for supermarkets, and even at farmers market just a few vendors take the trouble. Look for containers in which all or most of the berries are deep purple, indicating full ripeness; less ripe berries are better for baking or making preserves.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2013 |
The Aztecs gave us guacamole, but it was Gil Henry who gave us avocados that don't have to sit on the kitchen counter for weeks to become dip-worthy. Until the early 1980s, avocados were green, rock-hard objects that could take many days to ripen once shoppers brought them home. But then Henry pioneered a "ripening room" on his family's avocado farm in Escondido that sped up the process, allowing supermarkets to sell avocados that are ready to eat or close to it. The method has since become the industry standard.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 20, 2013 |
Monday's morning commute started off horribly for drivers in the San Gabriel Valley when a big rig carrying fruit overturned on the 210, blocking lanes in both directions in Monrovia for most of the morning. The big rig crashed through the center divider just before 5 a.m. near Myrtle Avenue. Three westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes will be blocked until about 9:15 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. Westbound traffic appeared to be backed up to the 605 freeway.
May 17, 2013 |
Among the most intriguing May peaches are three patented by Alan and Lori Asdoorian of Kingsburg, whose century-old Island Farms lies between two branches of the Kings River, southeast of Fresno. Because of the short period from bloom to harvest, May peaches naturally tend to be small, with only moderately sweet, clingstone flesh and a susceptibility to split pits. But early-season varieties can be lucrative for breeders and farmers, who have striven to find improved selections.
May 15, 2013 |
On Monday night a documentary called "The Fruit Hunters" premiered at the Laemmle Monica 4. The fascinating (and taste-tempting) film was directed by Yung Chang and features actor Bill Pullman, who has been cultivating a vertical orchard at his home in the Hollywood Hills for nearly 20 years. Also featured is a colorful cast of fruit lovers from around the world, including picturesque places like Italy, Borneo and Hawaii. The protagonists are growers, horticulturists and enthusiasts and they are beyond obsessed with every single aspect of rare fruit.