The Tasting Panel magazine

Nov 09

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88 / the tasting panel / november 2009 minerality that sang when enjoyed with the savory, slightly briny delicacy. Farmed nearby in a state- of-the-art aquaculture facility, the abalone reflects a theme we ran into over and over again in the county's kitchens, farmlands and vineyards: sustainability. Sustainability was a main focus at another Cambria restaurant, Robin's, where owner Shanny Covey paired a bright, orangey Clayhouse Vine- yards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc with a playful and refreshing avocado milkshake, made from local avo- cados, considered among the best in the world. But San Luis Obispo County's agricultural variety extends to another green, pitted fruit as well, as we discovered at Pasolivo, a Tus- can-style olive farm that cultivates 45 acres of orchards for oil production. This family-run business, started ten years ago after co-owner Joeli Yaguda's mother-in-law noted the similarities between the terroirs of Tuscany and Paso, also places seri- ous stock in the importance of sus- tainable farming practices. "We're constantly challenging ourselves to be better stewards of the land," ex- plains Yaguda. "It is so important to be aware of how we're farming and what we're doing, because it really does affect the final outcome and quality of the oil in the long run." At Downtown San Luis Obispo's weekly farmer's market, we discov- ered that Yaguda isn't the only one who's confident that paying atten- tion to food sources and farming practices makes a difference on the table. We joined Chef Robin Covey, owner of Novo Restaurant, as he browsed the market, where he shops every Thursday and Satur- day for fresh, local produce. As he greeted farmers by first name and hand-selected garlic chives, aspara- gus and vividly colored beets, he admits, "Sure, it requires a lot more effort to shop like this. But it's worth it because the food tastes better. I really think that by shortening the time and distance between farm and table, food can be much more." The next day, we joined Covey at Edna Valley Vineyard, where wine- maker Josh Baker paired several of Sustainability At Robin's in Cambria, a locally-sourced avocado milkshake provides just enough rich, velvety softness to smooth out the bright acidity of the sustain- ably-certified Clayhouse Vineyard 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. Eberle Winery produces one of the leading Rhône-style wines coming out of Paso Robles.

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