By Ellen Shick
During the Kincade fire in October 2019, supertankers dropped thousands of gallons of retardant. Water fell in torrents from helicopters. On the ground, families lost their homes, thousands evacuated and just about everyone relived traumas from California’s wildfire season. During the 13 days of the Kincade fire, over 77,758 Sonoma County acres burned. Yet, despite it all, Sonoma County rose out of the ashes once again. The residents of Sonoma County helped, fed and nurtured each other. Thus, the Holidays are a time for gratitude draw near. The Snail of Approval Team wanted to check in and support our Snails. We heard amazing accounts of generosity, bravery and love. We want to share some of their stories with you.
Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria
During the fire, chef and owner of Diavola, Dino Bugica and his family stayed in the restaurant in Geyserville to feed the community. “We wanted to give back to our community, to the first responders fighting who kept the fire from our town.” said the Diavola family. Mr. Bugica spent ten years in Italy studying pizza making and butchery. Therefore, he brings his knowledge to customers with his Neapolitan style pizza and Italian classics with a Sonoma County flair. As they continue to recover, the Diavola family would love to have you visit. They open every day for lunch and dinner from 11:30-9:00 p.m. Come in for some Pasta Fazool for lunch or Local Seafood Stew for supper to support our Snails.
The Black Piglet
Duskie Estes and John Stewart, both award winning chefs, look back on a very trying year. After losing Zazu Kitchen and Farm in the flood this spring, they focus on selling their Black Pig Meat Co. products. Their pasture-raised bacon and snout-to-tail products can be found throughout Sonoma County. To name a few: Oliver’s, Andy’s, Palace in Point Reyes and Dry Creek Vineyards offer these delicious products. Check out blackpigmeatco.com for more details.
In addition, you can find Duskie and John catering and food trucking with The Black Piglet.“During the fires, as a family we volunteered at Sonoma Family Meals and World Central Kitchen. We are grateful to all the first responders who saved our community (and my mom’s house),” says Duskie.
Rebecca Bozzelli owns and operates Lantern Farm located in the Asti Valley in Cloverdale. They had to evacuate during the fire, but her farm stayed safe. Once it was safe to return, she began tending the tender crops and also found time to donate produce to the Citrus Fair evacuation center. She feels so fortunate compared to others and is very grateful for the support from the community.
On her Instagram page, Rebecca joked, “Not only do I farm without chemicals, but also without electricity, which means no water. The new dry farming.” You can support our Snails and Rebecca at the Tuesday Farmer’s Market in Cloverdale from 3-6 pm through the end of November and Saturday Santa Rosa at the Luther Burbank Center from 8:30-1 pm. Miraculously, Lantern farm’s beautiful flowers are thriving and will be available at the markets.
For many days, the residents of Cloverdale lived without gas and electricity. “The entire town was bored, directionless and hungry. Our community experienced a very tough week,” said head chef Aaron Arabian of the Trading Post. Like so many other restaurants, Trading Post had no backup generator; as a result, they were in danger of losing their perishables. However, always creative and resourceful, the chefs made yogurt and creme fraiche with the dairy products. The staff brought ingredients to the Citrus Fair evacuation center and cooked for the evacuees and first responders.
Still, once PGE restored the gas, food deliveries and electricity were still days away. Using the pantry items on hand, Aaron and his staff stoked up the BBQ and provided a hot meal and a gathering place for the community. Cooking in the dark while wearing a headlamp turned out to be one of the best weekends of his career.
Now, more than ever, the staff at Trading Post understands the importance of community and the healing power of food. To keep current with Trading Post’s latest projects and holiday events, keep an eye on their social media page.
Thank you to all of our chefs, restaurant owners and producers for continuing to provide food that is Good, Clean and Fair.
About Ellen Shick
Ellen Shick is a proud Slow Food member and is always on the lookout for ways to feed the world, one delicious meal at a time. Traveling through Italy has become a passion and life journey. Ellen’s blog An Italian Dish is her place to share travel adventures, recipes, photos, books, and stories about her love of Italy, the food and the people.