The Meat Olympics

The Meat Olympics

Team USA, with local butcher Danny Johnson at the helm, is traveling to Northern Ireland in March to take part in the biennial World Butchers’ Challenge. This is the first time that newcomer USA will compete in this arena and the stakes are high.

The team—made up of Johnson and Paul Carras of Taylor’s Market in Land Park, along with four other skilled butchers from around the U.S.—will compete against 11 countries at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast on March 21. France, the reigning champ, might be the team to beat, but Johnson says their competitors are worried about what the U.S. can do. Team USA has asked for and received some rule changes. “We have them scratching their heads,” he says.

Writer Jenn Rice described the WBC “as the butcher industry’s Summer Olympic Games” in Food and Wine. Despite the hyperbole, the event has gravitas in the meat business. “This thing is a big deal for Paul and I, and for Sacramento,” Johnson says. “[It’s] the opportunity to do something in your trade on another continent.”

Edible Sac High

Edible Sac High

Room E29 at Sacramento High School is lively and slightly messy. Alumna Alicia Alves is presiding over a fragrant pot of pizza sauce simmering on a hot plate. There are dishes in the sink, colorful displays on the walls, and the floor could use a scrub. Steps to make macaroni and cheese, with a potato chip topping, are printed on a whiteboard. Three former students—the entrepreneurs behind Sangre Del Dragon—carry in boxes filled with hot sauce and sit down to a meal from Carl’s Jr. Over the PA system, someone announces free pizza in the library. A student wanders in from another classroom in search of warm water. Other students come and go. 

You Pick 'em

You Pick 'em

The number of enthusiastic people who showed up in the sticky heat for Flourish Farm’s first U-pick event in West Sacramento a few months ago astonished owner Laurie Gates. She doesn’t know how many attended; she was busy handing out containers, reminding people to put their flowers in water, and making change.

Managing Nature

Managing Nature

I woke to the sound of rain this morning. I listened to it filter through the leaves of the redwood, oak, and maple trees outside the window and watched it cascade off the roof tiles and into the gutter below. I pictured the immature trees the city recently planted in our neighborhood and wondered how many will survive the winter. They are twigs right now, babies really, insubstantial and frail.