Andrea Seppinni loves dessert. About two years ago, she founded Conscious Creamery with her husband, Kevin. Their company makes artisan gelato—without dairy, eggs, mixes, artificial fillers, emulsifiers or stabilizers. Rotating crops of flavors are crafted from cashew cream, sugar, and fresh, usually local, fruit.
BOOMERANG KIDS. GROWING-UPS. FAILED FLEDGLINGS. Young adults who live with their parents have been called not-so-nice names over the past decade or so. Along with being somewhat derogatory, they don’t provide an accurate picture of this complex and growing social trend. According to a Pew Research Center report from last year, 15 percent of Millennials aged 25 to 35 were living in a household with a parent as of 2016. That percentage is higher than Generation Xers in 2000, late Baby Boomers in 1990 and the Silent Generation in 1964.
I’m inside a shipping container located in a residential neighborhood. On both sides of the aisle, rows and rows of tender plants—heads of lettuce, herbs and microgreens—grow in trays. They bask under energy-efficient LED lights, bathing everything in a red-tinged glow. A thin film of water flows past the plants’ roots, providing nutrients, while fans circulate the air. Jason Levens, 36, the founder of Aldon’s Leafy Greens, spends a lot of time in this engineered environment, tending his hydroponically grown charges, but he loves the work. “Every single plant in here I’ve seeded,” he says.
When I Google “hydroponics,” I discover it comes from the Greek words for water and work—water working. It is a way to grow plants in water, without soil.
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.”
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.
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.
I noticed her about a week ago, holding on by a thin strand between the truck’s mirror and the driver’s side door. She is a tiny tightrope walker with spindly legs. The spider is the color of a golden raisin—an earthy tone that makes her seem less spider-like.