Zero Waste & Live Oyster Action? Shuck Yeah!

CCOY_2014poster_vsmWhat makes for a great party? In addition to groovy music, delicious food & drink, and happy people, Zero Waste practices make the sun shine brighter at any festival, whether it’s a get-together in your backyard or a larger local event like the eclectic Central Coast Oyster & Music Festival.

Mr. Spice and I really enjoyed the many ways this San Luis Obispo County event’s organizers got their green on for foodies, especially locating the party at the end of south county’s most pleasant bike path, the Bob Jones Bike Trail. Before we pitched our first piece of trash into the proper receptacle, we parked our bikes for free with our local Bike Valet. Saved $10 and got a little exercise: nice!

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Nice K-Swiss Kicks, Sir

Recognize those bins from San Luis Obispo County’s SAVOR the Central Coast? Yes, the @CC_OysterFest also strives for Zero Waste with support from the Morro Bay Guerrilla Gardening Club who pioneered effective solutions across San Luis Obispo County for reducing the waste that eaters and drinkers toss into bins for removal to somewhere else. Slowing the stream of rubbish destined for our filling landfills should be a goal of foodies everywhere, especially those with kids & grandkids.

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future foodie?

We agree with Mark Bittman that foodies should be activists for a healthier, more sustainable food system, not elitists scrambling for the latest most greatest whatever. Zero Waste: an obvious place for foodies to initiate a little homegrown activism, especially if they’re considering a kitchen-garden-worm relationship. We anticipate that wise water-use practices, bicycle travel promotion, food waste composting, and other healthy lifestyle changes will be embraced by every major foodie event in the Central Coast—from Cooking for Solutions in the Northern Central Coast to World of Pinot Noir in the Southern Central Coast—by the end of 2015. If you or an organization you know wants more information about how to produce a Zero Waste foodie event, please contact us for more information.
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Serious Shucking and Casual Jiving

Whether grown in the Central Coast’s Morro Bay, Northern California’s Tomales Bay, or other briny climes, oysters remain a fixture of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch “best choice” list due to their filter feeder nature. They don’t need to be fed other small fish to develop and grow as do some species produced with aquaculture practices.

We enjoyed watching the competitive oyster shucking competition at the 2014 festival; the audience was cautioned to remain at a short distance from the shuckers to avoid getting splashed with oyster liquor and flying shell bits. But we were encouraged to egg on—er—cheer on our favorite shuckers.

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This shucker gets style points for arranging shucked oysters in the shade and garnishing with a piece of decorative seaweed

Now, what would go with this freshly shucked oyster we have here? How about some outstanding dry rosé from our friends at La Montagne Winery in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto? Or their super interesting Pinot Blanc, or one of their gold-medal Pinot Noirs, or…you see where I’m going with this. I’m quite sure that Kimberly Smith is just the kind of person that winemaker-sommelier Paul Lato recommends you hire if in need of a winemaker: “Hire a housewife who can cook for her family and she will do the job.” After years of making gourmet meals for her family while raising the kids, Kimberly now channels so much love and focus on her ultra-premium wines, they’re winning awards right and left. Each bottling brings forth a new wine-baby that has received the attention of a woman in love with flavor and unafraid in the kitchen.

Kimberly and Theron Smith of LaMontagne Winery

Kimberly and Theron Smith of LaMontagne Winery

Elsewhere in the festival grounds, we enjoyed listening to the live music, especially cool Rey Fresco.

great music from Ventura's Rey Fresco

great music from Ventura’s Rey Fresco

More Zero Waste Ideas for Foodie Parties

Now that we have a plan to deal with discarded food and recyclables at our next party, what other choices can foodies make to reduce waste and promote sustainability while living large?

Craft Beer in Kegs

Kegs of great local craft brews, obviously. Wouldn’t *you* like a fresh draft of some cold Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company and Firestone Walker Brewing Company brews poured from the tap into a durable, reusable cup or glass? We love attending parties with great beer and are officially super spoiled foodies with our fantastic local choices from these and other local brewers.

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You definitely want a beer after riding your bike up Santa Barbara County’s Figueroa Mountain (4,534 ft/1,382 m)

Cloth Napkins

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The array of patterns at the Picking Daisies SAVOR the Central Coast booth

The lovely folks at Picking Daisies in San Luis Obispo offer easy rental of their fun & pretty cloth napkins for foodie events, including cleaning and folding. Of course, you might consider getting a set of your own cloth napkins for home use. We still have a slowly-used roll of paper towels in our house for draining bacon and cleaning up nasty messes one wouldn’t want befouling cloth, but cloth napkins are just so easy.

EVO_bottlesPalate-refreshing Water

The best parties offer a range of drink options for wine lovers, craft beer fans, and tea-toatalers alike. A refreshing and palate-cleansing sparkly water developed by two California Polytechnic State University graduates, evo makes a great choice for parties. We watched friends and family enjoying cucumber-flavored evo at our wedding house party a couple of years ago: thank you Andrew and Nicole Macaluso for helping us keep our guests happy & hydrated with your wonderful product.

Now with BPA-free plastic bottles on the outside and lightly-flavored refreshing carbonated water on the inside, evo delighted our party guests of all stripes, especially when we started opening some fine Central Coast SIP Certified wines for tasting (thank you Tolosa Winery and Pisoni Vineyards!). The carbonation in evo helps cleanse the palate while the delicate flavors of cucumber, yuzu lemon, and pomelo grapefruit add further refreshment before trying the next fine food & drink taste. Sustain your palate!

This gourmet water paired well with the delicious wedding cake prepared by our friend Chef Nanette Smalley featuring edible flowers from her community garden plot. Gratitude!

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