Monday, October 22, 2007

In the news: Water (of course), Golden Gourmet Mushrooms not local after all, and "Super-fresh" fish in Carlsbad

I am back from my week-long hiatus to the east coast and find myself at home this morning. Wildfires are burning throughout the County, forcing mass evacuations (including Poway where I work) and closing down freeways. Might as well make use of the extra time by catching up on the local news. (Note: some of the links are not working at this point due to high traffic related to the fires on the news websites. Hold tight and check back later today.)

Water shortage: It’s been several weeks since the first whisperings of a potential water shortage were reported by local media and since then, KPBS, our local public radio and television station, has been developing more comprehensive coverage of this issue. They have created an interactive feature on their website called Tapped Out with maps illustrating where San Diego’s water comes from (for you visually minded folks, this is very cool!), explanations of the issues at hand, links to news stories, and a one-hour television piece. My favorite story to come out of their coverage (the historian in me) is the short video San Diego has a History of Water Challenges. Complete with historic photographs and commentary (a must-see).

Let it not be said that the San Diego Union-Tribune has been sitting on its laurels. They also have reported on the history of water woes here in San Diego in a piece called City’s water woes have a history. If you haven’t heard of the eccentric Rainmaker who the City hired back in 1915 to make it rain (and the disastrous flood that followed), read this article and try to decide for yourself if it was coincidence or a bit of the supernatural.

Still confused about what’s going on? Read Sizing up Water Worries, an FAQ about what steps have already been taken to alleviate the problem and what is being proposed right now.

After reading and watching the above, you will likely be inspired to do something about it. Head over to Mayor Sander’s 20-Gallon Challenge website to learn about how to cut back on your water use. As renters, Brian and I have little control over many of water uses in our complex (although our landlord has already installed a zeroscape garden that requires only minimal irrigation), but we can cut back on baths and take shorter showers, not run the water when washing the dishes, and make sure our laundry loads are full. (If you’re a home owner or business owner you can make even more substantial changes, some of which can bring you monetary compensation.) From a localtarian’s perspective, every bit of water saved by us city dwellers can be freed up for our local producers. They’re facing 30% cutbacks on January 1st, so sign up for the challenge and help ease their burden.

Here are some other recent stories that may be of interest:

Complaint filed over organic label: Uh-oh, local organic mushroom producer (and one which I have recommended in the past), Golden Gourmet Mushrooms, is in the news over its organic certification. A public-interest group (not named) alleges that the San Marcos company “sold conventionally grown mushrooms as organic, doctored organic-certification documents and misled consumers about where its mushrooms were grown.” Golden Gourmet has been importing all of its mushrooms from Japan during the construction of their new plant (President Craig Anderson admits that their customers may not have actually known that). The interest groups alleges that Golden Gourmet was selling those Japanese mushrooms as organic before the Japanese company, Hokuto Corp., was officially certified organic. I’ll follow up if I hear anymore, but as for now, know that their mushrooms are not local. I suggest Mountain Meadow Mushrooms in Escondido.

A Fresh Start: Pelly’s Fish Market in Carlsbad is featured as serving up “super-fresh” and local seafood. Has anybody out there given this place a try?

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