Cover art for podcast California Foodways

California Foodways

44 EpisodesProduced by Lisa MorehouseWebsite

For California Foodways, reporter Lisa Morehouse spends a lot of time in her car. She’s on a kind of mission: to travel to every county in the state, finding stories about food, agriculture, and -- most importantly -- the people that make both possible.

44 Episodes | 2018 - 2022

How a Hmong Market in Yuba County Became 'Everybody's Store'

May 3rd, 2022

11:35

On the edge of the town of Marysville in Yuba County, there’s market with an inventory that would rival Asian grocery stories in big cities. In the …

'We Just Have Faith': Gold Country Jewish Community Strives to Connect Through COVID

February 22nd, 2022

13:43

In February 2020, I went to Sonora to join the Mother Lode Jewish Community in their Tu BiShvat celebration, honoring trees and the harvest. Just …

Sierra Cattlewomen

August 31st, 2021

6:21

There are plenty of people who -- in order to pursue their passions -- have jobs on the side to support themselves. It’s pretty common to hear about a novelist who does PR, an actor waiting tables. But a rancher? For …

The Abbey of New Clairvaux: Wine in the Wilderness

August 24th, 2021

7:15

The soil in Tehama County is unfit, and the temperatures are all wrong, but the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux are still trying to make wine here. It’s part of their ancestry. Cistercian monks have made wine in …

Gold Rush Status Meal: The Hangtown Fry

August 17th, 2021

5:38

If you want to recreate the Gold Rush experience — without all the terrible conditions — you can pan for gold, even descend into mines. In a few …

Legalizing Cannabis Impacts Food and Farming

August 10th, 2021

8:18

When cannabis was 100% illegal, the price per pound was high. Since 2016, when Californians passed Prop 64 legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the economy in the northern part of the state has been in limbo, …

Coffee Farms? In California?

August 3rd, 2021

7:06

The most commonly traded commodity in the world is oil. What comes in second? Coffee! It’s been grown and loved since at least the 13th century in places like Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America. As a …

Fish Blood in Their Veins -- But Few Salmon In Their River

July 27th, 2021

10:01

Up in far northern California, where the Klamath River meets the Pacific Ocean, this year’s drought is making a bad situation there even worse. Since early May, baby salmon have been dying from a warm-water disease. A …

Nuts for Modesto: Baseball, Religion, and a Land-Use Fight

July 20th, 2021

8:35

So what do baseball, a little-known religious group and a land-use fight have in common? If you’re in Stanislaus County, the answer is: nuts. Almonds are the county’s top crop, bringing in a record-breaking $1.125 …

Farmers' Secret Allies: Birds

July 13th, 2021

12:05

Maybe you’re one of the people who started noticing birds more during the pandemic. A lot of us spent time in our yards, or looking out windows, seeing these creatures in a new way. Even though we’re noticing them more, …

An Oasis for Date Palms, Not For Their Workers

June 15th, 2021

8:48

It’s said that date palm trees want their feet in water, and their heads in fire. It makes sense, then that more than 90% of the dates harvested in the U.S. grow in California’s Eastern Coachella Valley. Irrigation …

From Mistake to Legendary Dish: Napa's Malfatti

June 8th, 2021

7:53

Tourists to the Napa Valley may visit their favorite exclusive wineries and fine dining restaurants. But locals love a more humble dish called malfatti. It’s a little spinach and cheese dumpling, shaped like a pinky …

A Sit-Down Dinner for Military Families

June 1st, 2021

5:52

Members of the military are often deployed or stationed far away from their extended families. When military families make friends, they often move. Those are facts of life for many military families in many military …

In Isolated Trinity County, This Man is a Food Lifeline

May 25th, 2021

10:35

Trinity County is one of those places that doesn’t get in the news much, unless it’s for marijuana or wildfires. It’s a beautiful, remote, rural part …

A Frozen Burrito Legacy in the Central Valley

May 18th, 2021

9:20

For this story, I visited a factory, a kind of factory I'd never seen before. I got suited up in safety gear -- smock, rubber gloves, a hair net -- not to protect me, but to protect the product made here. It's in almost …

Dry Farming During Drought

May 11th, 2021

7:19

Are you worried about water cutbacks during this dry year? Try farming…without irrigation, relying only on rainwater. But lots of crops like wheat and grapes are “dry farmed” across the state. There are tomatoes on the …

Spreckles: Farmworker Housing and a Changing Company Town

May 4th, 2021

9:50

If you’ve read your John Steinbeck and listened to your Merle Haggard, or if you grew up in a farmworker family, you know that farm laborers in California have struggled to find decent housing for decades. Except in a …

Amigo Bob: Tree Hunter

April 27th, 2021

7:44

Who doesn’t like a treasure hunt?  The search for something mysterious and valuable, with just a few clues to guide you…it’s pretty irresistible. For this episode, I take you back a few years to introduce you to a …

Remembering A Few Pioneers in California Agriculture

April 27th, 2021

10:16

I've met some amazing people reporting for California Foodways. At the end of 2020, I learned that some of those people passed away. KQED's California Report Magazine invited me to talk with host Sasha Khokha about …

Humble Burger Helped Fuel the Building of Shasta Dam

December 8th, 2020

8:38

At Damburger in Redding, each burger patty is so thin, it gets crispy on the edges. It's never, ever served with a tomato. The Damburger original’s a signature item the burger joint's been making since the 1930s, when …

Feeding the Trailblazers

December 1st, 2020

7:42

“Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions, and more!” That’s the actual motto for the California Conservation Corps, the state program that puts …

Home Baked: One Woman's Subversive Response to the AIDS Crisis

November 24th, 2020

28:12

The coronavirus brings back memories of another public health crisis, where the federal government was slow to respond and communities had to take care of each other: the AIDS epidemic. One woman who became an …

After Devastating Fire, Farmers and Ranchers Heal Soil, Community

November 10th, 2020

7:25

So far this year, wildfires have burned more than 4 million acres in California. That’s more than double the previous record.  I thought it might be a good time to hear a story I reported from Calaveras County. In …

Sikh Festival Reminder of Century-Old Farming History

November 10th, 2020

6:15

Last month a parade drew over 80,000 people to the Sacramento Valley. Before any floats passed, people in colorful clothing and turbans sprinkled …

Trans Man Finds -- and Creates -- Refuge in Family's Small-Town Cafe

July 30th, 2019

10:40

Jackson is a Gold Rush-era town with quaint brick buildings on its Main Street, and a reputation as the last of its kind to get rid of brothels and …

Cherries: A "Canary in a Coalmine" for Ag and Climate Change

May 14th, 2019

7:12

There’s just something about cherries. They’re small, sweet and crunchy, with an early harvest that tells us summer’s coming. Right now, though, this beloved fruit is a bit of a canary in a coal mine. Since the drought, …

Lynda Trang Dai Goes From Pop Star To Sandwich Maven

April 30th, 2019

7:24

What do Jimmy Buffett, Jay-Z and Kenny Rogers have in common? They’ve all parlayed their fame to sell food, in restaurants and chains. In Orange County, there’s a banh mi sandwich shop run by Lynda Trang Dai, a …

"Chasing the Burn" For Morel Mushrooms

April 16th, 2019

7:01

The Valley Fire that hit Lake County in September, 2015 was one of the most destructive in California history. The hills here, once thick with pines and firs, now look like a moonscape with trees. This is just the …

A Tiny, Rural High School Wins Top Culinary Prize

April 2nd, 2019

7:33

You might expect the winners of a California high school culinary competition to come from one of the state's restaurant destinations like Los …

Eating Chinese Food On The US/Mexico Border

March 19th, 2019

7:57

If you ask people in the city of Mexicali, Mexico about their most notable regional cuisine, they won’t say street tacos or mole, They’ll say Chinese …

Nancy's Airport Cafe

March 5th, 2019

4:58

Between Sacramento and Redding, Highway 5 cuts through the middle of rice country. In the town of Willows, right next to rice fields, there's a …

Farming Behind Barbed Wire Fences: Japanese Americans Remember WWII Incarceration

February 19th, 2019

12:51

On this Day of Remembrance, here's a story about Japanese Americans in California. Japanese Americans have been particularly vocal in opposition to …

Beef Is Much More Than "What's For Dinner" At This Northern California Ranch

February 5th, 2019

11:27

Jim and Mary Rickert came together because of cows. They met and fell in love at Cal Poly. Within a decade, they were managing a ranch just below the …

Invasive 20-lb Rodent Could Wreak Havoc on Ca Ag

January 22nd, 2019

12:47

Merced County is California’s sweet potato capital. In this story, co-reporter Angela Johnston and I meet a sweet potato farming family that’s facing …

A California Tribe Bets on Olive Oil

October 16th, 2018

7:45

The Capay Valley is pretty serene, except for the cacophony inside its most lucrative business: the Cache Creek Casino. Up to 2,000 visitors a night …

Milking Cows...In Prison?

October 2nd, 2018

8:21

Making license plates is the stereotypical job for a prisoner, but there’s a group of inmates in the Central Valley have very different work. They supply milk to almost all the prisons in the state system. The low …

A Pop-Up Coffeehouse on the Pacific Crest Trail

September 18th, 2018

8:57

The thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail start in Mexico, traversing 2650 miles into Canada. The lazier among us might have just read Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s PCT memoir. But the hikers, their toenails fall off, and …

The Forgotten Filipino Pioneers of the Delano Grape Strike

September 4th, 2018

10:14

At the beginning of September in 1965, one of the most significant movements in modern day labor history -- the Farmworker Movement -- began in California's Central Valley. You’ve probably heard of the United Farm …

From Bear Feeding Shows to Bear-Proof Containers

August 21st, 2018

12:57

When you camp in Yosemite and other parks with bears, you can’t just leave your food out on the picnic table or in your car overnight. Anything with a scent has to be stored in bear-proof containers: bear lockers for …

Trucks, Planes, and Flying Fish

August 7th, 2018

8:56

If you are driving along the striking Highway 395 in the Eastern Sierra, chances are you’ve come to fish for trout in one of the area’s alpine lakes. Fishing is synonymous with life in the communities that dot the …

From Farmworker to Restaurant Owner

July 24th, 2018

9:57

Rosa Hernandez left Oaxaca when she was 20 to work in the fields in Madera, California. Now, she co-owns a restaurant, cooking the food of her homeland for the many indigenous Mexicans who live in the area. She did it, …

Can Agricultural Development And Wildlife Coexist? Rice Farmers Think So

July 10th, 2018

14:20

California grows a lot of rice, second only to the Mississippi Delta. But like a lot of agricultural development, rice cultivation took away a lot of …

So Much More Than Tacos

June 26th, 2018

9:13

 

The Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino is proof that sometimes a restaurant is more than just a restaurant. It’s the first stop in this new podcast: California Foodways. I'm Lisa Morehouse, and I'll be travelling county by …

Season 1 Trailer

June 21st, 2018

2:16

California Foodways producer Lisa Morehouse spends a lot of time in her car. She’s on a kind of mission: to travel to every county in the state, …

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