Crab feeds, Good Food awards and food trends in 2022


Crab and crab feeds return to the North Coast

Finally, the commercial crab season has opened on the Sonoma Coast. It’s time to get out your butter warmers and bibs for the return of some of the beloved crab feeds held across the county for charities.

Here are a few very popular crab feeds already scheduled:

  • The Sonoma County Farm Bureau will hold its 32nd annual Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest on Feb. 5 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds’ Hall of Flowers & Grace Pavilion in Santa Rosa. Reception/silent auction starts at 4 p.m. and the crab feed dinner and live auction starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $150, including premier wine, beer and spirits and live music, with proceeds going to the farm bureau’s ag education programs. To reserve:
  • Active 20-30 Redwood Empire No. 1029 will hold its Annual Crab Feed for Kids, Shellabration Soiree, at 5 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Friedman Events Center. The event features cocktails, all-you-can-eat crab, entertainment and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $60, with proceeds going to Children’s Charities of Sonoma County. To reserve: and click on Events. Must be 21 or older to attend. 4676 Mayette Ave.
  • The Russian River Rotary will hold its 35th Annual Crab Feed as a drive-thru pickup from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts. The menu features crab, pasta and salad and the theme is the Roaring ’20s. An online auction will be held Jan. 24-31, and a live auction will be held 6-8 p.m. Jan. 29. Tickets are $185 for two. To reserve:


Good Food Awards weekend is back

Good Food Foundation events will return to San Francisco at 5 p.m. Jan. 14 with a gala awards ceremony and announcement of the 2022 winners at the Palace of Fine Arts.

A retail shop selling items from Good Food Awards winners will open at the Ferry Building starting Jan. 16 and continue for two weeks. Items from more than 90 of the 2022 Good Food Awards winners will be available for purchase.

Tickets to the awards ceremony are $145. To reserve, go to and click on Awards Tickets.


Whole Foods predicts 10 food trends for 2022

What does the future of food and drink taste like? Whole Foods and their Trends Council experts have announced their predictions for the cutting-edge products that will win over our taste buds in 2022. They are:

1. Ultra-urban farming: In 2013, a Whole Foods store opened in Brooklyn with a Gotham Greens greenhouse on top, growing fresh and sustainably farmed herbs and salad greens using sunlight and 100%-renewable electricity. Since then, producers are finding pioneering ways to grow hyperlocal crops and maximize efficiency.

2. Yuzu: This obscure citrus, mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea and China, is getting a star turn in the kitchen. Tart and sour, the tangerine-size fruit is popping up in dressings, drinks and more. Restaurant chefs also are using its citrusy flavor to accent their soups, veggies, noodles and fish.

3. Reducetarianism: Many of us are plant-centric eaters but not ready to give up meat entirely. Reducetarianism means we are reducing our consumption of meat, dairy and eggs without cutting them out completely. When animal products are on the menu, reducetarians make them count, opting for premium grass-fed meat and pasture-raised eggs.

4. Hibiscus: The tart, sweet flavor of hibiscus has a long history in the world of teas, and consumers have long recognized its high vitamin C content. Now, it is appearing in fruit spreads, yogurts and drinks that show off its pink hue.

5. Buzz-less spirits: The alcohol-free spirits category had record growth in Whole Foods stores this year. With millennials and Gen Z-ers dabbling in “drysolation” during the pandemic, the sober-centric trend continues.

6. Grains that give back: Grocery grains have gone environmental, especially those grown with farming methods that address soil health. Kernza, a perennial grain developed by the sustainable agriculture nonprofit The Land Institute, has a sweet, nutty flavor and helps with nutrient cycling and overall soil ecology. You’ll find it in cereals like Cascadian Farm Kernza Flakes with Honey Oat Clusters Cereal and even beer such as Patagonia Provisions Long Root Pale Ale made with Kernza perennial grain.

7. Seize the sunflower seed: Sunflower seeds continue to change snacking in the 21st century, now appearing in crackers, ice creams and cheese.

8. Moringa’s moment: Moringa is traditionally used as an herbal remedy in India and Africa. The leaves have lots of nutrients, and the fast-growing, drought-resistant trees have been used as a source of food to fight malnutrition. Gaining steam as an alternative to matcha in the U.S., moringa now is sold in powder form and added to smoothies, sauces and baked goods.

9. Functional fizz: Today, we’re looking for sparkling drinks that not only taste good but have ingredients that balance the sweetness. That translates to soda with probiotics and fizzy tonics with added prebiotics and botanical ingredients.

10. Turmeric takes off: After being used for centuries in ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric has become popular in the U.S. as a dietary supplement. While golden milk lattes are nothing new, the spice is now taking root in packaged foods like cereals and sauerkraut.


Savory Spice owner shares spice ideas for 2022

Through the pandemic, we’ve been cooking at home more than before, and recent surveys predict that trend will continue.

According to Savory Spice, based in Denver with local stores in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, consumers are leaning more toward global flavors. Eastern Mediterranean, North African, East/Southeast Asian and Indian spices are among the top ingredients in the $16 billion global spices and seasonings market.

Savory Spice owner Janet Johnston, former host of the Food Network’s “Spice & Easy” show, shared some of the global spices, seeds and peppers every home cook should get acquainted with in 2022:

  • Ras el hanout, a Moroccan-style curry blend meaning “best of the best,” consists of sweet, warming spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, golden turmeric and floral saffron. It makes an elevating addition to rice, tagines and curries.
  • Fenugreek seeds are a member of the pea family and have a bittersweet maple syrup aroma and flavor. Like turmeric, fenugreek is becoming very well-known for its anti-inflammatory and other wellness properties. Add it to ghee-roasted potatoes, carrot soup and chutneys.
  • Urfa chile is a sun-dried Turkish chile with a purplish-black color, rich smoky flavor and medium heat. Sprinkle these on flatbreads and in salsas and drinks.
  • Baharat, also known as Lebanese allspice, is a peppery blend of Spanish paprika and sweet, citrus-forward spices. This versatile blend is traditionally used in lentil stews and with ground meats.
  • Tomato powder, made from dehydrated tomatoes, can be made into a paste, sauce or juice in seconds. No more opening cans of paste to use a portion and the rest goes to waste. Use in bloody marys, add color to Spanish rice, make spaghetti sauce and so much more.
  • Piri piri (a Swahili word that means “pepper-pepper”) chiles are very hard to come by here in the states, but after some extensive research, the spice company found the chile that most closely matches its flavor and heat — the pequin. If you like hot seasoning with great flavor, this one’s for you. Use it to spike homemade ketchup, mix it with molasses for a barbecue sauce or add it to coleslaw for a spicy kick.

Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or On Twitter @dianepete56

Diane Peterson

Features, The Press Democrat

I’m interested in the home kitchen, from sheet-pan suppers to the latest food trends. Food encompasses the world, its many cultures, languages and history. It is both essential and sensual. I also have my fingers on the pulse of classical music in Sonoma County, from student mariachi bands to jazz crossover and symphonic sounds. It’s all a rich gumbo, redolent of the many cultures that make up our country and the world.

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