From Kerri Stenson’s Woodside farm, Edible Silicon Valley makes local food connections
Plenty of clues point to Kerri Stenson’s latest endeavor. Kerri’s gold SUV sports a “Cal Ag” personalized license plate. And then there’s that slightly perplexing acronym: EDBL SV. All is revealed when she pulls into the driveway of her Woodside home and opens the garage.
Inside, there are boxes. Lots of magazine-stuffed boxes, labeled “Edible… Another Fresh Batch.” And thus, EDBL SV = Edible Silicon Valley, the newest local food publication to hit the stands, run by Kerri Stenson, publisher and editor.
Up until last year, folks who know Kerri would have coined her as a Woodside über volunteer. “I’ve been very, very involved in the town of Woodside, just community wise, really involved with the school. I ran the PTA for years and the live auction for years. I’ve run the May Day parade for our entire community for eight years,” she recounted. But Kerri decided it was time to “give back” through a professional venture, and Edible magazines came to her attention.
A growing network of 80+ locally owned and edited quarterly publications (ranging from Edible Atlanta to Edible Tampa Bay), Edible’s mission is “to transform the way consumers shop for, cook, eat and relate to local food.” Kerri was smitten. “I instantly contacted Edible Communities, and sure enough, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties were still available,” she said. “So, I jumped in. I think a lot of people thought it was a brave move.”
Kerri admits it was a big stretch — that felt more like a natural extension. “I have no publishing experience, but I’ve always loved to write. And I’ve always been a real community person and a health food oriented person, so it was a great meshing,” she said. “I’m involved with every little nook and cranny because I really care about the product.”
For Kerri, that means coming up with the editorial and managing the writers, plus tasks like overseeing sales, graphic design and social media. And this past July, it even meant emceeing the chef demos at Menlo Park’s Connoisseurs’ Marketplace. “I can honestly say I had never emceed a chef’s demo, but it turned out to be really fun. We got some great restaurants, including the Menlo Grill, LB Steak and the Left Bank, which are all thinking really sustainably right now.”
As for starting a food-centric venture in tech-centric Silicon Valley, she said: “I love the concept of getting people away from being behind a computer all day long and getting out to a Farmer’s Market or a food festival or a restaurant that’s serving something new.”
Here’s another clue that Kerri is fully embracing her Edible calling. Back at her Woodside home, Kerri, along with her husband, Erik, and children, Berkley and Wyatt, work their own family garden. But there was another piece of their property that wasn’t being used. “When I started Edible, I thought we needed to do a small farm there. We happened to be talking to Mark Sweyer who owns Woodside Bakery & Cafe, and he said, ‘I really want to do farm-to-table foods,’ so we kind of came together to do this.”
Woodside Bakery & Café transformed Kerri’s patch of land into raised beds teeming with seasonal fare like squash, parsley, thyme, beets, fennel and Swiss chard. “This will all be tomatoes next summer,” Kerri said, gesturing to a bed of untouched soil that will one day yield a local restaurant salad. Whatever the crop, it all fits into Kerri’s master plan: paying homage to seasonal and sustainable local food and making Edible connections.
With the changing of the seasons comes the next edition of Edible Silicon Valley. Fall 2013 (Issue 4) is due out October 1. The ad-supported publication is free and available at locations all over Silicon Valley including Menlo Park’s Beltramo’s, Peet’s Coffee, Café Zoe, Trader Joe’s and Willows Market as well as Freewheel Brewing Company at Marsh Manor. To view Edible Silicon Valley’s blog, subscribe to the publication or sign up for its free newsletter, visit www.ediblesiliconvalley.com.
Photo by Irene Searles