That’s Humboldt…
Just a short, five-hour drive to a major city

Veterans and Vegetables - Celebrating Humboldt Heroes

There’s always soooo much going on in Humboldt in October as everyone scrambles to pack everything in before the rains start (at least we hope they will). As we approach the end of the month, things seem to be getting busier than ever, so I’m glad I was able to spend much of last weekend in the garden, harvesting the last of the corn (recipe next week!), and preparing vegetable beds for the winter.

Remembering Past Heroes

Jim Sloan

Jim Sloan, who served on the aircraft carrier Coral Sea in the early 1960s. Photo by Tammy Rae Scott

Tonight sees the opening of Echoes of War, which runs at the Arcata Playhouse through Sunday. I’ll be going, because I always find myself drawn to other people’s stories, and this one will be pretty special.

Veterans, their families and survivors of war will present their experiences of coming home. Through a series of workshops over a six-week period, co-producer and local storyteller Ali Freedlund has guided participants as they crafted their experiences into pieces to present at the playhouse. At the same time, co-producer and audio engineer Tammy Rae Scott was collecting audio interviews and images from the wider community. Directors Zuzka Sabata and Jackie Dandeneau have brought these elements together, weaving in visual images and live music to create the final production. I'm really looking forward to the experience.

Participants include Vietnam veterans, a National Guardsman who served in Afghanistan, a Bosnian Muslim who fled her home in Sarajevo, a Jewish woman who escaped from Nazi Germany at the expense of a long absence from her family, a veteran of Iraq, and Jim Sloan, the Navy veteran in the photo above, who tells the story of the Vietnam vets who ride motorcycles cross-country every year to visit the Vietnam Memorial.

If you miss the stage production, it is being recorded for broadcast with the audio interviews on KHSU at 7pm on Veteran's Day.

Celebrating Today’s Heroes


The Playhouse hosts a celebration of a different set of heroes next week – our local farmers and other food producers – at the annual A Night Out with Humboldt Made dinner on October 29. The event starts at 5:30 with cocktails (always a good place to start!), followed by a buffet dinner and short presentations from some of Humboldt’s finest producers. Tickets start at a very reasonable $20, so why not join me in saying a big and delicious thank you to the people who play a huge role in keeping us happy and healthy?

After all, in amongst all the other things going on, this Saturday is National Food Day!

Not to be Missed

Except by me, unfortunately, as volunteer and other commitments prevent me from participating in two more events this weekend that are very tempting – and very Humboldt:

Ferndale Rep’s Closet–Purging Sale - Ferndale Repertory Theatre will haul three truckloads of costumes to the Arcata Playhouse for a sale from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday October 24. Just in time for Halloween, there’ll be costumes of all types and sizes – and most of them will be $5 or less. How can you beat that? And you’ll know you have a totally unique costume.

Leira and the costumesPhoto: Jan Alcock. Overstocked costume rack, Leira V. Satlof, FRT Artistic Producing Director

The Sustainable Living Expo and the North Coast Cultural Skills Share Gathering at Redwood Acres on October 24 and 25 – everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sustainable living practices and indigenous crafts in one place.

Who are these people who say there’s nothing to do in Humboldt???

Marimba One presents international marimba soloist to perform Bizet, Bach, and more on the marimba.

International marimba soloist performs Bizet, Bach, and more on the marimba.


International soloist Matthew Coley will display his lauded virtuosity during a concert in Arcata at 8 p.m. on Monday, October 26th, at the Arcata Playhouse. Doors open at 7:30.

Matthew has captivated audiences around the world with his unique repertoire and impressive command of the instruments voice, making it sound like an exquisitely balanced quartet with four mallets.

Coley will perform contemporary pieces, his own compositions, and transcriptions of Carmenby Georges Bizet and Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach.

He is playing an instrument crafted by Marimba One, based in Arcata and considered makers of the world’s finest marimbas. It has been the choice for years of Coley, who says “I feel the Marimba One instruments respond to the performer’s every need and desire. Their instrument fills the room, turns heads, commands one to listen, and makes you fall in love over and over again to the marimba!”

Tickets are $15/$13, available at Wildberries Market or at the door.



A Night Out with Humboldt Made

When Humboldt Made gets together and throws a potluck, it's legendary.  Our members bring a dish that highlights their own products and the results are magic.  Those of us in this organization are spolled every few months when we get to attend one of these dinners where the guest list is limited to those invited.  But not anymore!  Now the public is going to get to experience the culinary delight while enjoying the ambience of support, love and community.

We welcome you to join us, October 29th at the Arcata Playhouse.  Cocktails starting at 5:30

Ticket prices

$30 - table seating

$50- couple table (includes two tickets)

$20 - riser seat

Tickets will be avalible at the door or you can order them now here

Soup Season is Here!

Many, many apologies for my loooong absence from these pages. Other areas of my life have been crazy busy – NorCAN Conference organizing, North Coast Journal theatre reviewing, my best friend of forty years moving to Eureka to take the helm at the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation – all of which left me little time for Humboldt Made-ing.

But it is fall, and that means soup season. However, the farmers' market is still overflowing with summer produce, so a couple of weeks ago I did a little experiment, roasting hot peppers instead of the usual bell peppers for soup. I was very happy with the result, so yesterday I cooked up a bigger batch that was equally delicious, and I’m happy to share the recipe with you here.

One word of warning – do not make this soup in an unventilated kitchen. Open a door or window, or at least turn on the extractor fan. Peppers off-gas like crazy and can cause coughing and breathing problems. (But it’s worth it, I promise!).

Roasted Hot Pepper Soup


  • 10-12 assorted hot and sweet peppers (mine came from Flying Blue Dog Farm)
  • 1 cup diced yellow potatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2T butter
  • 2t smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 cup cream
  • 8 cups water
  • Salt to taste

Turn on the broiler. While it’s heating up, cut each pepper in half and scrape out and toss the seeds and ribs. Wash your hands thoroughly. When the broiler is good and hot, lay the peppers out on foil on a baking tray and place 4”-6” from the heat. Let cook for 10-15 minutes or until blackened and blistered.

Remove peppers from the heat and use tongs to carefully place them in a brown paper bag. Seal the bag and leave it alone for 20 minutes minimum. The steam inside the bag makes it easier to peel skin off the peppers.

While the peppers are steaming, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat (I use a Dutch oven). Add the potatoes and onions, sauté until softened

onions and potatoes

Remove from the heat and set aside while you carefully peel the peppers. They will fall apart, but that’s OK. Chop them into small pieces and wash your hands again.

Place the pot back on the heat. Add the peppers, the smoked paprika, and the wine. Cook off the wine and add the 8 cups of water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or so, until everything’s nice and soft.

Turn off the heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the hot liquid to a food processor and puree it (you may need to batch-process it, depending on the capacity of your food processor).

finished soup

Stir in the cream, et voilà - a great soup for a chilly autumn evening!

PS – If the soup is too spicy, adding more cream will tone it down.


That's Humboldt...

Creating a model for sustainable forestry (says National Geographic)