Handmade Everything at The Ecology Center

The San Juan Capistrano environmental education organization has a new chef-in-residence, and is holding its inaugural artisan craft market

There’s always something happening at The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. Though the community table brunches are on hiatus, enviro-education classes continue, and on Saturday, Nov. 8, crafters and artisans will gather for Handmade: A Maker’s Market. Expect textiles, soap, jewelry, and furniture, starting at 11 a.m. and running all day. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for low-key and local holiday shopping.

Good food news, too: chef Kerri Cacciata, who in addition to running her Local Tastes Better catering is the manager of the downtown Santa Ana Farmers Market, is the Ecology Center’s first chef-in-residence, directing all culinary programming. Cacciata says there’ll be monthly farm-to-fork cooking classes, plus those that teach backyard skills like the chicken-keeping classes she’s taught in the past. She also plans to create a line of Ecology Center preserves, made with produce grown on site and sold in the center’s farm store.

Cacciata’s Local Tastes Better will be selling food at Handmade, but as it goes with a market-driven menu, Cacciata hadn’t quite settled on what she’ll be preparing when I spoke with her. “Something seasonal and fun,” she says. “Probably going to use my maple apple cider vinaigrette on a salad, and roasted butternut squash with brown butter as a spread on a sandwich. Roasted apple something?” Even the coffee and doughnuts will have local provenance—they’ll be provided by Costa Mesa’s Kéan and Sidecar, respectively.

 

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