November 27, 2012
Feeding Crane Farms/Lulu's Kitchen hosting open house

Steel Magnolia.jpg

Feeding Crane Farms is on the move -- again. The organic farm and forward-thinking food operation based in Natomas is hosting an open house at its newest venture, Lulu's Kitchen.

If you're into the food scene and curious about a young company on the rise, you'll want to stop by and get to know these folks. The event is this Tuesday (Dec. 4) from 5-8 p.m. It is open to the public, but those interested in attending are asked to RSVP via email, Several of the food companies that use the kitchen will also be on hand serving samples.

In September in this space, you learned about Feeding Crane's purchase of Steel Magnolia Commercial Kitchen (at 16th and H streets). The kitchen has been an excellent resource for cooking classes, caterers (who need to prepare food in a commercial facility that has been inspected by the county) and chefs who have done pop-up style dinners (among them, Pajo Bruich, who is now executive chef at the rather amazing Enotria, and Mark Liberman, who is now executive chef at the excellent AQ in San Francisco). It will officially be renamed, complete with new signage, shortly. Lulu's Kitchen is named for Feeding Crane owner Brian Shaad's grandmother, MaryLou Cayocca.

farm scene.jpg

I get the impression Feeding Crane Farms has only begun to tap into the potential of this place. It is going to be using the location for its CSA box pick-up. It's also preparing food products it plans to sell to stores, including a hot sauce that farm manager Shannin Stein described to me as "pretty darn good." The hot sauce is the creation of Feeding Crane chef Nika Charity, who tapped into the abundance of pardon peppers growing at the farm. Feeding Crane will also hold cooking classes at the facility.

"We've been showing the facility to more caterers and producers by the day," Stein said. "We've received a pretty positive reaction. Business is taking off and the potential for business is just unbelievable. There are so many ways we can impact the food community through the food kitchen. It's just thrilling."


The kitchen already has a potentially captive audience - the tens of thousands of motorists heading home to the suburbs along 16th Street/Hwy. 160. Until now, Steel Magnolia never really tapped into that potential. With improved signage, motorists won't have to guess what is going on there.

Additionally, Stein says Feeding Crane Farms will be offering a special CSA box the week before Christmas. Those interested can make a one-time order via the website, (as of today, it's still under construction but is expected to be up and running by Friday) or by emailing The weekly CSA box program is slated to return by late January or early Fenruary, according to Stein.

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.

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