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If it grows together, it goes together


Everyone keeps telling us to “dine with the seasons,” and there’s a big reason why. First, seasonal produce is peak produce, so it just tastes better. Second, eating local, seasonal stuff is milder on the Earth. I mean, why eat that sub-par plum shipped in from who-knows-where, when you can have a totally delicious kumquat grown at a nearby farm?

This is the concept behind Novo Restaurant’s new “passport dinner” featuring a four-course prix fixe dinner with wine June 7. This isn’t an advertisement for Novo as much as it is a shout-out to the amazing growers who will be showcased at length from appetizer to dessert. On the menu, you’ll find eats grown everywhere in the area, including Santa Maria, Cayucos, San Luis Obispo, Cambria, Ragged Point, Paso Robles, and Santa Margarita. Rock-star farms include Stepladder Ranch and Creamery, Kandarian Farms, Red Barn Farms, Pagnol Bakery, Cayucos Abalone Farm, Kiler Ridge, and Happy Acres. All of these local growers work hard to harvest fresh flavors for us, and I, for one, believe they deserve a hefty slice of the limelight.

Take it from Samantha Payette, Novo sommelier and wine director: Eating locally doesn’t have to be overly complicated or even all that fancy.

“In Europe, food and wine pairing is fairly simple: ‘If it grows together, it goes together,’” she said. “With our local agriculture being so abundant, especially in June, and the diverse styles of wine from our county, we have a whole lot more ingredients and food and wine combinations to choose from. Plus, the wine produced in the region is a natural match for the regional cuisine.”

Well, this sure ain’t Europe, but I can’t imagine anywhere more delicious to be.

For pricing and tickets, go to 

Ironically, Hayley Thomas Cain is currently in Europe through June (she still thinks the Central Coast has better food and people, though). She can be reached at

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