Valley People (Oct. 5, 2016)

by AVA News Service, October 5, 2016

THE OLD HULBERT RANCH in Philo has been sold, although the family has kept the ranch house and the acre or so surrounding it. The mostly flat acreage on the east side of 128 fronts the highway near Gowan’s Oak Stand and, we assume, will soon be covered in grape vines. The Hulbert hillside still boasts Monte Hulbert’s distinctive “H”, which we hope the new owners of the property will keep in place.

ON THE OFF CHANCE someone’s interested, the KZYX board meeting previously announced as occurring on October 3rd, which was Monday, meaning the meeting that was supposed to occur didn’t occur, will now be held on Monday, November 7th, place and time to be announced.

Why not a presser that simply says, “KZYX board meeting. Like whenever, like wherever. We’ll see you when we see you. In the meantime, send us money. “

MARIANN KINION has moved to Ukiah, another old timer and familiar face suddenly absent from the local tapestry. The personnel changes are occurring so fast in the Anderson Valley it’s almost disorienting, but we all wish Marriann well and hope she’ll venture back over the hill to see us.

A YOUNG WOMAN asks if there is still a Valley Chorus she might join. There is but our choirmaster, Lynn Archambault, recovering from a tumble she recently took, can’t play the accompanying piano until she fully recovers. Ms. A recommends for now and always the bi-monthly Sunday sing-alongs at Lauren’s restaurant.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19TH, Libby's Restaurant in Philo will close. Rightly touted as the best Mexican food on the Northcoast, Libby and the Favela family have been an Anderson Valley fixture for many years. Goodness knows the hard-working Favelas have earned their retirement, but there are lots of us who are going to miss their food.

ALSO on the restaurant front, a banner-size notice on the steps of the abruptly closed Buckhorn says it will be up and running again in February.

RESPONDING TO RUMORS that he had signed up as a local Uber driver, Boonville’s Denver Tuttle said, Not True:

“As much as I could use the cash, I believe Uber is an unhealthy model for business. It seems like an imbalanced scam of their independent drivers who have built "Uber" into a billion-dollar concern, allowing Uber to invest now in “self-driving” technology, and intended eventually to replace those drivers. I do drive a black German model (that leaks no oil, and gets over 35mpg on the highway, and still looks okay after 260k). And, I have been hired out once, for a day, as a chauffeur. But, if for no other reason, I hate "Uber" for my knee-jerk aversion to the company name — and this country's addiction to the rampant "Uberman" complexes corrupting the health of our individual and collective mental health!”

ANDERSON VALLEY FOODSHED SHINDIG. Saturday, October 15th beginning at 6:00 PM at The Shed behind (due east of Paysanne Ice Cream Shop).

MACHINE GRAPE HARVESTING was observed from our offices late Wednesday night in the high hills north of Highway 128 above Boonville. The telltale harvester and tractor headlights lit up almost a quarter of the hill as workers operated the equipment on the steep slopes in the cool night air.

THE AV THEATER GUILD PRESENTS this very weekend, "A Celebration of Radio Theater, 5 One Act Comedies. October 7th and 8th at the AV Solar Grange 7 pm show — Doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets at the door $5 - $10. A benefit for the AV Theater Guild and the AV Solar Grange

PETER KAPP, formerly of the Upper Peachland, volunteered with USAID in June to share his considerable skills with subsistence farmers in Malawi. Experience gained growing organic vegetables for local farmers markets in Mendocino has relevance in southeast Africa, and Mr. Kapp is an experienced small-scale farmer. He has helped with the "farmer to farmer" program in Malawi where tillers of the soil live on less than $2 per day and where organic farming is the only farming available because chemicals are both destructive and unaffordable. Mr. Kapp farmed vegetables at Lone Tree Farm on Peachland Road with Wendy Rowe from 1997-2010 where the couple also raised horses. The "Farmer to Farmer" program is administered by a non-governmental organization called CNFA  or "Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture." Mr. Kapp was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, South America, 1963-65. He met other former Peace Corps people doing work similar to his while he was in Malawi.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHERS lost a disappointing game to Rincon Valley Saturday afternoon 44-22, after leading at the end of the first half 22-10. One observer said that it appeared AV’s offensive line just ran out of gas and Rincon Valley’s coaching staff took immediate advantage, adjusting their defense to AV’s sluggish front line, keeping AV quarterback Tony Pardini bottled up for the rest of the game and letting Rincon Valley’s offense regain possession time and again.

MEASURE AF is the Mendocino Heritage Initiative on the November ballot would give growers much authority over weed regulation inside Mendocino County. Interested voters are invited to a discussion of the initiative at the Anderson Valley Grange in Philo on Thursday, Oct. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m.

ABOUT 2PM SUNDAY a half-dozen people chanting demands to save the forests walked briskly through Boonville. Four men carrying a redwood sapling were the focus of the group's display, and a couple of people appeared to be dressed in green, lending the procession a vaguely druidic cast. Spotting my young friend Miguel across the street near Boont Berry Farm just as the funereal mini-procession passed from view, I asked him what had just happened. "Heepies," he explained without elaborating.


AN HOUR or so later a woman called to say the demo was a protest aimed at arresting MRC's hack and squirt policy, and that a presser would be held at 5pm at the Boonville Fairgrounds. I e-mailed our only available reporter who replied with an obscene blast having to do with "wild horses couldn’t drag me…"

THE HEEPIES have a case, although carrying a redwood limb to Ukiah on foot with no fliers to hand the curious, no explanatory banners, and no crowd backing them up doesn't offer much in the way of persuasion.

DESPITE a county-wide vote condemning the chemical tree kill practices of the mammoth timber corporation, MRC not only continues to hack and squirt but now makes the startling claim that under local Right To Farm protections they are exempt from "nuisance complaints" like those from pesky County voters who have overwhelmingly demanded that MRC stop poisoning their forests and, by extension, their neighbors and firefighters if a forest fire breaks out.

MRC is suing Mendocino County over the County's role as tax collector, specifically over the $9,000 the County collected for the Albion-Little River Volunteer Fire Department as MRC's share of fire protection. The Heepies are likely to be on the road for a long time over this one.

FOOD AND TRAVEL WRITERS prowl the Anderson Valley, announcing us as California's hottest new “undiscovered” destination as they unearth Boonville and Philo at least a dozen times a year. (Yorkville and Navarro remain as remote from the sybarites  as an Andean village.) The gastro-locusts spend a couple of expense account days here and fly back to LA or New York to churn out reams of pinot prose with, natch, favorable and well-deserved mentions of our heart-stopping vistas and our many fine little restaurants and cafes. “The unhurried Napa Valley!”

THESE TRAVEL spreads on the marvelous Anderson Valley are illustrated with color photos of our unsurpassed vistas and, in the more high end mags, we get handsome couples holding glinting goblets of wine to the sun.

BUT IN ALL that gushing prose, among all those big color photos of vineyards and artfully arranged plates of “culinary delights” (formerly known as “food”) has there ever been a single mention of Boonville's unsurpassed and unique contribution to the national palate, that true undiscovered edible treasure found only in the Anderson Valley?

FELLOW GOURMANDS allow me to introduce you to the Boonville Donut. No, no, no! Not one of those fluffy, glazed imports from Healdsburg or wherever they're mass-produced that you find in morning cafes and coffee shops everywhere on the Northcoast. You won’t find those ho-hum gut bombs at the Redwood Drive-In, home of the Boonville Donut, unchanged since that glorious September day in 1970 when I ate my first one until the one I enjoyed just last week almost 50 years later. Nobody else anywhere makes them like they're created at the Redwood Drive-In, Boonville, Ca, and where the hand-crafted Boonville Donut is produced fresh every morning right on the premises in downtown Boonville, Mendocino County’s most happening venue.


THE DRIVE-IN'S DONUTS today are exactly the same as the first Drive-In donuts plucked from roiling vats of deep fry cooking oil back in '62, the same oil from which the fries, the corn dogs, the chicken noogies, and all the other Drive-In delectables were plucked back then and are plucked today. And don't you dare say it's the same oil, wise guy, and so what if it is? The end product has character, and may well get its unique, multi-flave from that deep fry bucket.

THE WINE PEOPLE go on about essence of this, aroma of that,  hint of whatever, but the Boonville Donut has a single unique taste, as memorable as Frisco sour dough, pan-fried abalone, a Carrine crab sandwich, a Boont Amber beer. What is it? An indescribable delight, that’s what it is. No other way to put it.  Yes, sir. The Boonville Donut! Once you've tasted one, you'll never forget it and you’ll be back for more.

THE REDWOOD DRIVE-IN began life, near as I could find out from primary sources Eva Holcomb and Karen Ottoboni, about, maybe, around, 1962. It was called the CBR Drive-In after its founding families — the Charleses, the Bates, and the Rawles. Peggy Bates, probably best known as Boonville's long-time postmistress, ran the place and can be said to be the creator of the breakthrough savory described above.

THEN CAME the Johnson and Pardini families, the redoubtable Ottoboni, Cheryl Schrader, Mike Shapiro and Cheryl Schrader, and, today, Ricardo and Francisca Suarez. All those owners, all those donuts, and not a single deviation since '62!

THE RECIPE? Sorry, I'm sworn to secrecy.

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