Honoring Field Workers

by Carolyn on May 6, 2014

Farm Worker's Luncheon
Farm Worker’s Luncheon
Inspired by my gratitude for the courage of organic farmers and by my long commitment to the  organic movement, I offer a blessing at the beginning of shared meals. Whether with family, friends, holiday meals or special occasions, I take a few moments, to speak this gratitude out loud in the presence of shared company.  It goes something like this.



Before we enjoy this beautiful food, prepared carefully and lovingly for us, I would like to acknowledge the others who are at this table with us.  The many people along the way who touched this food before it arrived on our plate.  In particular, I want to acknowledge the unseen faces of the men and women doing the difficult job in the fields harvesting our produce.  I go onto to mention the organic farmers, the packers, truckers and the chain of many hands responsible for the food in front of us.

Daily produce arrives at Charlie Hong Kong. Daily between 400 to 500 pounds of produce is chopped and prepared. It has always been the commitment of Charlie Hong Kong to serve an abundance of organic greens in our Signature Bowls, as well as offering, our Vegetable Medley.  Since organic chard is a big part of our vegetable mix, honoring the field workers who harvest this chard, seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day this year. When I proposed the idea to Lakeside Organics, there was an enthusiastic, YES.  Since 2009, Charlie Hong Kong, has purchase over 5000 boxes of chard from Lakeside.  That’s an unimaginable amount of work done in the fields to make sure greens were available to nourish our customers.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel, did an excellent piece of journalism, covering the event.  It was a pleasure, and a joy to witness the happiness on the faces of the men, as they came up from the fields to be greeted by a specially prepared lunch just for them, using the very greens they harvested.


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The Story of Our Sustainable Salmon

by Carolyn on September 22, 2013

Most people are aware that salmon is good for you, with it’s low fat, heart and brain supportive, high omega 3′s.  Salmon also contains important vitamins such as vitamins A, B and D.  I’ve heard tales about salmon, once so abundant, you could walk to the other side of a river, on the backs of spawning salmon. The decline in wild salmon, due to damming, development and other environmental factors, wild salmon has become a scarce commodity.  Anyone who has shopped for wild salmon at the grocery store has witnessed the high cost, which can be from $17-$19 and more.  There are lots of hungry people, and growing, to feed and everyone deserves the option to eat healthy food. Salmon is one of the most popular toppings at Charlie Hong Kong.  Our mission is to offer HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE, SUSTAINABLE food and of course FAST.

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Stagnoro Brother’s Seafood, on our Santa Cruz wharf, have been our longtime partners and suppliers of our salmon.  Stagnoro’s,  are aware of our mission to serve affordable food.  With the fluctuating, rising price of salmon, they came to us with a sustainably farmed, salmon that impressed them.  It is a Chinook, also known as King, salmon from Canada.  Like many of you, I had a knee jerk reaction, Farmed!!!???  Immediately, negative images rushed through my mind but because of my respect for Stagnoro’s, I listened.  They assured us, my husband and I, with all their years of experience, cutting fish, this was a beautiful salmon, plus informing us, not all farmed fish is the same.  The quality and price remains consistent something which is important for all restaurants, but especially for Charlie Hong Kong.  Stagnaro got my attention and I began to dig deeper into who this Canadian supplier was.  When I called Creative Salmon, I was very impressed with the integrity and commitment, as they spoke about their salmon.  This person had the same passion about his salmon, as the organic farmers I talk with in Santa Cruz.  He IS a farmer. Aquaculture, means growing animals or plants in the water, while agriculture means growing them on land.  These are committed farmers. Along with their next shipment of salmon, arrives brochures and literature so I could gather more information. The first batch of fliers, somehow came salmon soaked and our office smelled like a fish market until I discovered the source of the slightly fishy aroma.

I’m delighted to report what I discovered.  Creative Salmon is North America’s only major producer of naturally raised indigenous Pacific Chinook (King) salmon.  Since the fish are indigenous, they are naturally tolerant to sea lice and require no sea lice treatments.  They’re fed an organic, GMO-free diet, as close to their natural diet as possible.  This is a small company, their focus is on quality, not quantity.  They carefully follow sustainable farming practices and are in the process of becoming the first certified organic salmon farm.  We decide the next step to reassure us was, to visit Tofino, BC, and check out first hand Creative Salmon.  800 miles of driving, from Seattle and back, including 4 hours on ferries, I can report, we are more then impressed with the high quality of this salmon.  Tofino, the home of Creative Salmon, is a magnificent  surfing town, located on the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.  Tofino is in a UNESCO, declared biosphere, demanding that the waters are protected and all businesses are carefully monitored to reassure this happens. The folks at Creative Salmon were welcoming, down-to-earth and well informed.  Creative Salmon is actually run by a marine biologist.  They are totally committed to the health and quality of their fish.  The fish are carefully monitored by underwater cameras and farmers live in floating houses at the farms to constantly care for the fish.  My husband and I visited every aspect of their farms and processing; asked the same questions you might have about their farming practices.  Everything came up with a big yes!  If you would like more information, there are brochures at the restaurant and you can check out their excellent web-site, www.creativesalmon.com/


Earth Day Celebration!

April 17, 2013

Earth Day is coming and I always like to honor it with a celebration that directly honors the earth herself. Everyday, at the restaurant, we work with foods harvested directly from the earth: organic greens, broccoli, lettuces, green onion, garlic, carrots, daikon, avocado, tomatoes, yams, peanuts, limes, rice as well as, other food products like […]

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Food Day-It’s Time to Eat Real!

November 5, 2012

Food Day, was on October 24. Mission: to promote a nationwide celebration of a movement towards more healthy, affordable and sustainable food.  In 2011, Food Day, brought together hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states, at more then 2,300 events.  October 24, 2012, Food Day was even bigger, creating a web that criss-cross […]

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Celebration of Plastic Bag Ban for Restaurants

October 11, 2012

Thursday, October 11, at 1 PM, Charlie Hong Kong will celebrate the action: TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS FROM RESTAURANTS. Please join us.  Several of the Board will join us and SOS will be honored for all their hard work.  Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, passed an ordinance to ban plastic bags in restaurants.  Pleased by the […]

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New York City Girls Awed By Organic Bounty

August 15, 2012

My niece, from New York City, and her best friend, visited  Santa Cruz, this summer.  They had been dreaming about this trip since junior high.  Having just graduated high school and before heading off to college, their trip became a reality early July.  My niece has visited many times with her family, my brother is […]

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Earth Day “Supper Club”

April 17, 2012

This coming Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day.  There will be celebrations all week, including a Santa Cruz community gathering on Saturday.  How will Charlie Hong Kong honor the occasion?  Being present for the original first Earth Day, was a moving event for me.  What seems to have become a big party, though I’m not […]

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Story Of Our Wheat Noodles

March 28, 2012

Five or six years ago, we received the news, the company that made our noodles was going out of business.  This noodle is called a Hong Kong style noodle or chow mein (which means noodle) noodle.  It’s eggless and made from wheat.  So here was the opportunity: find a new noodle for the favorite Spicy […]

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Take a Stand: No Plastic To-Go Bags

January 12, 2012

I know it’s not easy to change.  I know to change a habit can be inconvenient but sometime the effects the habit causes can be enough to propel a change.  When it came to protecting our precious environment, saying no to plastic bags became a habit I chose to break and in the process took […]

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Does Seasonal Organic Produce Matter?

December 13, 2011

I’m having this inner debate about my commitment to serving locally grown-in season-organic produce.  Recently we offered a special, Spicy Green Beans, made from locally grown organic BlueLake green beans.  The beans retained their snap and the sauce was just the right amount of spice and savory.  The season has ended and so has the […]

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