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News

Paws-itively  ready for  disaster

Paws-itively ready for disaster


Dozens of local residents participated in the Pet Ready! program, which included first-aid tips for animals from Adobe Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr. Cristi Blackwolf, above right. Girl Scouts Rachel Torgunrud, above left, in purple of Sunnyv...

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Schools

Local students earn honors at Tech Challenge

Local students earn honors at Tech Challenge


Courtesy of Ann Hepenstal
Gardner Bullis School’s Tech Challenge Team “Fantastic V,” above, recently showed their project at the school’s STEM Expo. Teammates, from left, Brandon Son, Will Hooper, George Weale, Tripp Crissma...

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Community

Merchants, maypoles, music: Farmers' Market season launches May 1

Merchants, maypoles, music: Farmers' Market season launches May 1


Town Crier File Photo
Visitors examine the fresh produce on display at last year’s Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

It wouldn’t be spring without the return of the Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market May 1. The Los Altos Village Association sp...

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Sports

LA tops MV behind Beutter's big day

LA tops MV behind Beutter's big day


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High pitcher Lizzie Beutter went the distance to earn the win against Mountain View.

The number of Los Altos High hits and Mountain View High errors may be in dispute, but there’s no debating which softball ...

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Comment

Enlightened California: No Shoes, Please

I recently read a newspaper article about the newly adopted sex-education curriculum in the state of Mississippi. In the city of Oxford, the following exercise is included: Students pass around a Peppermint Patty chocolate and observe how spoiled it ...

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Business

Cobblery makes short move next door: Longtime business relocating to State Street in May

Cobblery makes short move next door: Longtime business relocating to State Street in May


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
European Cobblery owner Paul Roth is relocating his business from 201 First St., above, to 385 State St. in May.

The European Cobblery, a family-owned and -operated shoe store, is relocating to a new home just a f...

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Books

Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summa...

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People

'Champions for Youth' announced

Challenge Team will honor Mountain View Police Chief Scott Vermeer as “Champion for Youth” at the nonprofit organization’s annual fundraising breakfast, scheduled 7 a.m. May 7 at Michaels at Shoreline, 2960 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

Lauren ...

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Stepping Out

Last go-round for 'Hound'

Last go-round for 'Hound'


Tracy Martin/Special to the Town Crier
The actors in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” – from left, Darren Bridgett, Ron Campbell and Michael Gene Sullivan – take on dozens of roles.

TheatreWorks is slated to present “The Hound of the Baskervilles...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away


Van Houtte/Town Crier Yoga of Los Altos hosts a variety of classes, including Strong Flow Vinyasa, above, taught by Doron Hanoch. Yin Yoga instructor Janya Wongsopa guides a student in the practice, below.

It’s nearly 9 a.m. on a Monday mornin...

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Native berries prove to be superfoods


Photos by Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
According to author Alicia Funk, native plants such as blue elderberries have a long history of traditional use for colds and flus, supported by recent research. To eat the berries, cook or dry them first.

If you’re eating blueberries or pomegranates for their chart-topping levels of antioxidants, you may be interested in a few native berries that nearly triple those values.

Plant-based medicine expert Alicia Funk sent samples to a lab and learned that elderberry, manzanita and madrone fruits easily bested those more common fruits. She published the data in her book, “Living Wild: Gardening, Cooking and Healing with Native Plants of California” (FlickerPress, 2010), co-authored with Karin Kaufman.

Funk discussed native foods and handed out samples at a recent local gathering. She encouraged people to grow these plants in their gardens rather than collecting them from somewhere else. Note that it’s illegal to collect plants from wildlands without a permit. In fact, get written permission before you collect plants from anywhere other than your own garden.

Native blue elderberries have a long history of use. They are best picked fully ripe and not eaten raw. The cooked or dried berries get sweeter, and compounds in the raw berries that might cause a reaction in sensitive people get detoxified. Elderberry syrup is an effective antiviral that has long been used for colds and flus, though most of the research has been done on European species.

Funk picks manzanita berries in the summer when they are ripe, a deep orange-red.

“Use whatever species is in abundance,” she said.

To separate the big seeds and the skins from the “sugar,” she grinds the berries in a blender or food processor on low for a couple of minutes. She pours it into a mesh strainer and pushes the “sugar” through with a wooden spoon. She sprinkles the strained product on cereal, adds it to baked goods as a gluten-free, antioxidant-rich flour, or uses it to flavor salad dressings. The whole berries or the manzanita sugar can be stored for a year, she said. Rather than discarding the seeds and skins, she simmers them in water for 20 minutes to make a refreshing beverage.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a mature Pacific Madrone, the berries keep well refrigerated or dried. Funk made a “Beyond Cranberry” sauce using madrone berries for Thanksgiving. She also recommends a delicious tea made from crumbled-off madrone bark. Pour hot water over some bark shreds, steep for 10 minutes and strain.

You can make a caffeine-free wake-up tea that has “the same catechins as green tea,” Funk said. She sent samples of her local Deer Brush, C. integerrimus, to a lab. Add a few fresh or dried Ceanothus leaves to a cup, pour hot water over them and steep no more than two or three minutes. Like green tea, Funk said, it gets bitter if it steeps too long.

Finally, toyon berries are available in the winter when not much else is, Funk said. The berries don’t taste good fresh, but they get sweeter when they’re dried. She grinds the dried berries into a powder and uses it as a condiment on cereal or in vegetable stir-fries. It adds tanginess and is a good source of antioxidants.

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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