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Slow Food Queen

  • Anya Fernald, Slow Food Nation executive director
    Photo caption
    Anya Fernald opts for eats that are “good, clean, and fair.”
  • slowfood_anya_JA08.jpg
    Photo caption
    Anya Fernald celebrates the slow food movement.

Anya Fernald knows righteous food. She’s executive director of a firstever event called Slow Food Nation, to be held in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend, August 29 to September 1. At Civic Center you’ll find a marketplace packed with California artisan goods and local produce alongside a giant organic vegetable garden. A Taste Pavilion at Fort Mason will showcase handmade products and regional specialties. Marketplace admission is free; pavilion entry $20 and up.

Q What's slow food?
A It's an international movement that promotes devoting more time to how we buy and cook our food. A lot of families now think about food as just fuel or nutrients. We’re trying to get people to dedicate a little bit more bandwidth to the role food plays in their lives.

Q Why hold a special festival?
A Our slogan is "Come to the table," and that’s really the spirit of it—coming together and celebrating food. Everywhere you turn you’ll have something delicious to eat and it will all be made in a responsible way that’s doable at home.

Q What else will be going on?
A Workshops, films, dinners, music. We expect 60,000 people.

Q What can we taste?
A Home-style pickles, small-batch cheeses, hoshigaki dried persimmons. You can explore specific foods—varietal olive oils or the difference between organic and biodynamic wines. Also, "slow on the go" items such as tacos with free-range pork.

Q You mean there's actually slow fast food?
A Being slow doesn’t mean spending eight hours at the stove. It means knowing more about your food and who makes or grows it.

Q How can we join the movement?
A Have a dinner with people you love and cook it yourself.

Photography by Terrence McCarthy

This article was first published in July 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.