Celebrate the Fall Harvest with Wise Sons

October 1, 2020

Grab your knives and bust out your skillet, for CUESA & the JCCSF’s 4th Annual Fall Harvest & Sukkot celebration. A weeklong tradition, Sukkot is a Jewish holiday celebrating the autumn harvest and an opportunity to reconnect with the land.

On October 10, celebrate the harvest by picking up a specially curated CUESA Farmers Market Box, including fresh produce and a fabulous recipe for Fall Vegetable Hash from the new cookbook Eat Something: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews.

Then on Sunday, October 11, Wise Sons’ Evan Bloom will lead a box-to-brunch cooking demo and share his pro tips on how to handle a butternut squash, turn seasonal ingredients into something delicious, and more! Evan is joined by Eat Something co-author Rachel Levin, for a lively conversation about the role food plays in Jewish life past and present. Whether you’re getting creative in your kitchen, comfy on your couch, or hanging out in your sukkah, share a meal and connect with community because that’s the most satisfying tradition of all. 

Order  your Fall Harvest Box for pickup next Saturday, October 10, and register here for the online cooking demo with Wise Sons on Sunday, October 11. You’ll be able to add-on a copy of Eat Something and other goodies from Wise Sons.

Wise Sons’ has been part of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market community since 2011, and you can support them by buying their delicious bagels and brunch items at the farmers market on Saturdays. JCCSF has been popping up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for Sukkot since 2017, connecting the community with local vendors, chefs, artists and authors in celebration of fall harvest. Through unique experiences in iconic Bay Area locations, JCCSF Pop-Ups brings meaningful, fun and welcoming Jewish holiday traditions to your favorite spots.

In honor of the harvest season, enjoy this Sukkot-themed teaser and fall recipe from Wise Sons’ Eat Something.

Harvest Partying

Excerpt from Eat Something by Evan Bloom and Rachel Levin (Chronicle Books, 2020).

Historically, Jews were tailors and merchants, lawyers and moneylenders, dentists, and doctors. Farmers? Working the land? With our bare hands? Not so much. Not since the seventh century or so. And, in more modern times, not unless you live on an Israeli kibbutz or quit med school to milk cows, or, say, leave the Daily Show to run a forty-five-acre animal sanctuary in Upstate New York, and the accompanying Instagram account called “the Daily Squeal,” with your wife.

For thousands of years, Jews have had their own form of barn raising, of harvest partying, of celebrating the agricultural cycle and honoring crops. By eating them beneath a full moon, huddled happily inside ephemeral huts made of bamboo poles or pine boards, which we, notoriously unhandy Jews, actually built ourselves.

Sukkot is quietly turning into a bit of a mini–Jewish Burning Man. The simple, three-sided structures have traditionally been decorated with hanging corn and cranberries, baskets brimming with apples and pears, and Christmas bulbs bought on sale in January. Increasingly, in cities around the world, these open-air sukkahs have become architecturally driven designs to ogle. Creativity is key. Competition is stiff.

It started in 2010, with “Sukkah City,” in New York, where some 600 artists and architects from forty-something countries submitted sukkahs of all shapes and sizes and materials, from which critics selected a dozen for interactive display in Union Square. There was Dwell’s Sukkah Project, in Dallas. Something called Sukkahville, in Toronto. Detroit, too, turned its Capitol Park into a playground of high-concept (yet still rabbi-certified!) sukkahs: one fashioned from recycled vegetable crates aglow with purple LED lights, another built to resemble a pine cone. There are sukkahs built out of street-sourced cardboard, birch bark and moss, and mirrors. There are sukkahs set with long, elaborate, candelabra-topped tables. Sukkahs with Wi-Fi and DJs and baristas serving almond milk lattes.

Sukkot is on its way to becoming fall’s most festive Jewish event (following its most sober: Yom Kippur, five days before it). You could host a five-course farm-to-sukkah supper for 150 at $150 a head, like some chefs have done. Or just roast some squash, stuff some knishes, roll in a keg of seasonal craft beer, and call it a sukkah party. Sukkah hopping! It’s catching on. There’s even an app for that: Open Sukkah, launched by Toronto–turned–Tel Aviv resident Aaron Taylor. His goal is to create a global sukkah map, so everyone—from Budapest to Buenos Aires to Boston—seeking a sukkah can find one. It’s all a far cry from the bare-bones lean-tos of Jews’ nomadic desert days, and yet the spirit of the sukkah remains the same. The notion of a temporary dwelling, open to all, has taken on new relevance in the twenty-first century, with the rise in the number of homeless people and refugees and families forced to flee in the face of raging wildfires. It’s a symbol of the fact that home—for too many—is still something impermanent. in the number of homeless people and refugees and families forced to fl ee in the face of raging wildfires. It’s a symbol of the fact that home—for too many—is still something impermanent. For one week every fall, Sukkot reminds us that what matters is food and shelter, family and friends; that life, like a sukkah, is fragile and fleeting, yet also fun.

See the recipe for Fall Vegetable Hash. Photos by Maren Caruso.

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