Sonoma County Winegrowers Say The 2018 Harvest May Be Remembered as a Classic

While local winegrape growers haven’t taken to dancing in the vineyards, this year’s dance with Mother Nature is one that will likely be fondly remembered.

This season had an interesting but moderate mix of conditions.  The year started slow with little pressure from the weather providing the grapes with a long hang time to develop ripeness and flavor maturity.  In early October, Mother Nature delivered a quick tango of heavy rain causing some growers to harvest prior to the precipitation arriving.  Luckily, the pending rain forecast prompted many growers to use canopy management techniques to open the fruit zone, allowing the sun and wind to dry out the remaining fruit.  The season is winding down with a slow dance of warm days and cooler nights enabling the grapes to reach their optimal brix and pH.

“Overall, Mother Nature delivered a long, beautiful growing season.  Grape quality was excellent and crop size appears to be up across the different varieties with a little push to get tank space at the wineries,” said Karissa Kruse, president of Sonoma County Winegrowers.  She added, “This year’s harvest highlighted the logistical expertise grape growers must possess as they navigate a tough labor market with an increasing reliance on mechanization to pick the grapes as the quality of mechanical harvested fruit can be equal if not even better in some vineyards where appropriate.”

Russian River Valley

More than an inch of rain fell in the Russian River Valley in early October which set harvest back a few days.  Once the weather cleared, growers have been hard at work picking grapes and the region’s harvest should be complete by or before Halloween.  Most growers are reporting a large harvest with outstanding quality.  While most Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is winding down, some Syrah remains to be picked.

Alexander Valley

Growers are enthusiastic about the quality of grapes believing it has the makings of a great vintage.  A mild growing season with relatively few heat spikes pushed the start of harvest about two weeks back compared to the past few years.  This longer hang time was great for grapes and the mild temperatures kept the fruit from overripening.  Cabernet again led off the harvest with yields running nearly 15% over estimates.  Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir appear to be coming in on average for quantity.  Even though more than an inch of rain fell during the middle of harvest, it had no impact on Cabernet and little or no impact on Zinfandel grapes.   Overall, fruit quality has been excellent with very little shrivel and little or no rot despite the rain. 

Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Valley growers are racing toward the finish line with about 90% of the harvest complete and the remaining grapes should be picked within the next week.

Sonoma Valley

According to reports, the region is approximately 75% through harvest with one or two more valley vineyards to pick the first week of November.   Tanks will likely be empty by Thanksgiving.  This could go down as one of the longest, slowest harvest Sonoma Valley growers have experienced in years as there were no heat spikes but a lot of moderate daytime temperatures and cool nights.  The grape quality has been exceptional across many varieties.  One reason is that this year the pH level has stayed low and the acids have stayed higher for longer period.  As a result, grapes have mature flavors without overripe fruit which could make it a magical year for winemakers.  A decent amount of Cabernet Sauvignon remains to be harvested with most other varieties completed or near completion.

Additional Points from Sonoma County Winegrowers

Assessment of the vintage?

This year has the all the makings of a great vintage.  Some varieties really produced heavily this year while overall the harvest should be slightly above initial estimates.  Throughout the county, fruit quality has been excellent due to the superb growing season and late harvest.

Have the recent rains affected the grapes?

The rains seemed to affect the grape farmers and vineyard workers more than the grapes.  The rain was surprisingly heavy for this time of year with some areas in the county reporting 2” of rain and most areas reporting more than 1” fell.  Fortunately, the weather warmed up and a nice wind blew following the storm which minimized most damage.

Tri Counties Bank North Bay Business Brief

Tri Counties Bank announced $50,000 in grants, including one program in the North Bay, were awarded from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco through its 2018 Access to Housing and Economic Assistance for Development (AHEAD) Program.

This year, the bank reviewed 192 applications before selecting 54 AHEAD grant winners.

These grants are awarded on behalf of the Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa for $30,000, contributing to financial capability training and case management for victims of the North Bay wildfires in 2017.

Tri Counties Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of TriCo Bancshares (Nasdaq: TCBK) headquartered in Chico and serving communities in Northern and Central California. It has assets of over $6 billion.

Ultragenyx and Kyowa Kirin Announce Health Canada Approval of Crysvita™ (burosumab injection) for the Treatment of X–linked Hypophosphatemia (XLH) in Adults and Children

Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: RARE), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel products for serious rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases, Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. Ltd, (Kyowa Hakko Kirin), and Kyowa Kirin International PLC (Kyowa Kirin International) today announced that Crysvita™ (burosumab injection) has been approved by Health Canada for the treatment of X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH) in adult and pediatric patients one year of age and older. The product is expected to be available for prescription to Canadian patients in early 2019. XLH is a rare, hereditary, lifelong disease.

“This approval of Crysvita offers Canadian patients living with XLH the first treatment option that targets the underlying cause of this rare and debilitating disease,” said Emil D. Kakkis, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Ultragenyx. “Crysvita is now approved in the United States, Europe and Canada, all within one year, and Ultragenyx and Kyowa Kirinare pursuing regulatory filings in other countries to ensure that Crysvita is available to patients with XLH around the world as quickly as possible.”

“With this approval for Crysvita, now there is an entirely new option for XLH patients in Canada,” said Toshifumi Mikayama, Ph.D., Director of the Board, and Senior Managing Executive Officer of Kyowa Hakko Kirin. “I am pleased that Crysvita will be able to make a major contribution to improving the lives of XLH patients in Canada and we are committed to working with those affected by this hereditary and lifelong disease in the world.”

“Burosumab is the first treatment to address the fundamental problem in this disease – renal phosphate wasting,” said Leanne Ward, MD, a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa, where she holds a Research Chair in Pediatric Bone Health. “With this therapy, administered every 2 to 4 weeks subcutaneously, we see sustained improvements in phosphate metabolism and skeletal mineralization. Additional efforts are now underway to understand the longer-term benefits and side effects.”

“Burosumab is a most welcome addition to the treatment options for XLH – a genetically transmitted form of rickets. This treatment has been shown to heal rickets in children and heal fractures and reduce stiffness in adult XLH patients, and is a breakthrough in the treatment of this disabling condition,” says Dr. Aliya Khan, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Divisions of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Geriatrics at McMaster University and Director of the Calcium Disorders Clinic at McMaster University.

Ultragenyx offers a patient assistance program called UltraCare™, to provide ongoing support to patients and their caregivers and to assist them in finding access solutions to Crysvita. The UltraCare team in Canada is available Monday to Friday at 1-833-388-5872 (U-LTRA).

About X-Linked Hypophosphatemia (XLH)

XLH is a rare, hereditary, progressive and lifelong skeletal disorder characterized by renal phosphate wasting caused by excess FGF23 production. It affects both children and adults. In children, XLH causes rickets that leads to delayed growth and decreased height. Adults with XLH have an increased risk of fractures, softening of the bones, and stiffness.

About Crysvita

Crysvita is a recombinant fully human monoclonal IgG1 antibody, discovered by Kyowa Hakko Kirin, against the phosphaturic hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23). FGF23 is a hormone that reduces serum levels of phosphorus and active vitamin D by regulating phosphate excretion and active vitamin D production by the kidney. Phosphate wasting in XLH is caused by excessive levels and activity of FGF23. Crysvita is designed to bind to and thereby inhibit the biological activity of FGF23. By blocking excess FGF23 in patients, Crysvita is intended to increase phosphate reabsorption from the kidney and increase the production of vitamin D, which enhances intestinal absorption of phosphate and calcium.

For the pediatric XLH population, Health Canada’s approval of Crysvita is supported by 64-week data from Study CL201, a randomized, open-label study in 52 patients ages 5 to 12, which showed that treatment with Crysvita improved rickets, increased serum phosphorus levels, decreased serum alkaline phosphatase activity, and increased growth. The indication is also supported by 40-week data from Study CL205, an open-label study in 13 patients ages 1 to 4. In these patients, Crysvita improved rickets, increased serum phosphorus levels and decreased serum alkaline phosphatase activity.

For the adult XLH indication, Health Canada’s approval of Crysvita is supported by 24-week data from Study CL303, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 134 adult XLH patients. Crysvita treatment resulted in a higher proportion of patients achieving serum phosphorus levels above the lower limit of normal, a higher rate of complete healing of active fractures and pseudofractures, and a decline in the WOMAC stiffness score compared to placebo. The adult indication is also supported by data from the 48-week, open-label, single-arm bone biopsy study in 14 adult XLH patients, which showed healing of osteomalacia as demonstrated by decreases in osteoid volume/bone volume, osteoid thickness and mineralization lag time.

Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Kyowa Kirin International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Ultragenyx are collaborating in the development and commercialization of Crysvita globally, based on the collaboration and license agreement between Kyowa Hakko Kirin and Ultragenyx.


CRYSVITA (Burosumab Injection) is indicated for the treatment of X-linked hypophosphataemia (XLH) in adult and pediatric patients 1 year of age and older.

Treatment should be initiated and monitored by a health professional experienced in the management of patients with metabolic bone diseases.

Safety and efficacy in geriatric populations have not been established.


  • Do not use CRYSVITA with oral phosphate and active vitamin D analogues.
  • Do not initiate CRYSVITA treatment if serum phosphorus is within or above the normal range for age.
  • CRYSVITA is contraindicated in patients with severe renal impairment or end stage renal disease because these conditions are associated with abnormal mineral metabolism.


  • Hyperphosphataemia and risk of ectopic mineralization
  • Injection site reactions
  • Vitamin D decrease
  • Driving and operating machinery
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Immunogenicity
  • Monitoring and laboratory tests
  • Fertility
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding

Please find the Product Monograph at, which also includes important information relating to adverse reactions and dosing information. The Product Monograph is also available by calling 1-833-388-5872.

About UltragenyxPharmaceutical Inc.

Ultragenyx is a biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing to patients novel products for the treatment of serious rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases. The company has built a diverse portfolio of approved therapies and product candidates aimed at addressing diseases with high unmet medical need and clear biology for treatment, for which there are no approved therapies.

The company is led by a management team experienced in the development and commercialization of rare disease therapeutics. Ultragenyx’s strategy is predicated upon time and cost-efficient drug development, with the goal of delivering safe and effective therapies to patients with the utmost urgency.

For more information on Ultragenyx, please visit the Company’s website at

About Kyowa Kirin

Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd. is a research-based life sciences company, with special strengths in biotechnologies. In the core therapeutic areas of oncology, nephrology and immunology/allergy, Kyowa Hakko Kirin leverages leading-edge biotechnologies centred on antibody technologies, to continually discover innovative new drugs and to develop and market those drugs world-wide. In this way, the company is working to realise its vision of becoming a Japan-based global specialty pharmaceutical company that contributes to the health and wellbeing of people around the world.

Kyowa Kirin International PLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyowa Hakko Kirin and is a rapidly growing specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for the treatment of unmet therapeutic needs in Europe and the United States. Kyowa Kirin International is headquartered in Scotland.

You can learn more about the business at:

Forward-Looking Statements

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including statements related to Ultragenyx’s expectations regarding the availability of Crysvita in Canada, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause our clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the clinical drug development process, such as the regulatory approval process, the timing of regulatory filings, and other matters that could affect sufficiency of existing cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments to fund operations and the availability or commercial potential of our products and drug candidates. Ultragenyx undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.  For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Ultragenyx in general, see Ultragenyx’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 6, 2018, and its subsequent periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc.
Investors & Media
Danielle Keatley

Contact Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. Ltd.
Hiroki Nakamura

Contact Kyowa Kirin International PLC
Callum Spreng
Spreng Thomson Ltd. (For Kyowa Kirin International PLC)
+44 (0)141 548 5191
Mobile: +44 (0)7803 970103

Vintners Inn Vi La Vita Spa Wins Top Real Estate Projects in the North Bay for 2018

The Vi La Vita project involved the creation of a new 5,000-square-foot, full-service day spa and fitness center for hotel guests and locals that provides treatments such as massages, facials, scrubs, polishes, spa packages and more. Amenities include a wellness relaxation center and fire feature, four treatment rooms — some with outdoor lounge areas — plus an indoor caldarium with a warm pool and lounges. The spa also boasts an outdoor pool and deck.

“Located in the heart of the Russian River Valley just 60 miles north of San Francisco, Vintner’s Inn combines luxury, elegance and the natural beauty of Sonoma County Wine Country with the addition of the Vi La Vita Spa that provides a resplendent retreat experience through an array of premier services to enhance relaxation, beauty and fitness,” said General Manager Percy Brandon. The space includes floor-to-ceiling windows, vaulted ceilings and a natural design inspired by a 200-year-old heritage oak just outside the spa’s doors.

The list of amenities includes a couples treatment room complete with an outdoor lounge and rain shower, along with his and hers changing rooms, a steam sauna, showers, private lockers, vanities and dressing areas.

A fitness room is adjacent to the spa, spilling into an outdoor patio where stationary bikes are positioned to overlook the grounds. There is an herbal labyrinth garden and a retail boutique.

John Ash & Co. Boasts More Casual Atmosphere and Flexibility After Major Renovation

The lobster risotto at John Ash & Co. is delicious, the sweet seafood tumbled with creamy Italian carnaroli rice, leeks, lobster oil, and a touch of preserved lemon and Parmesan ($24 appetizer/$38 entrée). So are the short ribs, braised in sweet-sour brown sugar-balsamic glaze atop cheesy grits and roasted carrots and sunchokes ($35).

Yet one evening, I decided that a pepper Jack cheeseburger would really hit the spot. So I grabbed a seat in The Front Room Bar & Lounge at the John Ash entry, and scarfed a big, juicy BN Ranch grass-fed Angus model ($16) served with homemade zucchini pickles and a silver bucket of shoestring fries. My companion, meanwhile, went for the risotto.

That’s the flexible John Ash experience for you. You can eat in the handsome, main dining room with its vaulted wood ceiling, stone fireplace, colorful abstract paintings, and windows overlooking the gardens. Or, you can kick back in the dark wood trimmed Front Room, which also serves the full John Ash menu alongside its own options like grilled fish tacos ($14) and a pulled pork quesadilla ($14).

These days, however, there’s less difference between the two spaces. John Ash is still billed as fine dining, as it has been for the nearly four decades it’s held court at Santa Rosa’s Vintner’s Inn. Except now, the place has adopted a relaxed mood with more casual service.

It’s just one part of the evolution at Vintner’s Inn, built in 1983. Last fall, hotel owner Rhonda Carano opened a second eatery, River Vine Café, for daily breakfast and lunch. Then this fall, the 98-acre property unveiled a $17 million renovation and expansion, adding 34 new rooms and suites, and debuting Vi La Vita Spa with its own health-oriented small bites menu.

Glitches pop up here and there — the elegant eatery still presents white tablecloths, for example, but on one recent visit, mine needed ironing to release the thick fold lines. Too, a dress code posted on the Ash website requests jackets and collared shirts for gentlemen, but now, it’s not unusual to see guests wearing t-shirts and sweats, or — gasp — shorts.

The food, fortunately, remains a class act under the direction of executive chef Tom Schmidt. He’s been in this kitchen for a decade now, and has perfected his satisfying Cal-American staples. As always, local produce plays a starring role on the seasonal menus, such as autumn’s squash that’s roasted and made into a thick soup scattered with toasted pepitas and a drizzle of sweet pomegranate molasses ($10).

Wines are still a hallmark, too. The Sonoma County-heavy list (more than 275 wineries from this region alone) features boutique finds like a 130-case production 2016 Bennett Valley Flanagan Viognier, and a 215-case production 2017 Dry Creek Valley The Larsen Projekt Grenache Rosé.

I could fill up on the fluffy, moist corn muffins slathered in butter. And it’s cliché, perhaps, but I also like to start with Hog Island Sweetwater oysters, the shellfish clean and briny on ice alongside ramekins of slightly spicy cocktail sauce and mignonette ($20 a half dozen).

This is also nirvana for foie gras lovers, or even newbies who want to explore various presentations. A trio ($27) brings the rich liver pan seared, torchon cooked, and crackly sugar topped crème brulée style for spreading on toasted brioche. The nubbins are all the better for tangy accouterments of pickled apples and quince jam, plus a sprinkle of Pop Rocks that’s a whimsical way to cut the richness.

Still, my favorite starter ($15, or $25 for an entrée) is the humble chili relleno. As odd as the messy dish feels in an upscale venue, it’s been on the menu for forever, and the only problem I have with it is that it’s hard to share with tablemates. I want the whole thing for myself, coveting the mild, fire-roasted poblano that’s crisp-battered and fried to a lacy jacket. Cut into it, and gobs of cilantro-spiced pepper jack ooze; you eat it like a TV commercial with thick strings of cheese pulling from your fork. Mexican style rice, chunky guacamole, pico de gallo, crema and more cilantro round things out.

Fish is a successful choice here, thanks to the chef’s celebration of crispy skin. That skin makes an otherwise straightforward piece of salmon stand out on its bed of lentils, whole baby carrots and artichoke hearts ($38). I requested crispy skin for my roasted Pacific white sea bass, too ($38), and the salt and texture made a difference for the mild (OK, bland) fish. Sides were particularly good, too, with al dente herb spaetzle, spiced apple braised greens and parsley emulsion.

Anyone who thinks chicken is boring, meanwhile, should give this “brick” version a go ($26). The boneless Rocky breast is flattened down as it roasts in the skillet, so again, that important skin crisps golden and meat juices intensify. The bird is then cut into hearty chunks and arranged with charred leeks, pearl onions, cremini mushrooms, nicely fatty pork belly lardons, polenta croutons and just enough red wine chicken jus for flavor without sogginess.

At dessert, longtime pastry chef Casey Stone still impresses. The current lineup speaks of fall, including a light, nicely tangy pear cranberry crisp with housemade vanilla bean gelato and spicy cinnamon caramel sauce ($11). Brioche bread pudding, on the other hand, is heavy but pleasing, doctored with apple, currant, toffee sauce and rum raisin gelato ($12).

Here’s a tip, by the way. If John Ash is a special occasion spot well known by tourists, The Front Room is a local’s treasure. Happy hour is packed all week long for bites like two fish tacos for $6 and drink discounts. And on Sundays, that cheeseburger and fries goes for just $10.

Carey Sweet is a Sebastopol-based food and restaurant writer. Read her restaurant reviews every other week in Sonoma Life. Contact her at

Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa Advocates for Homelessness Facing New Challenges After Northern California Wildfires

Two months after wildfires swept through Northern California and destroyed thousands of houses, advocates are seeing a second wave of homelessness.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Jennielynn Holmes, senior director of shelter and housing for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

Link to the interview: Here

Kaiser Permanente donates $1.6 Million to Burbank Housing

Kaiser Permanente has donated $1,600,000 to Burbank Housing to expedite building 160 affordable housing units at the Journey’s End site adjacent to the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Santa Rosa.

“The residents of Journey’s End were our neighbors for many years. Now Kaiser Permanente has the opportunity to partner with Burbank Housing to advance permanent housing opportunities for the most vulnerable in our communities,” says Judy Coffey, RN, senior vice president and area manager for the Marin-Sonoma Area. “A safe and secure place to live is part of the foundation for a healthier life, and we all benefit when the communities where we live and work are healthy.”

The 13.31-acre property was destroyed in the October 2017 wildfires. Prior to the fires, Journey’s End provided 160 senior households with a vital source of affordable housing, which is in great demand in Sonoma County and extremely difficult to find. Most residents owned their mobile homes outright and paid to rent their space. The wildfires destroyed 117 of the homes and took the lives of two residents. While 44 homes remain standing, they are uninhabitable because of hazardous conditions and damaged utilities.

This grant specifically supports the pre-development costs Burbank Housing will incur to obtain the required project entitlements, including work by technical experts and consultants related to the project’s design (i.e., site plan, architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, environmental studies, and other required reports). This predevelopment work will result in an application to the City of Santa Rosa requesting approval for the entire project, a process that includes design review, and Planning Commission and City Council approval.

The total site will have a mix of market rate and affordable housing with up to 499 units (of those 160 will be affordable and developed by Burbank Housing). A different developer is responsible for the market rate share.

The project furthers Kaiser Permanente’s strategy to support innovative solutions to develop and increase the availability of affordable, sustainable housing and to decrease displacement of low- and moderate-income families.

Kaiser Permanente Gives $8 Million to Fire Recovery Efforts

One year after the Tubbs fire destroyed 5,300 homes (40 percent of which were low income), Kaiser Permanente has affirmed its commitment to Santa Rosa’s long-term recovery project, giving nearly $8 million in grant funding year to date. Our commitment stems from a core belief that we are more than a health system – we care about the Total Health of the communities we serve. Kaiser Permanente funded 21 projects with local organizations trusted by these communities to improve the Total Health of those most affected by the fires.

When the fires happened, Kaiser Permanente immediately made a National decision to actively participate in the recovery and quickly deployed resources to our members and employees. Since then, we have devoted external resources to the Red Cross and focused rapid grant funding to reach our most vulnerable residents, especially those unable to go to FEMA or other government agencies for financial support.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California has dedicated a Regional Community Benefit team member to support this effort at the local level and has developed a framework to drive the 5- to 10-year recovery strategy. Funding has been prioritized to address access to healthcare/mental health; economic security; community infrastructure; and housing.

“This support wraps under our National, Regional and local community health strategy where we have prioritized investing in the health of the communities we serve at the neighborhood level,” says Alena Wall, Regional Community Benefit Manager. “Basic needs, such as housing and education, are critical to the long-term health and viability of our community.”

Chandi Hospitality Group Opens Mercato

When creating the concept of MERCATO, the question of what values would steer the menu and service was posed.  How to remain true to the core vision of the Chandi family for Santa Rosa and do something innovative at the same time?  The Chandi Hospitality Group values COMMUNITY – sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals where durable relations exist outside of genealogical ones.  Their investment in the downtown Santa Rosa core continues with MERCATO PASTA & PRODUCE.  Giving back by keeping business local has been one of the unofficial hallmarks of the CHG.  Their entire portfolio is based in Sonoma County in fact.  The family members occupy dozens of board seats for different local initiatives and charities.

We also believe a well integrated food system is one of the underpinnings to a vibrant community.  Living in fertile Sonoma County, we are fortunate to be in an agricultural kingdom.  For Santa Rosa, we hope MERCATO PASTA & PRODUCE becomes a destination to meet family, friends, and neighbors while enjoying great fresh pasta, farmer’s market produce and in doing so, supporting our local economy and protecting our environment.

When asked by Sonu Chandi, head of CHG, it didn’t take long for Chef Niven Patel of Bollywood and GHEE (Miami) fame to respond that this region’s bounty marries beautifully with traditional Italian cuisine.  Think basil, arugula, tomatoes, gelato and cheese.  And pasta done the old fashioned way? While making fresh pasta in house daily seems inefficient, it’s not just the best way to offer the highest quality, it keeps another “production” local and contributing to the Santa Rosa economy.

The food we create in house and sell in our market finds its origins in the regional cuisines of Italy.  Locally sourced, with a few irreplaceable items imported from Italy, we strive to bring the same appreciation for small batch gourmet food products to MERCATO as you would find in their foodie culture. We celebrate the true tradition of local artisanal food and farm sources as the Italians do in their home country.

Parliamo produce.  The tomato (il Pomodoro) holds a place dear to the heart of Californians and Italians alike.  Yes, the San Marzano Roma varietal is the Italian classic but our local favorite Early Girls aren’t as shy as they sound, especially when dry farmed not plumped with artificial irrigation.  We select organic or organically grown (but perhaps not certified) produce and products where ever possible.  We avoid GMO products and ones heavy in preservatives and chemicals.  Of course, we encourage as much plant based eating as possible!  Check out our assortment of vegan cheeses!

Our pasta and produce express the passion we feel for getting from field and kitchen to table as quickly as possible to capture the true flavor profile of the food we offer.   Whether dining with us or shopping our farm stand and market, we hope you’ll enjoy the bright fresh flavors of Italy, done Sonoma style.

Sonoma State University paying $42 million for Petaluma apartment complex for employee housing

Sonoma State University plans to buy a Petaluma apartment complex to house employees as part of a broad effort to add more student and workforce housing on or near the Rohnert Park campus.

The California State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved the university’s $42 million acquisition of the 90-unit Marina Crossing Apartments under construction adjacent to the Petaluma Marina.

The 2-acre property at the intersection of Highway 101 and Lakeville Highway is about 10 miles south of campus. It’s also close to downtown Petaluma and about a mile from a Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit station.

“We are excited to be able to move forward with this landmark acquisition,” said Sonoma State President Judy Sakaki. “This will allow us to address Sonoma State’s housing needs in an immediate and significant way.”

Sonoma County’s housing affordability crisis, exacerbated by last year’s destructive wildfires, hinders the university’s ability to recruit employees.

In the past year, about 1 in 5 job candidates offered positions at Sonoma State rejected the offers because of the area’s lack of affordable homes, Sakaki said.

“The housing crisis has had a severe impact on Sonoma State,” Sakaki said.

Students also struggle finding housing they can afford, Lopes said. About 30 percent of Sonoma State’s 9,300 students live on campus. Sakaki’s goal is to have half the students living on campus by 2040. The university hasn’t built any student housing on campus since townhomes in Tuscany Village were completed in 2009.

With that in mind, SSU plans to break ground in two years to build up to 600 on-campus housing units for freshman near the Zinfandel Village.

Joyce Lopes, the university’s chief financial officer, said buying the Petaluma apartment community will address SSU’s housing needs four to six years sooner than if the university built it. The apartments will be finished in December and ready to rent in January 2019.

Lopes said the university considered acquiring land to build employee housing but when Marina Crossing, owned by Basin Street Properties, became available SSU decided it was better to buy.

The university said it plans to pay for the Petaluma property with reserves and state bonds. The apartment complex will be owned and managed by SSU’s housing services office. Operating costs are expected to be covered by income generated from rent collected from apartment tenants. Sonoma State faculty and staff will have first priority for the apartments, but if any are left, employees from other area public colleges could be tenants. However, it’s unlikely there will be excess units because Sonoma State staff needs 118 apartments to rent and 174 homes to buy, according to a recent university housing study.

“Most of our junior faculty moves here from out of state. Recruiting skilled faculty is very important to providing education,” Lopes said.

Marina Crossing has five different floorplans from studios to three-bedroom apartments. The average apartment measures 825 square feet. Monthly market-level rents for the property would be $2,200 to $3,500, but the university hasn’t decided yet on the prices.

Paul Gullixson, university spokesman, said the intent over time is for SSU to keep the rents below local market prices.

Amenities included at the Petaluma apartment community include: a pet park; clubhouse; fitness room; bocce ball court; bike and kayak storage; parcel lockers; electric car-charging stations; and an outdoor lounge area with a fire pit and barbecue grills.