Locavores

Fresh: Farmers markets are a wonderful way to buy your produce, but figuring out how to get the produce home and then what to do with all that bounty is an ongoing issue. (Dan Honda/Contra Costa Times/MCT)

Now it's a neighborhood supper club, with monthly locavore dinners that feature only ingredients grown or produced in a 100 mile radius. The distance allows for much in California: Sonoma sea salt and Napa wines, as well as organic cream from Petaluma's Clover Dairy. A recent dinner featured grilled London Broil -- from Morris Grass-fed Beef in San Juan Bautista, Calif. -- that had been marinated in garlic and rosemary and served with a balsamic glaze. The velvety corn soup used produce from the farmers market and CSA box, and in true locavore fashion, a recipe from Berkeley, Calif., chef Alice Waters.

The only problem were the spices. Cinnamon, vanilla beans and pepper come from the other side of the planet, Provenzano says. No wonder Columbus was so motivated.

But this isn't some club with bylaws and gavels. The group just grins and looks the other way when the pepper grinder comes out -- they get it -- then cheers for the rest of the locavore meal, which displays the area's bounty.

"Our kids think it's crazy," Provenzano says, "but we think it's cool."

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BRAISED FENNEL, CARROTS AND ONIONS

Serves 8

4 fennel bulbs, stalks removed

1 tablespoon butter, divided

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups onions, chopped

1 teaspoon honey

4 large carrots, cut into thick matchsticks

1-1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds, or fresh parsley

1. Cut each fennel bulb into 8 wedges, but do not remove the core. In a large saucepan, bring some water to a boil, add the fennel wedges and cook for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and blot with paper towels.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, add half the fennel and cook, stirring, until nicely browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a dish. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and fennel; transfer to the dish.

3. Add onion to the pan, sprinkle with honey and cook, shaking the pan back and forth, until nicely browned, 4 to 6 minutes.