We have a large guest kitchen at HI-Santa Cruz. It has two ovens, a large commercial refrigerator and a freezer, with plenty of pots and pans. We also have a large dining hall where guests eat and talk together.
Our kitchen and dining hall are a great way to meet people. Guests bond over shared spices while taking turns at the stove top. People from all over the world cook the meals of their homeland and foods they have picked up from other cultures on their travels. Often guests will give each other the gift of their hand crafted meals, furthering the communal atmosphere of our hostel.
Not only is cooking in our kitchens a social experience, but it saves you money. By buying food from local stores you are stimulating Santa Cruz’s economy as well as saving money you could use to further your travel experience. Cooking and eating here at the hostel makes travel more affordable.
When you prepare and make food at the hostel you also have the opportunity to eat produce that was grown and farmed minutes away from the hostel and buy local seafood that was caught right at the bottom of the hill in the Monterey Bay.
In Santa Cruz we are lucky to live so close to Salinas Valley, one of the most agriculturally productive areas in California—some call Salinas Valley, “The Salad Bowl of the World.” Salinas Valley primarily grows lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, and peppers. The climate and long growing season are perfectly set up to grow flowers and grapes for world-famous vintners. A majority of salad greens for the entire U.S. are grown here.
We are also home to the Santa Cruz Community Farmer’s Markets. There are five different farmer’s markets in the county throughout the week showcasing the best in regional organic produce, pasture-raised meats, eggs and dairy, sustainably-harvested seafoods & artisan-made goods.
Click here to find out when and where to find The Santa Cruz Community Farmer’s Market
We are also close to many local farms where you can pick your own fruit and vegetables.
Click here for a list of “Pick Your Own” Farms in Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz Also boasts the very successful chain of health food stores, New Leaf Community Markets as well as Staff of Life and The Food Bin. All of these Health Food markets are committed to providing quality produce, dairy, meats, and seafood as locally sourced as possible.
When you buy locally caught seafood and prepare it at the hostel you can experience the diversity of the Monterey Bay at a fraction of the price. There are many local fish markets near the hostel where you can buy a plethora of fish and seafood.
Stagnaro Bro’s Outdoor Fish Market is down the hill from the hostel at the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and they sell sell over 20 types of fresh fish from all over the world, from salmon and cod to sole and halibut.
H&H Fresh Fish Co. is a company run by Hans and Heidi, a couple in Santa Cruz who are passionate about sustainable locally caught seafood. All the fish that Hans doesn’t catch himself, he buys on the dock in Santa Cruz from about 100 small-scale fishermen, who are primarily using hook and line or rod methods. They are in the process of opening their own store, but you can find them at local farmer’s markets.
You can also fish off of The Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf without a fishing license. You can fish off of the wharf from 5AM- 2AM. The pier has lights, fish cleaning stations, limited benches, snack bars and restaurants, restrooms, and two bait and tackle shops, one where the pier first widens, and one out near the end.
Click this link for information about rules and regulations for fishing at the Santa Cruz Wharf: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/departments/parks-recreation/community-facilities/santa-cruz-wharf/wharf-fishing-rentals
Please click this link for The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s recommendations about what seafood is safe to eat at this time of year: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations