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Off Menu with Lucas Kwan Peterson
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How one small citrus farm is braving the pandemic

Farmers are the backbone of our food ecosystem. And they are struggling, particularly the small and independent farmers who must rely on little more than their own determination when business takes a turn for the worse.

Our farmers are the backbone of our food ecosystem, and they are struggling, particularly the small and independent farmers who must rely on little more than their own determination when business takes a turn for the worse.

Host and columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson visits Vince and Vicki Bernard at their citrus grove in Riverside. Facing water bills in the tens of thousands of dollars and a steep decline in business, the Bernards are fighting to save their farm. That can mean making difficult, and often painful, choices.

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MORE: Weary but determined, California’s small, family-owned farms fight through the pandemic

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Exploring Afro-Mexican cuisine at Tamales Elena in Bell Gardens

As we try to deal with the 2020 pandemic freight train that continues to barrel over us, we should note a few bright spots— including the opening of a bricks-and-mortar location, in Bell Gardens, of Tamales Elena, which had for years operated out of a truck in the Watts neighborhood (the truck still operates).

In this episode of “Off Menu,” host and columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson visits Maria Elena Lorenzo and her family, who work to bring the Afro-Mexican dishes and Guerrerense flavors to the public.

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This is what it’s like for a restaurant to close. And open. And close again.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the balance sheets of all types of businesses this year, but perhaps none so seriously as small, independent restaurants. The financial insecurity and lack of federal aid has been made worse by inconsistent messaging and selective enforcement of regulations on a local level.

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This episode of “Off Menu” focuses on Seafood Cove 2 in Westminster, one restaurant that has felt the whipsaw back-and-forth of pandemic regulations.

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