Thursday, April 10, 2014

Meet Your Neighbor!

One of Clairemont Central's new "Meet Your Neighbor!" features, which will highlight people in the community with unusual jobs, hobbies or interests and sponsored by local businesses. Know of someone who should be featured? Send your suggestion via email to

Meet Nathan Bochler
Nathan Bochler
Born and raised in Northern Wisconsin to a family of restaurateurs and food lovers, a passion for food-- growing it, hunting it, cooking it and eating it-- was first instilled in Nathan Bochler as a young boy.  Ten years old and barely tall enough to reach the kitchen sink, he stood on an overturned pickle bucket to wash dishes at his parents' family diner; he later "grew" into a cooking position.

Walks in the woods with his grandfather while munching on cedar sap and plucking wild ramps were a classroom of what to eat and what to avoid. Hunting in the fall with his uncles for whitetail deer and ruffed grouse stocked the freezer for the coming winter.   Its no surprise that his fate was sealed as an eternal culinarian.

Since leaving Wisconsin in 2004, Bochler has immersed himself in the San Diego food scene.  He first worked at a handful of restaurants and then took a position at Specialty Produce where he is currently the Farmer’s Market Produce Buyer.  Here his responsibilities range from daily meetings with farmers, purveying to local chefs, and collecting and cataloging wild foraged items.

Throughout the week Bochler can be found anywhere from San Diego to Santa Monica getting to know the farmers, their land and what they are specializing in for the season, serving as liaison between field and kitchen.  Twice a week he makes his rounds to select local restaurants offering chefs a unique mobile grocery store with the week's bounty.  "I have a specific chef in mind with each piece of produce I load onto that van every time", he says.  

Edward Jones Christie Caliva
This Meet Your Neighbor sponsored by Edward Jones adviser Christie Caliva
Edible flowers, ethnic herbs and spices, hard-to-find heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables are among his finds.  Bochler's latest favorite discovery is a Puebla avocado with skin so tender you can eat the whole thing, peel and all.  He is especially looking forward to tomato season which should start in the upcoming weeks.

Foraging for wild edibles in the region is a constant lesson in seasonality and microclimate for Bochler.  "It's amazing all of the life that erupts with just a little bit of rain in the county.  Fennel, wood sorrel, white sage and nasturtium grow almost everywhere you look this spring". You can learn about all of these foraged items by downloading the Specialty Produce app.  Or get Bochler's personal take by following him on Instagram

Nathan resides in Clairemont with his wife Haley, a certified sommelier, their darling daughter June and beautiful Rottweiler. In his off hours Nathan is a restaurant/hospitality consultant, personal chef, food/drink optimist, slow food supporter, forager, food blogger, and farmer’s market enthusiast.

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