Media Life: Taste of Auburn tantalizing global TV's tastebuds

By: Gus Thomson/Media Life
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Locavore activist Joanne Neft has snagged a share of the national spotlight for Auburn’s farm markets and the cookbook she co-authored “Placer County Real Food.” Neft and some of Auburn Farmers’ Market’s regular denizens will be featured on an upcoming episode of the nationally telecast PBS television staple “America’s Heartland.” Sacramento’s KVIE Channel 6 will premiere the segment on its Sept. 14 airing of “America’s Heartland.” From there it goes out to more than 360 U.S. networks starting the week of Sept. 11. Neft reports that it will also be part of broadcasts in England, New Zealand and Australia, giving it a global viewing audience. KVIE’s smiling, omnipresent “Rob on the Road” host Rob Stewart takes viewers on a tour of the market, tagging along with Neft as they sample local produce, baked goods and fruit. Then the lens shifts over to Neft’s home overlooking the American River canyon, where “Placer County Real Food” co-author and professional chef Laura Kenny prepares a lamb stew for Stewart and a clutch of other gourmands. Neft provided a sneak preview for Placer County supervisors this past week, noting that the cookbook has already sold more than 10,000 copies since publication a year ago. Searching for clues Auburn’s Gumshoe Detective Agency is being brought in to help in a high-profile missing person case in Washington state. Gumshoe owner Don Treco, who is also licensed as a private investigator in Washington, was recently hired by the family of Marie Hanson, who mysteriously vanished while attending the Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering in an out-of-the-way forest area. The gathering draws thousands together for a counterculture experience that draws on 1960s hippie roots and centers on prayers for world peace. Hanson, a South Lake Tahoe grandmother of two attended the gathering on a whim, leaving the disabled husband she cares for at home. The Rainbow Family experience was held this year on national forest land 50 miles northeast of Portland. It’s not atypical for an event-goer to temporarily go missing but by the end of the weekend, there was no sign of the 54-year-old. Her belongings were still in her tent, including medicine she needed for back pain and her purse. When she failed to return to South Lake Tahoe as promised on July 10, her family reported her missing. Since then, searches at the Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest and other efforts to locate her have failed. Treco, who also operates an office in Vancouver, Wash, said Gumshoe has been hired to follow up on some specific leads in the area of the disappearance. Bottle break Looks as if a Lompoc man’s quest to connect a message in a bottle he discovered on a Southern California beach has a happy ending. Frank Presson found the bottle on a walk along a Vandenberg Air Force Base beach. It contained a heartfelt message for a William Harrell, who Presson traced back to Auburn. Presson asked Media Life to help him find someone who may want the bottle after all these years. Media Life published what it knew in April, noting that Presson was on a mission to reunite the bottle with perhaps a family member. Laurie Tyrrell contacted us this past month to say that an old friend had let her know of Presson and the bottle and that she indeed would like it and the note returned. Tyrrell, whose father William Franklin Harrell died in February 2004, had taken the bottle and the message out to sea near San Luis Obispo. Her plan was to hold a ceremony on her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and then let the bottle float on the tide. But the bottle had accidentally slipped out of her daughter’s hands before the ceremony. The accident had brought Laurie and her daughter to tears at the time and when she learned this month that fate, shifting currents and the thoughtfulness of a stranger would give her a possible second chance, the emotions were strong ones. The only big question was whether, after four months’ time since the original story was published, Presson had given up and tossed the bottle. Media Life learned after contacting him that he had kept it on the slim hope someone would come forward. Presson was soon making plans to either ship the bottle to Tyrrell in Auburn or travel upstate to give it to her in person. And then Tyrrell intends to take a boat out to sea again and this time have a proper ceremony to remember her father, who died at age 67. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at (530) 852-0232 or