News & Events

Big Sur Health Center Welcomes Dr. Brita Bruemmer

Dr. Brita BruemmerWe are very pleased to welcome Dr. Brita Bruemmer into our Big Sur Health Center family.

Dr. Biller and Sharen became acquainted with Dr. Bruemmer when they all worked for Monterey Medical Group in the late 1990s. Her reputation as a family practice physician is well known and respected on the Monterey Peninsula and she has excellent working relationships with many of the same specialists used by Big Sur Health Center.

Dr. Bruemmer graduated from UC San Diego School of Medicine in 1987. She completed her family practice residency in the UC Davis network, and is board certified in family medicine.

In addition to being a family practice physician for nearly 30 years, Dr. Bruemmer also spent 2 months as a volunteer staff physician at Maua Methodist Hospital in Maua, Kenya, in 1991.

On a personal note, Dr. Bruemmer is an accomplished triathlete and an avid knitter.

Generate Matching Dollars for Big Sur Health Center Through Monterey County Gives

MC GivesThe Health Center could not exist without the continuing support of our generous donors. We rely on donations and grants to provide 65% of the cost of bringing you the local high quality health care service you have come to expect.

This year, in order to maximize the donations we receive, we are participating in Monterey County Gives (MC Gives) a program sponsored by the Monterey County Weekly through the Community Foundation for Monterey County. MC Gives selected Big Sur Health Center as one of the charities to receive matching funds from the Weekly's Community Fund at the Foundation.

We hope you will choose to make a donation through MC Gives. All donations made through MC Gives after November 13, 2014 will be matched by the Foundation at the close of the campaign on December 31, 2014. Last year, participating charities received an additional 14% through MC Gives.

You can make your donation through MC Gives in one of two ways:

If you choose to use your credit card, go to, select Big Sur Health Center from the list of participating charities, and follow the simple instructions;


Mail your check made out to Community Foundation for Monterey County to the Big Sur Health Center at 46896 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920.

Community Foundation for Monterey County, a 501 (c)(3) organization, will send you a receipt for your taxes.

For more information on Monterey County Gives, please see the November 13th Special Edition of the Monterey County Weekly (

Remember, no gift is too small. Your gift is important to us and, unless you wish to remain anonymous, will be acknowledged in our annual report. Many thanks for your generosity.

Big Sur Health Center Announces Its Annual Health Fair and Celebrates its 35th Anniversary!
Tuesday, October 14th Noon - 5:00 p.m.

As the only medical facility between the Monterey Peninsula and Cambria, the Big Sur Health Center is critical to the wellness of its community. The Big Sur Health Center wants you to save the date for its 2014 Health Fair 2014 - Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, noon - 5:00 pm.

Open to the public, this health fair offers the following complimentary activities:

  • Flu shots
  • Blood sugar and cholesterol screens (provided by CHOMP)
  • Blood pressure
  • Dental checkups
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Weight management
  • This year the Big Sur Health Center will be celebrating its 35th Anniversary as part of the health fair with a "healthy barbecue," and fun activities for all!

The 2014 health fair will take place at the Big Sur Health Center located at 46896 Highway 1, Big Sur. For more information call (831) 667-2580.

Tickets On Sale!
2015 Big Sur Foragers Festival
A Culinary Exploration into the World of Wild Foods

A celebration of the amazing array of wild foods will be the centerpiece for a weekend of gourmet food, world-class wine and beer, entertainment, expert-led foraging hikes and a friendly chef competition with celebrity judges.

Save the dates of January 16th through 18th, 2015. Big Sur area restaurants will host the culinary expertise of notable chefs preparing unique fare from rustic to elegant, paired with the region's amazing selection of wines and beers.

The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Big Sur Health Center. The community's non-profit health center will receive the proceeds from the foraging events to support the continued presence of local health care services.

Event schedule to include:

  • "Wild Foraging Walk and Talk" at Pfeiffer State Park and through the Big Sur Wilderness, both led by expert foragers. This year we will have 2 walks. One through Pfeiffer State Park (level beginner hiker) and one through the Big Sur Wilderness (level intermediate hiker). The intermediate hike through the Big Sur Wilderness will be led by Stephen Copeland of Big Sur Guides and Hiking.
  • "Fungus Face-Off" on the deck at Ventana Inn & Spa
  • A silent auction full of culinary delights, hotel stays, tickets to explore the area, art and so much more will take place during the food and wine sampling. There will be more than 60 items this year!
  • Purchase raffle tickets for $5 for 1 ticket OR 6 tickets for $25. Enter to win your choice of 7 culinary delights or hotel packages! Raffle package values begin at $200 to $700! Tickets available for purchase at the event.
  • Grand Celebrity Chef Dinner at Ventana Inn & Spa. "Foragers Dinner" at the Restaurant at Ventana beginning at 6:00 pm. The multi-course dinner, destined to be a memorable feast paired with an incredible wine selection, costs $175.00 per person.

Stay tuned for details on our Friday night kick off dinner at The Roadhouse and Sunday events! Tickets are now on sale at Follow us on Facebook for this year’s new event venues or at The Big Sur Foragers Festival Media Partner is Edible Magazine Monterey Bay.

The Big Sur Health Center Plays Key Role During the Pfeiffer Fire

The Pfeiffer Fire caught residents unaware in the middle of the night, but the immediate and spirited help and support they received surprised no one within this close-knit community.

The Big Sur Health Center would like to thank its staff and dedicated volunteers who played an important role in supporting the efforts of firefighters.

Our team provided medical care and vital services for the entire Big Sur community. When the firefighters could not come to the health center, the BSHC staff went to them on the frontline of the fires. Throughout the ordeal, we treated many Big Sur residents and firefighters for eye injury, and smoke-inhalation issues.

In addition, the Big Sur Health Center maintained the hotline for the community. This line helped ensure that the community received accurate information each day from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

We are grateful to those (too many to name individually) who donated food, clothing and toiletries to our free store at the health center where those affected by the fire could come and gather items they needed.

We continue to maintain a wish list of items needed by victims of the fire, as well as a list of those offering goods and pro bono services. If you would like to volunteer in any way, please contact us at 831-667-2580. We will continue to work with CPOA to assure that those in need receive as much help as possible.

Finally, we have a number of free mental health service resources available for those in need of emotional support. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us!

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Big Sur Health Center is here to support the community, and will continue to support those affected by the fire.

We are here for the expected, the unexpected and everything in between. We are committed to the care of you and your family, whether you're seeking medical attention at our facility or during an emergency situation.

While December is the peak time for the Big Sur Health Center's annual fundraising campaign, we in no way want to dilute any donations to the fire victims. However, if you would like to make donation to help continue our efforts may be made through the Monterey Peninsula Foundation's Birdies for Charity program that generates a 20% match.

Go to and select Big Sur Health Center from the list of participating charities, or Mail your check, made out to Monterey Peninsula Foundation, to the Big Sur Health Center. Monterey Peninsula Foundation, a 501(c)(3), will send you a receipt for your taxes, after which all of your personal information will be removed.

Big Sur Health Center Stewardship Fund
Founded by Big Sur Resident Patricia Lee Pavey

Big Sur Health Center Stewardship FundAs the only medical facility between the Monterey Peninsula and Cambria, the Big Sur Health Center is critical to the wellness of its community.

To help ensure its long-term commitment to providing high-quality healthcare services to all residents, the center has announced the launch of the Big Sur Health Center Stewardship Fund. Founded by Big Sur resident Patricia Lee Pavey, the fund focuses on bridging the financial gap in times of need.

Read More and Donate to the Fund...

Big Sur Health Center Receives $80,000 Grant

The Big Sur Health Center has received an $80,000 grant over a 3 year period of time. Funds for the grant were donated through a collaboration of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant's goal is to increase sustainability of small, community-based nonprofit organizations throughout California's Central Coast region administered by the Community Foundation for Monterey County.

The Big Sur Health Center was selected as one of 6 organizations in the County to receive funds to be used specifically for exploring and developing means for assuring sustainability of the organization who received to the grant to continue to provide services, particularly to low-income families on the Monterey Peninsula. The Community Foundation for Monterey County that was instrumental in recommending BSHC for this award.

The Central Coast CLP is funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of their larger Community Leadership Project initiative to strengthen small nonprofit organizations serving low-income people and communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast.

As a non-profit health care facility since 1979, the Big Sur Health Center provides quality healthcare through traditional and complementary approaches that are culturally sensitive and center on patient needs. It is the Health Center's quest to be a life-long healthcare partner for all in Big Sur, regardless of need or ability to pay. The Health Center must raise more than $300,000 (in addition to fees received for services) every year to continue to support the Big Sur Community and surrounding residents.

2014 Big Sur Foragers Festival Announces Fungus Face Off Winners

A celebration of an amazing array of wild foods was the centerpiece for the January 17 - 19th weekend of gourmet food, world-class wine and beer, entertainment, expert-led foraging hikes and the friendly chef competition with celebrity judges.

The event also served as a fundraiser for the Big Sur Health Center. The community's non-profit health center will receive the proceeds from the foraging events to support the continued presence of local health care services. This year's Big Sur Foragers Festival raised more than $20,000!

On Saturday, January 18, the "Fungus Face-Off" was held on the deck at Ventana Inn & Spa! There was a friendly competition among some of the area's notable chefs featuring chanterelles and other fabulous fungi. Celebrity judges included Jim Dodge, Frances Wilson and Wendy Brodie. Attendees had an opportunity to taste along with the judges and to cast their vote for "People's Choice".

Participating restaurants were: Bernardus Lodge, Big Sur Bakery, Big Sur Roadhouse, Carmel Valley Ranch, Esalen, Fernwood Resort, Hyatt Carmel Highlands , Ripplewood Resort, the Taphouse and The Restaurant at Ventana.

The winners of the 2014 Fungus Face Off were:

  • Most Inventive Use of Ingredients - Ventana
    • The culinary team at Ventana Inn and Spa created a Fungi Croquette: Yellow Chantrelle Mushroom and Black Truffle Gel "Explosion" with a Dried Black Trumpet, Crimini and Panko Crust fried to perfection!
  • Most Unique Dish - Big Sur Bakery and Most Nutritious/Healthy - Big Sur Bakery
    • Jacob Pilarski of Big Sur Bakery had the prettiest display, with roasted carrots dusted with seeds, shallots and nutritional yeast and served with a dollop of wood sorrel cream cheese. The carrots were arranged artfully on a slab of wood, which foragers were invited eat off of in lieu of a disposable plate.
  • Most Complex Flavors Dish - Ripplewood
    • Chef Carl Shadwell of Ripplewood, along with Jim Betts of Ripplewood Resort came through with a complex marriage of wild boar, truffled mushroom rilletes served with red onion quince marmalade, horseradish creme fraiche and apple on rye toast. Yum.
  • Best Hot/ Spicy Dish - Big Sur Roadhouse
    • Big Sur Roadhouse's Matt Glazer ladled out what he called a "lemon pepper chowder," strategically-named so "the vegetarians don't get offended" and which was, he says, "pork on pork on pork. It's like four layers of pork." Glazer gave the chowder an added umami boost with hedgehog mushrooms, black trumpets and yellow chanterelles, and delivered just the right acidity with juice from South Coast Meyer lemons.
  • Best Table Display - Fernwood
    • Fernwood's culinary team led by Chef Sean Garrett created a dish of couscous, nuts, seeds and house-cured bacon-enlivened by a drizzle of hibiscus syrup. The dish was the most unexpectedly tasty of the day, as the little bowl of nuts and seeds looked like a squirrel's breakfast. But the house-cured bacon, oh that bacon.
  • Most Artistic Presentation of Dish - Esalen
    • Esalen's Philip Burrus dished out the retreat's staple rye bread-made with wild yeast-toasted and topped with herb salad, wild fennel aioli and pickled beets sliced impossibly thin.
  • Most Easily Adapted to Home Cooking - Bernardus
    • Bernardus' Cal Stamenov served up mouthwatering goat cheese polenta topped with sautéed maitake and yellowfoot mushrooms and crazy-good garlic brioche croutons. The polenta had a just a hint of rosemary to the mushrooms' thyme, creating a sum so satisfying a return for seconds felt mandatory. Others, it seems, agreed-Cal's dish won this year's "People's Choice" award. Attendees also felt inspired with the very approachable plate, voting it "Most Adaptable For Home Use."
  • Best Vegetarian Dish - Hyatt Carmel Highlands
    • Chef Matt Bolton made a tantalizing mushroom infused cannelloni that had the crowds wanting more! The dish included Wild mushroom cannelloni, pasta with herbs (chervil, parsley & chive). The filling had black trumpets, chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms spinach and mascarpone
  • Most Local Ingredients - Carmel Valley Ranch
    • Carmel Valley Ranch-absent chef Tim Wood, who was back at the ranch making paella with visiting Spanish chef Jorge Matas-was serving up six different types of fungus-porcini, crimini, oyster, hedgehog, trumpet and chanterelle-atop a crostini with radish and mustard greens, and the result was a supremely satisfying velvety, garlicky fungal fusion.
  • Best Cooking Technique -Taphouse
    • Taphouse's Enrique Esparza, Steve Mayer and team had a succulent two-component dish, with prosciutto-wrapped wild Pacific shrimp grilled just right alongside a crostini topped with a cold mushroom tapenade and a squeeze of lemon.

Special Trophies:

  • People's Choice - Bernardus
  • Judges' Pick for Celebrity Chef of Show - Ventana

In addition, wine parings were donated by the following wineries:

  • Chappellet
  • Chesebro Wines
  • Cholame Winery
  • Comanche Cellars
  • Heller Estates
  • Mesa del Sol
  • Madeline
  • Mercy
  • Dawn's Dream
  • Morgan
  • McIntyre
  • Filliponi
  • Pessagno
  • Scheid
  • Wrath

For more information go to

2013 Big Sur Foragers Festival Recap

2013 "Fungus Face-Off "at Big Sur Foragers Festival Dished Up Mushroom Magic: Chef Tim Wood of Carmel Valley Ranch wins "People's Choice" Award, Local Chefs & Vintners Team Up to Benefit Big Sur Health Center

On Saturday afternoon of the Big Sur Foragers Festival 2013, The "Fungus Face-Off" brought together local chefs and wineries for a friendly competition at beautiful Ventana Inn, the host of the event.

With the brilliant Pacific ocean as a backdrop, and Santa Cruz musician, Asher Stern, adding to the celebratory atmosphere, guests savored mushroom-based creations along with a fine selection of local wines, before casting their ballots for their favorites.

Celebrity judges Jim Dodge, Michael Bauer and Wendy Brodie were tasked with presenting awards in the following categories:

MOST INVENTIVE USE - Mark Marron & Sherry Gladstone of Big Sur Affair Catering: Chanterelle infused vodka martini, paired with Monterey Bay Dungeness crab cake with chanterelle poblano sauté, wild mushroom saffron risotto with pecorino cheese.

MOST UNUSUAL/UNIQUE CREATIVE DISH - Carl Shadwell, Ripplewood: Pate choux puff with chanterelle, Meyer lemon, lavender and honey ice cream

BEST FEATURE DISH (PEOPLES AWARD) & BEST DISH USING WINE - Tim Wood, Carmel Valley Ranch: Matsutake braised beef ragout, roasted garlic, Mazuna, Carmel Valley Ranch salt, shaved black truffles on crostini

BEST TABLE DISPLAY - Enrique Esparza & Steve Mayer, Big Sur Taphouse: French dip with chanterelle au jus with black sage and specialty salts of black sage, Meyer lemon, chanterelle and oyster mushrooms

MOST ARTISTIC PRESENTATION – Tim Tavadara of Nepenthe - and Douglas Bush from The Cultured Abalone Farm: Abalone porcini Fritter with pickleweed and red dulse (seaweed)

Mushroom, banana squash and goat cheese bread pudding with pistachio pesto

MOST NUTRITIOUS/HEALTHY - Matt Farmer, Coast Gallery:
Chanterelle and roasted garlic bisque (made using no cream: thickened with rice)

BEST VEGETARIAN DISH - Philip Wojtowicz, Big Sur Bakery: Gougere filled with chanterelle mousse

According to Sharen Carey, Executive Director for the Big Sur Health Center, the event 's beneficiary, "Every Chef in the Fungus Face-Off came out a winner, and deservedly so! The decadent experience received very high marks from all attendees, and the Foragers dinner, which capped off the day, was superb. We received nothing but great comments on the wonderful dishes prepared by Ventana Chef Truman Jones and San Francisco Americano Restaurant Chef Kory Stewart."

Magnus Toren and Mike Scutari, of the Henry Miller Library, opened the evening with guitar/piano duets, adding a delightful and festive tone to the 5-course dinner, which was accompanied by wines from Cambiata, Chesebro and Tondre Grapefields.

Carey also noted that a young couple from San Diego eloped and got married on the Ventana property the same day. "They chose to spend their wedding dinner with us. They were very sweet and appreciated being publicly acknowledged at the dinner."

Carey additionally expressed her thanks to David Krause, who led the popular Mushroom Walk Saturday morning, and to the three restaurants that held their own mushroom-themed dinners on Friday evening as part of the Foragers Festival. "I also want to acknowledge the chefs and staff at Big Sur Lodge, Big Sur Bakery, and Sierra Mar Restaurant at Post Ranch Inn, for their participation in the weekend's activities and for contributing so much to this important fundraiser."

She also expressed thanks to all participating chefs and wineries in the Fungus Face-Off, as well as to all those vendors and benefactors who donated items to the Silent Auction. "A very special thanks to our Platinum Sponsors, Ventana Inn and their staff, who hosted Saturday's activities, and to A To Z Rentals who provided the wonderful party tents," said Carey.

Wine pairings for the Fungus Face-Off were graciously provided by: Baker and Brain, Calcareous, Comanche Cellars, Chapellet, Chesebro Wines, Mesa del Sol, McIntyre Vineyards, Morgan Winery, Pessagno Wines, Silvestri and Scheid.

Finally, Carey offered accolades to the Event Committee and volunteers who helped make the festival such a success.

Stay tuned for an announcement of the date for next year's Foragers Festival. Please visit our website at


¡Salud! The Big Sur Health Center Newsletter

The bi-lingual Health Center newsletter, ¡Salud!, comes out twice yearly and brings the public up to date with new offerings at the Center and tips for continuing good health.  Pictures and color bring the information to life.  To read past issues of ¡Salud! (all issues are PDFs and require Adobe Acrobat to view), please click on the newsletter name and download a PDF copy: