Seasonal Colors

Sonoma’s grape harvest is drawing to a close, a true signal that we are shifting seasons here in Wine Country.

It gets dark earlier each evening and we notice it is no longer possible to take a morning walk in the light around 6 am. Halloween decorations do not seem premature as October flies by, but the colors at our farm still alternate between signs of summer and cues to autumn.

the tomatoes just keep on going

the tomatoes just keep on going

persimmons signal fall in the orchard

persimmons signal fall in the orchard

as do the juju berries

as do the juju berries

But even as we continue to harvest our precious tomatoes, we know that most of what we are picking will soon be frozen or preserved in some way.

And as we’ve done with the other beds at the farm, we will clear away the 800 plants, refresh the soil and plant something else for our winter garden.

While we are always reliant on the weather for success at the farm, in winter, we are even more dependent on “good” weather, so we stick close to what we know works well for us at the farm.

Our chefs make good use of our carrots, whether at the bar or in the kitchen.

"The Harlot" cocktail with carrots & beets from the farm

“The Harlot” cocktail with carrots & beets from the farm

Executive Chef John Toulze

Executive Chef John Toulze

 

Did you know there are many varieties of carrots? Carrots range in color from orange to yellow, white to red to purple!

The farm palette is colorful each season, whether it is a rainbow of tomatoes choices, all the varieties of squash, carrots and radish.

what will we see at the farm growing here?

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The Zen of Farming

farm sign

 

Why do we farm? While our main motivation is to grow our own food, know where our vegetables come from, have control over how organic and natural the process is, and to share that with you, our diners, we also find ourselves drawn in to the “zen of farming,” the experience and connection with the land which leads us to a greater re-connection with ourselves.

Executive Chef John Toulze alone in his garden "behind the fig"

Executive Chef John Toulze
alone in his garden “behind the fig”

Perhaps we knew it and perhaps we didn’t really know the extent of it, but the farm(ing) draws us in and invites reflection on things we didn’t anticipate, well beyond the importance of caring for the land and cultivating good food.

We certainly don’t purport to anything approaching preaching on this subject, but we just know the benefits we reap from our labors. And we appreciate our neighbors in the area who subscribe to this as well. We “got it” immediately when we read a recent post at Edible Marin & Wine Country’s about Green Gulch Farm in Marin: “The farming at Green Gulch is about taking care of the land completely, whole-heartedly, with attention to detail…we practice the full experience of interconnectedness.”

Another neighbor we salute is Slide Ranch, a non-profit teaching farm in the Marin Headlands, “which has been providing Bay Area children and their families hands-on opportunities to learn about where our food comes from, as well as environmental stewardship, since this historic 34-acre dairy property was first protected in 1970.

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As we stop and reflect on what needs to be done at the farm to transition from one season to the next, to look ahead and prepare for what we will do next, it seemed like the “right moment” to ponder why we are farming at all.

Why do you farm?

What do you “get” from your garden, besides delicious vegetables and fruits?

Farm Highlights

humbled indeed when we discovered one of the birds was feasting on our figs! who can blame them though?

humbled indeed when we discovered
one of the birds was feasting on our figs!
who can blame them though?

As we’ve talked about here, farming keeps us humble and on our toes—there are things we plan for and can expect and often things we can’t. We are always adapting and learning.  The farm reminds us that it is an alive and constantly growing place.

Sometimes it is the surprises we find that are even better than what we expect to see.

The farm is in flux right now as we transition from summer to fall and look ahead to winter.
What surprises do you find in your garden?

Heirloom Tomato Season is Here!

Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad
Serves 6

For the vinaigrette:
1 medium yellow tomato, blanched, peeled & seeded
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T champagne vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste

For the salad:
½ cup feta cheese
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 # seedless watermelon, rind removed, sliced into ½ x 2-inch rounds
2 # assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced into ½-inch pieces
2 T fresh oregano leaves, for garnish
Sea salt, for garnish

To prepare the vinaigrette:
Place the yellow tomato in a blender. On medium speed add the mustard and then the vinegar. Slowly add ½ cup of olive oil. Taste and season with salt and white pepper as needed and set aside.In a separate bowl, crumble the feta and mix it with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
To serve:
Divide the heirloom tomato slices and the watermelon slices equally between 6 plates. When plating, alternate the slices and garnish with a bit of feta. Drizzle the vinaigrette over each portion and garnish with the oregano leaves. Add a touch of sea salt to the salad if desired.