The Sun Eats - Kristin Jorgensen


Spring, officially sprung

A bird was truly going bizerk outside of my window the other day, the sun already shining bright and golden at that early hour.  I sleepily pried one eye open, ready to be cranky at the audacity of that bird being so absurdly joyful at that hour — on my day off even! — when it slowly dawned on me that this gleaming, sunshiny day, was the first official day of spring.  My eyes shot open, suddenly awake and eager to join that cheerful songbird in rejoicing the stunning morning and the beginning of yet another season here in Wine Country.

Today, I was going to celebrate the first day of spring in the most perfect way possible: I would visit a farm.  I love farmers.  They are so cool, right?  Girl farmers are even cooler.  I just so happen to be friends with a few, and I know this for a fact.

My very good friend, Andrea Davis, who’s little Quarter Acre Farm produces the Valley’s only certified organic vegetables, is totally cool.  So, I was super excited to jump into the Mini, the top down, my favorite baseball hat shielding my eyes from those blinding rays of spring (!) sunshine, as Andrea and I headed north to putter away the day to visit our friend Rebecca’s Bozzelli’s new farming endeavor.

Rebecca used to expertly head up all things that grew at Seventh Street Garden until last year when Healdsburg’s amazing Preston Vineyards wooed her away to oversee their ever-expanding non-winery farming programs.  It was the perfect day to meander the farm and possibly do a little wine tasting, have a little lunch, and possibly – okay, yes, definitely — do a little more wine tasting.

 

We wound up, and up, and around, Dry Creek easily being one of the prettiest little roads in all of Wine Country.  Victorian farmhouses and perfect little white cottages perched at the edge of miles of gnarly Zinfandel vines, stands of fragrant eucalyptus and towering redwoods filtering the late morning light.  A sleepy gravel road and its out of the way location leave Preston feeling like a secret spot we’ve just luckily stumbled upon.

There are rows of vines, hedged with flowering pear and peach trees, fields of waving, startlingly green grain, and an antsy cluster of sheep all making a racket in the shade of an old olive grove.  The dusty gravel road finally leading us to a grouping of rustic buildings that comprise the tasting room, cellar, bakery, and farm store.

Preston quickly became my new favorite winery, especially since Rebecca gave us the VIP tour, all the while managing to look lovely in her grungy work clothes and happy, flower-bedecked, floppy straw hat.  The property is almost indescribably pretty; picnic spots are scattered about in quiet nooks, under trees, in hidden herb gardens, and amongst fragrant flower and herb beds.

New lambs tottered around on their spindly legs and a couple of massive pigs, their ears all-flopping tremendously as they played in the dirt.  Fields of wheat and rye are grown and ground to produce insanely stunning loaves of rustic breads baked in the winery’s wood-burning oven and sold alongside their intensely peppery olive oil.  Everything about Preston is truly the picture of bucolic bliss.  I can’t imagine a more delightful time to visit then spring, but I look forward to returning each season and finding out for sure.  Visit prestonvineyards.com for more information on their wines, the farm, and visiting their amazing property.

  The Shed, Healdsburg

If ever I were to name a shrine to all that is delicious and beautiful and holy to be found in Wine Country, certainly I would choose The Shed in Healdsburg.  The stunning, soaring space is filled with mass amounts of Sonoma sunshine thanks to massive roll-up doors that allow for stylish patrons to meander in and out while shopping, while nibbling, or while sipping expertly prepared coffees, or more likely, shimmering glasses of something chilly and white.  The utterly impressive restaurant meets gourmet market meets event space is all shiny white tile and stainless steel, with ogle-worthy displays of museum quality dishware, hand-thrown ceramic pickling crocks, thoughtfully chosen cookbooks, and Japanese gardening tools that might as well be works of art.  There are covetable goods for your home and garden, but mostly, I adore the kitchen and cooking goodies, which are nothing less than breathtaking.

Fancy food products are generously scattered throughout the market, each item beautifully packaged and downright interesting.  From locally foraged and dried seaweed, to small batch drinking vinegars, and an entire display dedicated just to home fermentation products left me feeling like a kid in a candy shop.  The market’s own charcuterie looks scrumptious and the small cheese section boasts a perfect selection of gorgeous local specimens, a little pot of cured meat, a round of buttery Andante, and a hunk of deeply roasted bread would be an ideal picnic if you could tear yourself away from the restaurant’s extensive row of interesting tap wines, their perfect green garlic and kale pizza, and linger-inducing creek side patio.  Visit Healdsburgshed.com for all of the interesting details on the Shed and its events.

What I am drinking: Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail

There is never a more wonderfully festive time to sip a glass of bubbly than on a staggeringly beautiful Saturday morning while enjoying a long, late breakfast with one of my favorite people in the whole world, biscuit in-hand.  The Fremont’s newish blood orange Champagne cocktail is the epitome of a perfect pairing; the crisp, clean sparkling wine, the dash of pithy, orange bitters, it was absolutely happy-dance inducing when sipped between mouthfuls of my buttery biscuit and the lush, creamy ricotta and gooey egg-topped farmer’s toast, and happy conversation.

To prepare the Fremont’s Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail, place a sugar cube in the bottom of a flute — or small Mason jar- – and dissolve with a couple of splashes of blood orange bitters.  Top with a dry sparkling wine and the wide zest of orange.  Drink immediately, preferably with your favorite person.

One minute rant: Coffee snobs

I love coffee.  No, I looooooove coffee.  I am addicted to it, I couldn’t live without it. Would never, ever want to.  I tend to desire good coffee: rich, dark, strong coffee splashed generously with pure cream or full-fat milk.  I love good, plain brewed coffee and I adore a velvety, lovingly crafted latte, but I can tolerate a good old gas station coffee in a pinch.  What I can’t stand are coffee snobs.  You know them, they’re often the ones behind the counter, but not always.  They’ll school you on your improper ordering, you’re incorrect terminology.  Argh.  It is coffee folks.  Beans and water.  Milk and sugar.  Maybe I don’t want a “Breve!”  Maybe I just want a simple, “Espresso with half and half!”

 Coming soon: Tips Tri-Tip Trolley

 A crazy good sandwich is coming soon to a parking lot near you.  If you have all been wondering what is going on with that cute little red trolley parked at the scooter shop, well here is the scoop.  The good, meaty folks behind the tasty steak sandwiches at last year’s Tuesday night farmer’s market have been working tirelessly building out that shiny new trolley, outfitting it with cooking digs, and wading through the mountains of required permits to bring California’s first ever food truck trolley to little old Sonoma.  Tips Tri-Tip Trolley will hopefully open in that location in the coming month and, if all goes to plan, they will also return to the Tuesday market.  The specialty sandwich is a hefty roll stuffed with perfect, bite-sized bits of grilled, tender tri-tip all doused with a must-have chipotle sauce and crunchy coleslaw all perfected by Sonomans, Susie and Andrew, the cute couple behind the cute trolley.  Visit the duo’s super creative website to see the rest of the planned offerings and to keep up with their opening news at Tipstritip.com.

A crazy good sandwich is coming soon to a parking lot near you.  If you have all been wondering what is going on with that cute little red trolley parked at the scooter shop, well here is the scoop.  The good, meaty folks behind the tasty steak sandwiches at last year’s Tuesday night farmer’s market have been working tirelessly building out that shiny new trolley, outfitting it with cooking digs, and wading through the mountains of required permits to bring California’s first ever food truck trolley to little old Sonoma.  Tips Tri-Tip Trolley will hopefully open in that location in the coming month and, if all goes to plan, they will also return to the Tuesday market.  The specialty sandwich is a hefty roll stuffed with perfect, bite-sized bits of grilled, tender tri-tip all doused with a must-have chipotle sauce and crunchy coleslaw all perfected by Sonomans, Susie and Andrew, the cute couple behind the cute trolley.  Visit the duo’s super creative website to see the rest of the planned offerings and to keep up with their opening news at Tipstritip.com.

 

 

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