When I think back to one of the joys of summer as a child, the 4th of July, watermelon, and summer fresh fruits and vegetables are what come to mind. Waking up to attend a small town 4th of July Parade in Sonoma this year will be on the minds of several of our local families and vacationers as they prepare to celebrate our nations birthday. The thing that makes our little parade so special is our local hometown flavor with a hint of passion, history, culture and the combined energy of our community to keep it all alive. Our beautiful little town is situated in the backdrop of the Sonoma Mayacama Mountains in the heart of one of the world’s premier wine producing regions (www.sonomacity.org). If you find yourself in Sonoma on July 4th, join in the celebration.
Summertime is also a great time to visit local farms. My mouth starts watering as I recall the tangy taste of tomatoes, the whiff of the basil’s fragrance from a stem I just snapped off, and the sweet juice of a peach on my fingers and my lips as I bite. My hometown of Sonoma is also a wonderful place to explore our local farms. You can learn about our farms that are open to the public by visiting a great online resource: Farm Trails (www.farmtrails.org).
Back in 1973, a group of Sonoma County farmers got together and formed the nonprofit, Farm Trails. Their goal: to help ensure the preservation of Sonoma County’s rich agricultural heritage. The farmers created a map & guide listing the local farms and agricultural businesses and invited the public to meet the farmers and learn more about the origins of their food. These forerunners also produced the Gravenstein Apple Fair held every August to celebrate the heirloom apples of Sonoma County. In addition, Farm Trails created seasonal farm tours to promote their mission of cultivating “community by facilitating both farmer-to-farmer and farmer-to-public educational forums, as well as offering relevant events to foodies and aspiring producers.”
Dry Creek Peach Farm is one of the farms on this “trail” that I visited. The farm grows organic tree-ripened, hand-picked and hand-packed peaches, which ensures that the high quality flavor and the optimal nutritional value of the peaches are retained. This small, family-run farm is located in the Dry Creek Valley of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. It is one of the last remaining peach farms in the Northern California wine country area (www.drycreekpeach.com).
When you visit Sonoma in the summertime, be sure to first visit online at: www.FarmTrails.org to learn about upcoming agricultural and farm events that you can attend during your stay.
OTHER SONOMA LINKS TO VISIT
Gravenstein Apple Fair, Sebastopol, California: August 8-9, 10AM to 6PM: www.gravensteinapplefair.com
Sonoma Visitors Bureau:
The chef-owner is Swedish borne Helene Henderson. Cooking is not a new profession for Helene. She grew up on a farm and in the kitchen. In 2005 she even published a cookbook titled, The Swedish Table (University of Minnesota Press) which draws on her childhood memories and her insight into the treasures of Swedish cooking. The 125 recipes found in the cookbook offer both traditional Swedish dishes and modern recipes.
Helene hadn’t planned on opening a restaurant when she and her husband bought a two-acre property in 2008 on the coast of Malibu to start a family farm. She only opened her restaurant a few years later from the urgings of her family and friends who tasted many of her incredible dishes.
Malibu Farm’s menu and website (www.malibu-farm.com) makes it clear what is served and why I love this place so much. They serve fresh, organic, and local: everything from the menu comes from four local farms including their two acre Malibu Farm where everything is organic and seasonal, and the chickens, pigs, and goats are named, live happily, and are range-free.
Their cuisine is simple “real food,” prepared to bring out unique flavors and complementary blends that tantalize and tickle both the sophisticated and finicky taste buds. Nothing is low fat or non-fat, as “whole” foods is best. No fake food like margarine, veggie butter, nor sugar substitutes. Their mantra: Lots of local, fresh, organic veggies, whole wheat and whole grains, free-range and sustainable dairy, meats, and seafood.
We arrived around 9 AM and although there was a line, the seating was very prompt and stress-free. My husband ordered the multigrain pancakes, bacon bits and maple syrup dish ($12). The pancakes were fluffy, gorgeous, and scrumptious. I had the quinoa oatmeal maple syrup with coconut milk ($8). A lovely blend with a sweet base of coconut milk that was a tasty, healthy, and a delightful way to start my day.
This unexpected dining pleasure reminded me that the sustainable and locavore food movement for the few is no longer. Instead it has become a lifestyle choice that is now out in the open for all to enjoy.
ADDRESS: Malibu Farm 23000 PCH, Malibu, CA 90265
(located at the end of the Malibu Pier)
CONTACT: (310) 456-1112, email@example.com,
HOURS: Wednesday to Sunday, 9am-3pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
What's at the Market This Winter?
The following produce can be found at most local farmers markets and grocery stores. Seasonal foods vary depending on your region:
Winter Vegetables: Arugula, beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, chards, collard greens, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrobi, leeks, lettuces, mushrooms, mustard greens, onions, parsnips, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sweet potatoes and turnips.
Winter Fruits: Citrus, apples, kiwifruit, Pears (Asian, Cactus), dates, and red currants.
A Winter Recipe with Seasonal Vegetables
Enjoy this warming recipe made of winter root vegetables. Expand the “home fries” concept by including local seasonal winter root vegetables from your region alongside of, or in place, of potatoes. I have made this recipe several times and it is absolutely delicious. It will warm up your chilling bones during any meal on a cold winter day or evening.
Recipe taken, with permission, from Flavors of Health Cookbook, page 74. By Ph.D. Ed Bauman, N.C. Lizette Marx,
© 2012. To purchase: http://astore.amazon.com/baumcollholin-20/detail/0985722908
Lynne Marie Bennett is a certified Natural Chef, Nutrition Consultant & Educator, and certified Culinary Travel Professional through World Food Travel Association. Her company is California Culinary & Wellness Adventures.