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Late Spring at Full Bloom Flower Farm

Late spring harvest at Full Bloom Flower Farm was full of color. Nicotiana, Ammi, Chantilly Snaps, Chinese Forget Me Nots, Nigella, Scabiosa, and many more. The Zinnias were just starting to come up and show their colorful faces. The star of the show was without a doubt Hedda’s David Austin Roses, with their full petals and gorgeous shades of pink and orange. You can tell that the farm was ready to burst into lush summer at any moment.   Crates full of Dahlias are ready for summer, and the farm is so much fuller than when we were here last.      

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The Age of Me: A Story About Giving… and Ping Pong

The Age of Me Last Fall, I heard Yvon Chouinard on the radio talking about the new edition of his business biography, Let my People go Surfing. In the interview, he spoke about the current state of affairs and the role that businesses can and should play when government isn’t stepping up. Everything he said made immediate sense to me and I bought the book the next day. I tore through it in a matter of a few days feeling inspired and on a mission about what it means to be a business owner. I am thankful to love wine and winemaking, and the fact that I get to call it a job, but why not grow my business in more directions? Why not actively seek out ways to contribute more to individual, community, and environmental health and well being? If our goal is to improve everything, and it should be, then we always need to be innovating, improving, and looking for ways to lower our impact on the planet. We need to make the …

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Late Winter Harvest at Full Bloom Flower Farm

I’m so excited to bring you the first installment of our “Flowers Through the Seasons” story, in collaboration with Hedda Brorstrom, owner and farmer at Full Bloom Flower Farm. A couple months ago our photographer Dawn and I headed out to Hedda’s flower farm, located just outside the town of Graton. We captured one of the last winter varietal harvests, and got a sneak peak at trays and trays of starts getting ready for the next season. While we were there, Hedda harvested anemones, ranunculas, helebores, bleeding hearts, and calla lilies. We can’t wait for the next season.   Watch this field as it changes through the seasons! If all goes as planned, those rows and rows of crates are going to be hundreds of dahlias, safe from the clutches of gophers.    

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A Lucky Day at Badger Ranch

The life of a farmer tends to get idealized. People view them as the lucky ones who where able to create a job out of puttering around in the garden and petting baby animals all day. I think most of our readers understand this is not the truth. Farming is a lifestyle that requires an immense amount of time and dedication. All of that being said, farmers do what they do because they love it, and sometimes you get to head out to a farm on a gorgeous Sonoma County day and pet baby goats, and hang out with good friends, and, on that day, it really is that perfect. Like on the day a few weeks ago when Dawn, our photographer, and I headed out to Sarah and Tyja Taube’s farm, Badger Ranch. Badger Ranch was created 6 years ago when Sarah’s family purchased the old Bassignani Nursery and reopened it as Grow Gardens Nursery. Sarah and Tyja were able to take a portion of the property; about 5 acres of land out of …

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Mushroom Harvest in Northern California

As a photographer, I get to spend many of my days documenting things that are new and captivating to me. It’s a big bonus to an already awesome job. Mushroom hunting has always seemed interesting to me, and when the time came to choose a new subject for the walls of Peter Lowell’s I knew exactly what I wanted to feature. Luckily for me, it was mushroom season. Dylan and Tyja Taube, two Sebastopol locals who grew up mushroom hunting with their father up in Mendocino, were kind enough to let me tag along. I joined the brothers on 3 different hunts, spread out over a couple months. Mushrooms flush at different times of the year, so this way we were able to capture a variety of local mushrooms as they bloomed. Our first hunt was for porcinis. I meet up with the boys and we set out before dawn. The crisp morning air and wet forest sets the perfect scene. The forest is quiet and still but the guys, with their experienced eyes, move …

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Satsuma Harvest

Sonoma County is packed with hidden orchards and Natalie and I find great joy in sussing them out. Every year we return to our favorites for their seasonal fruits. Last year we discovered a 30 year old citrus orchard tucked quietly behind El Molino High School in Forestville. The prize of this orchards is the Satsumas, which ripen on the trees to a perfect pitch of sweet and tart. The evolution of flavor of the Satsuma from the moment it’s picked to when its bought in a store up to 2 weeks later can be stark. The acid drops of precipitously, leaving a flat sweetness in its wake. With this in mind, we make sure to eat them as we pick them, using them at Peter Lowell’s and Handline as quickly as possible. Self control is impossible.    

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Alberigi Vineyards Pinot Noir Crush

Harvest started early this year, as it seems to have for the last several vintages. Every year I make sure to visit a few of the wineries we work with to make sure they aren’t adding any funny business into their wine. This year we were lucky enough to have Dawn Heumann along to capture the process. On the morning of August 26th we visited Eric Sussman, of Radio Coteau, at Alberigi Vineyard for harvest. Later we joined the winemakers back at the winery to see the grapes being destemmed and moved into tank for fermentation. Check out the process below. It’s sort of hard to believe that sweet pink grape juice turns into seductive Pinot Noir.  

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Sunchoke Soup with Roasted Mushrooms & Dungeness Crab from Terrapin Creek

Andrew Truong, friend of Peter Lowell’s and co-owner of the highly acclaimed, Michelin-starred restaurant Terrapin Creek in Bodega Bay, was kind enough to share this recipe for a delicious sunchoke soup that’s easy to make at home. Ingredients: 8 oz sunchokes 2 oz shallots, sliced ½ oz garlic, sliced 2 tbsp butter 2 tsp kosher salt ¼ cup dry white wine 2 cups water ½ cup heavy cream Garnish: Dungeness crab meat Roasted Pioppini mushrooms Lemon juice Extra virgin olive oil Chives, chopped Instructions: 1. Clean the sunchokes in water to remove any soil. 2. Cut into quarter size pieces, toss in oil, and roast in a 350F degree oven until golden brown. 3. Melt the butter in a pot. Add the shallots, garlic, and salt to the butter and cook until lightly brown. Turn down the heat and cover the pot with a lid to continue cooking. 4. When the onions and garlic are soft, turn up the heat and add the white wine. Cook until the wine has evaporated. 5. Add the water …

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Local Honey Producer Paradox Farm

Dawn Heumann, our fearless photographer, and I recently spent some time observing beekeeper David Benefiel (our honey supplier) at his Sebastopol property Paradox Farm (David and his wife are both physicians). We had originally planned for Dawn to document only the act of inspecting the hives, which involves smoking them so that the bees become docile. But as soon as we arrived at the farm, David informed us that there was a change of plans. A huge mass of bees had gathered near the top of an apple tree in what David said was the first swarm of the season. To remove the swarm, David put on a mask, a white jacket (bees are attracted to dark colors), climbed up a ladder, and sprayed the swarm with sugar water. He then took a bucket and shook the tree so that the swarm would fall into the bucket. He also used his gloved hands and a soft bee brush to get most of the remaining bees into the bucket. The last step involved dumping the bucket …

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A Visit to Green Star Farm

It was a beautiful early spring day in rural, southern Sebastopol, and slowly driving down a long driveway there were chickens to my right and sheep to my left. The grassy fields were a lush, dark green. It was idyllic. At the end of the driveway I parked my car, got out, and took in the fresh, breezy air. After briefly taking in the scenery, I was warmly greeted by Marc Felton and shortly thereafter Sarah Silva, co-owners of Green Star Farm, a picturesque animal farm on 47 acres of pastureland that supplies eggs to us at Peter Lowell’s. The farm is divided among several sections of pasture, each housing a number of different animals, including chickens, hogs, goats and sheep. The chickens, numbering somewhere in the neighborhood of two thousand, are the heart of the operation. With about 400 to 500 per flock, the birds live in mobile coops that are frequently rotated from one section of pasture to another. Sarah and Marc mentioned that they’ve been making the transition from wooden to metal …