Lowell’s is a West Sonoma County organic eatery that specializes in local, sustainably-produced ingredients. Our menu is Italian-inspired, while also drawing from and maintaining the sense of place that has become so intrinsic to new Californian cuisine – a menu that meanders naturally within the seasons, bringing the best flavors that Sonoma County and Northern California have to offer during each unique time of year. Click to visit restaurant website!

peter lowells food photography, dawn heumann, farm to table, sebastopol, sonoma

Lowell’s Everyday Pasta Dough

“Pasta work requires attention, focus and patience. A delicate touch can make a hard dough perfectly supple and pliable… I knead this morning’s dough onto the table, folding it into itself. Long ribbons of the golden dough billow from the machine as its gears creak with years of use. For just a moment I allow my mind to wander back to my time spent studying in Italy. During my adventures I found that fresh pasta is ubiquitous, a staple on almost every table. Traveling throughout the country one can find pasta of every shape and size, paired with its very own regional sauce and ingredients. This is what I love most about pasta, the diversity within this one dish is endless. From your basic dough recipe to the way that dough is worked gently and molded into shape, to the sauce it carries and the cheese you finish it with, no two pastas are exactly the same. From the most simple to the much more elaborate and avant garde, a bowl of pasta (and you …

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The Best Chocolate Sorbet

This is one of the very first desserts I made as pastry chef at Lowell’s. Being in charge of a dessert menu which included a vegan option was very daunting and I wanted to steer clear of the “just give them fruit” ethos. Enter the Chocolate Sorbet. The recipe comes from a pastry chef hero of mine, David Lebovitz. He has provided me with endless inspiration and this brilliant sorbet was my debut vegan option, served with poached pears and candied almonds. As my time here at Lowell’s comes to a close, it seems only fitting that my last entry for the blog is for this lovely sorbet. All who ate it immediately loved it, and this gave me the confidence I needed to carry on with a job that felt quite far out of my comfort zone. I’ll miss making desserts at Lowell’s, but not as much as I’ll miss the wonderful people I’ve been lucky enough to share that little kitchen with. I personally feel that this sorbet is better than chocolate ice …

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Satsuma Marmalade

I learned to make marmalade when I lived in England and was working as a caretaker for an elderly woman who lived next door to me. I became quite good friends with her daughter, Fiona, who was obsessive about her jam and marmalade making. Going to Fiona’s house on a ‘jam day’ was always very atmospheric. Walking through her door, you would enter into her factory – various stations were set up around her little South London flat. One for cutting and preparing fruit, one for measuring vast amounts of sugar, the canning section full of jars and other preserving paraphernalia, and of course her stove, with dented old pots precariously perched on all burners. She was serious. Because she was a gardener and got gluts of fruit from her various clients, her jams ranged from your run of the mill, ubiquitous English Strawberry to the more exotic Kiwi Ginger. Her creations were always delicious, but her marmalade was truly spectacular. She never gave me an exact recipe because she said there wasn’t one, so …

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Fall Apple Vinaigrette and the Seasonal Mixed Lettuce Salad

Apple Vinaigrette: One of our trademark salads at Lowell’s is the Mixed Lettuces. We highlight the fresh, tender greens that we grow at Two Belly Acres and show the versatility of the greens throughout the changing of the seasons. In the spring we make a creamy green goddess dressing with crème fraîche and herbs. In summer, a light and acidic peach vinaigrette. And for our winter salad we showcase a Meyer lemon based citronette, served with persimmons or citrus segments. During the early fall we are lucky to have a plethora of fresh, local apples. Our Apple Vinaigrette is a fresh and tangy dressing that makes use of the bounty of fall apples in Sonoma County. This versatile and vegan vinaigrette can be paired with fresh farm lettuce, smoked fish, and grains. We like to use Gravenstein apples at the restaurant, but any crisp apple with a balanced sweet to tart flavor will do. Ingredients: 2 large apples, peeled, cored and roughly diced 1 T Dijon mustard ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar 1 cup …

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Cut Flower Seed Saving with Full Bloom Flower Farm

In late Fall, armed with a basket of paper lunch bags, a sharpie, and sharp pruners, I head into the field for one of my favorite harvests of the season. I clip fully developed seed heads of various shapes and varieties into carefully labeled bags. Unlike a cut flower harvest, seed head harvesting gathers thousands upon thousands of future potential plants. The thoughtful activity feels sacred, wise, ancestral, and magical all at once. And it always seems like the birds and my socks are in on the seed collecting too. I am selecting and collecting regionally adapted blooms and following in a tradition of gardeners and earth stewards before me. With the average flower seed packet ranging from three to fifteen dollars, seed saving can also make a poor farmer feel rich. On my small, but intensively planted one acre, I spend around one thousand dollars on new seed each season. While corms, tubers, and starts cost more than the seeds each year, the vast majority of plants on my farm come from seeds which …

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Fall at Full Bloom Flower Farm

What an inspiring shoot we had! The blooms were insane, and we fully felt the abundance of the harvest. Bushels and bushels of dahlias, celosia, amaranth, rudbeckia, rose hips, mums, helianthus, figs from Hedda’s tree, and special feels for old sunflowers dying in the field. I can’t wait till we share the entire story with you, Full Bloom Flower Farm Through the Seasons.      

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Warm Spring Wind Hop Farm

I always like to joke about hop farming being my “day job” because I work the night shift as a registered nurse in San Francisco. My experience with growing hops all started with home brewing. My mentor was both a flight nurse and a professional brewer and gave me the necessary equipment to make beer at home. After a couple of batches I began to become more interested in the ingredients and where they came from, than the final product. Just after finishing nursing school, I spent a spring day volunteering at a hop yard in Dry Creek Valley. I saw the opportunity to get back in touch with my west county agrarian roots, and the idea was born to build a hop yard on my wife’s family property in West Sebastopol. Warm Spring Wind sits on a gently sloping, south-west facing hillside in West Sonoma County,  and provides premium ingredients for beer and cider making. We believe that the source, quality, and methods involved in the growing of ingredients provide the foundation of flavor for …

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Summer Harvest at Full Bloom Flower Farm

A couple months back, in the full swing of summertime harvest, Dawn and I headed out to meet local flower farmer Hedda at her farm, Full Bloom Flower Farm, in Graton. The fields were lush and overflowing, full of colorful zinnias, lisanthus, marigolds, sunflowers, rudbeckia, ammi, and scabiosas. The fields were so full of color and growth, they spread happiness every way you turned.   Sunflowers reach for the sky in this gorgeous and lush summertime flower field.

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Seasonal Fruit Galette

Galettes are a wonderfully easy dessert that really put the treasures of summer center stage. There is nothing better than beautiful fruit baked into flaky pastry. Once you learn the process of making this easy, versatile dessert, you’ll be making these gorgeous free form tarts all the time! Most importantly, have fun playing with the filling; apple, fig, peach, strawberry, the options are never ending. The secret to this recipe is in the flattening and folding of the dough, building up layers of butter in the pastry. Finishing the assembly with lashings of melted butter slathered all over almost makes the dough ‘fry’ in the oven. The key to many wonderful things is butter and this recipe is no exception. Served with ice cream, whipped cream, or whipped crème fraiche, it’s truly the queen of desserts. Summertime Rhubarb Galette For the dough: 10 oz flour 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 6 oz butter, cold and cubed ½ cups ice water For the rhubarb filling: 5-6 cups of chopped rhubarb zest and juice of 1 orange seeds from …

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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.