From Lowell : Each year our photographer Dawn and I head out to visit a vineyard during harvest. In October 2017 we visited a merlot vineyard that Kenny and Lynn from Hobo Wine Company work with in the Sonoma Valley. The vineyard, and home of Ian Morrison and his wife, is nuzzled into the hillside on the narrow road heading up to Sugar Loaf State Park. It was a beautiful and crisp morning on the 3rd of October, and was an especially fun trip for me because the vineyard happened to be owned by my former high school art teacher at Summerfield Waldorf. Little did we know, less that a week later, the devastating fires of Northern California would lap up to the vineyards edge. After the fires hit, Dawn and I felt like we needed to head back a few months later, to understand what had become of the neighborhood. Over a dozen houses on this small street had been burnt to the ground, some no more than 100 yards from the vineyard and home of …
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago, on an overcast, late summer morning, our photographer Dawn and I headed out to our farm, Two Belly Acres. We were there to catch up with our farmers, Vince and Logan, and see what the harvest was yielding them. The answer was pure summer. Tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, sweet peppers, padróns, shishitos, ground cherries, pickling cucumbers, and summer squash.