All posts tagged: Local

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Eli Colvin’s One Man Revolution

I recently had the exciting opportunity to visit with Eli Colvin, owner and operator of Revolution Bread in Petaluma. His bakery is located on Open Field Farm, a diversified farm with cattle, sheep, chickens, vegetables and a CSA. The farm grows rye in their front field, wheat in another, and plan to expand their fields for more wheat in the near future. Eli loves being a part of growing because it connects him to the entire process. Artisan bread has exploded in the past few years and people are recognizing the importance of using local, high quality products and this inspired Eli to start his own bread company. Revolution is a one-man operation, with Eli making about 800 loaves a week and often working 14-hour days. He loves anything to do with fermentation, especially bread. His favorite part of fermentation is that it is always changing and a good challenge. He started his career in restaurants, and then got an opportunity to work at a bakery in Healdsburg. That was 24 years ago, and since …

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We made a map!

We are so excited to introduce a fun project we’ve been working on! Officially named the West Sonoma County Field Guide, we lovingly refer to it as “the map.” As a tribute to our left coast, it opens left to right and features a custom cut coastline. We highlight the restaurants, wineries, and other locally-owned businesses that approach their work with a similar philosophy to ours. They are small-scale, artisan, seasonal, organic or biodynamic, and community-enriching businesses that are worth supporting! We’ll be blunt: it is very much a curated list. It’s an expression of our point of view, a treasure map to what we consider to be the “gold mines” around West Sonoma County. A precious and beautiful art piece with a touch of whimsy that is useful but not overly so. Of course it’s promotional: a pure-hearted effort to generate more business for the folks who really care and have made a commitment to true sustainability. These restaurants commit to local sourcing, seasonality, and organic ingredients. These wineries use organic and biodynamic practices, hand-harvest their grapes and make wine with minimal intervention. The …

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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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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.