Got olive trees? Join McEvoy Ranch’s General Manager Samantha Dorsey and Extra Virgin Alliance’s Alexandra Devarenne for a full-day olive oil workshop on May 19th, 2017. This course will cover season-by-season cultural practices for growers to cultivate healthy olive trees that consistently produce high-quality oil. This workshop targets small and mid-size growers with 1 – 100 acres for medium density olive orchards for table olives or oil production.
In addition, the team at McEvoy will present an introduction to tasting olive oil for producers by examining the positive and negative flavor characteristics in the context of grove management and milling decisions.
After a farm-fresh lunch with McEvoy Ranch’s estate-grown wine (and olive oil!), spend the afternoon in the orchards reviewing the morning’s content as it is applied in the field. Participants will be outside moving about on uneven surfaces. Layers and comfortable shoes are recommended. Bring your questions and engage in the discussion.
The day will conclude at McEvoy Ranch’s tasting room and patio. Join the team for a complimentary glass of wine and special treat in the tasting room at the conclusion of the workshop, also leaving time to enjoy a spot of retail shopping.
This workshop tends to sell out quickly so get your tickets asap.
Date: Fri, May 19, 2017
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: McEvoy Ranch
I stopped in at the Petaluma Arts Center over the weekend to view the center's latest, much talked about show theNeuwPolitic: Artists Explore (through May 20th) featuring profound and powerful, thought provoking work from 50 artists representing seven counties in Northern and Central California.
This is a show to stop us in our stride as we explore the current political climate as each individual artist envisions it. Artworks include topics the artists consider relevant to their interpretation of theNeuwPolitic, abstract or representational, functional or non-functional. Over 300 artists submitted work.
Artists were asked to consider this question: “Now is the time for a much-needed dialogue surrounding politics; can art help start these conversations and facilitate the connections that are so needed?”
Now is the time for a much-needed dialogue surrounding politics, and artistic expression provides us with a unique platform to share that dialogue. Art gives us a voice, it unites, and tells unique stories. In times of great change and turmoil, art provides a solace, a human connection across the time spectrum.
I've interspersed a selection of literary quotes I found on politics with some snap shots I took of a selection of works from the show. Don't just take my word for it. Make a point to stop in to see this phenomenal show yourself. The Arts Center is located at 230 Lakeville Street, Petaluma, CA, 94952 in the Historic Railroad Station.
A current membership drive is underway to boost the coffers for this vital center for the arts. Join today for a year's membership starting from $20 for students, $40 senior, $45 individual. Click here for more info.
“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
“If you're going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.”
“If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi
“The Revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the Revolution!”
Bellwether Farms' Liam (left) and Diana Callahan (right) with Lynne Devereux (center) of Butter Communications at the California Artisan Cheese Festival
Last month's California Artisan Cheese Festival was abuzz with creative energy and enticing cheeses. Sunday's annual grand marketplace is the best venue in the west to catch up with all of the top cheesemakers and industry folk making this one of the most talked about artisan food movements in the world.
One of my first stops was at the Bellwether Farms booth to catch up with my friend Lynne, board member extraordinaire of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. Lynne's professional and personal enthusiasm for promoting and educating the best of the west when it comes to artisan cheese is so inspiring.
She shared much good news from Bellwether, following the announcement of winners from the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest (USCCC) in Wisconsin earlier this Spring. Sonoma County's Bellwether Farms Whole Milk Basket Ricotta was recognized as Best in Class in the Ricotta Category and their newest cheese, Blackstone (one of my personal favorites) as Best in Class in the Mixed-milk Category. Ricotta scored a near perfect 99.5 points and Blackstone bested challengers with a score of 99.35.
These first wins of 2017 continue a 2016 winning streak for both popular cheeses. Whole Milk Basket Ricotta racked up four awards including International acclaim from Wisconsin’s World Cheese Championship while Blackstone grabbed 1st Place at the American Cheese Society competition and Gold at CalExpo in its premier performances.
“These competitions guide us in making the highest quality product we can, on par with the best in the artisan cheese business,” says Liam Callahan, co- founder and cheesemaker. “The wins also translate into sales growth as retailers confidently recommend our products to their customers.”
To make its award-winning Ricotta, Bellwether Farms starts with rich, whole Jersey cow milk from a neighboring Sonoma County dairy farm. The milk is cultured and slowly heated to develop flavor and its uniquely pillowy texture. The finished Ricotta is sold in its original draining basket. Blackstone a blend of Jersey cow and sheep milk with a scattering of peppercorns, aged and hand- rubbed with ash and pepper for a distinctive black rind.
A family business founded in 1986, Bellwether Farms established the first dairy sheep ranch west of the Mississippi. Artisan cheesemaking began in 1990 and continues today in the expanded creamery. Family matriarch Cindy Callahan tends to the flock while her son and his wife, Liam and Diana Callahan, are cheesemaker and business administrator, respectively. Bellwether Farms crafts a family of aged and fresh sheep and cow milk cheeses and yogurts using time-honored traditions and fresh whole milk sourced from their flock and family dairy farms nearby.
Here are a few more photos from my afternoon with the cheesemakers, chocolate makers, ice cream makers, wine and beer makers . . . If you've never attended the festival, the Sunday Marketplace is a great and super tasty introductory experience to this three day event, in which tickets are available individually for farm tours, dinners and seminars, too. Mark your calendar for next March.
One of my favorite Southern Sonoma County-based first families of food, Naomi and Joel (of Pizza Politana fame) opened the doors this spring to Lunchette — their brand new carryout lunch spot, opposite the museum in downtown Petaluma's bustling boutique shopping neighborhood.
What a terrific addition to healthy takeout options here in the south county. Lunchette is conveniently located at 25 Fourth Street in the space that was until fairly recently, home to my friend Suzanne Alexandre's popular Free Range Provisions. While we all miss popping in to see Suzanne and browse her quintessential California lifestyle home goods, artisan products and accessories, we'll be seeing more of her Free Range creative enterprise as it evolves away from brick and mortar in months to come.
Meanwhile, dynamic husband and wife team, Joel and Naomi are a perfect fit for this particular space and Lunchette was bustling with an energetic and positive vibe during my first pit-stop in to grab a tasty lunch to go.
Following extensive careers of professional cooking in the Bay Area (Chez Panisse, Liberty Café, Woodward’s Garden, the Slow Club and PlumpJack) Joel and Naomi met while working together at The Village Pub. They launched Pizza Politana in 2006, after being inspired by the simplicity and deliciousness of Naples’ wood-fired pizzas combined with the local-centric cooking of their Sonoma county community.
Naomi explained the couple's philosophy toward food. "We believe in the 85 /15 rule —85% of the things we do and eat should be good for us, the planet, and our community. That allows us to indulge 15% of the time!"
Lunchette's mission is to provide a mostly plant-based carryout menu where each meal is so delicious you won’t notice that what you’re eating is actually good for you.
"All of our salad bowls are grab-and-go ready as our goal is to bring quick serve to all the people who work in and around downtown, like us," said Naomi. "We will offer five or more prepackaged salads at a time, using all biodegradable packaging. Most salads will be vegan and gluten free, with available add-ons such as chicken salad, smoked trout salad and soft boiled egg."
Salads are priced between $8 and $12. For those who require something more robust, several different types of in house focaccia, made with organic whole wheat white and spelt flours, and topped with delicious seasonal ingredients are available at the counter. Slices are priced between $5 and $7.
"And for a sweet finish, we are taking ourselves to task with the 85/15 rule!," said Naomi. "We will be offering both an almond flour cakelette and a cookie that is vegan and gluten free." Sweets are priced between $2 and $4. Look for a range of Hu Kitchen chocolates, too.
If you need something to grab and take home, or to work or to the office to eat, Lunchette offers enticing combinations of flavors, colors and textures and high quality seasonal ingredients.
"Lunchette is ideally located for those who work and shop downtown, as well as those in neighboring business areas to stop in and pick up meals for their employees and clients," said Naomi. "We hope to provide something perfect for every palette, every person and every group!"
Naomi explained how she has put a lot of thought and planning into offering a range of foods and juices that caters to customers and friends who have been through or are going through chemo and/or radiation. Sugar-less juices and no sugar in the salad dressings certainly are the way forward health-wise.
Although there is no in-store seating, customers are welcome to eat at a stand-up bar, or on loaner picnic blankets provided for those who'd like to sit across the street on the grass in from of the Historical Museum and Library, as well as a picnic table out front.
Joel and Naomi and their family have given much to our community since moving here from San Francisco to raise their kids. It's exciting to see them launch into another timely new chapter and I wish them all the best in their downtown business. I'm sure I'll be seeing you at Lunchette!
Lunchette A carryout lunch spot 25 4th street Petaluma, CA 94952
Opening Hours: Tues - Sat, 10:30 am-2:30 pm