Saturday, August 14, 2010

Farm To Table Dining

At the end of July we took our oldest daughter to take a look at a culinary school in the Napa Valley area. Although I had been there before, it had been a few years and I figured a few things had changed. Thanks to Bonnie over at Vintage Garden Gal, she had mentioned the Long Meadow Ranch and their new restaurant in St. Helena called The Farmstead


What fascinated me right from the beginning was their on-premise garden which supplied food for the table. I love this new concept in dining... grow what you cook; eat what is in season; keep it organic; and definitely local


The Farmstead Restaurant is actually in town (as opposed to out at the ranch), located in an old nursery barn. In fact, they still run a nursery that is on the other side of the building in the photo above. You can dine indoors or out on the patio that is sounded by herbs and apples grown in an espaliar fashion on rustic wire and posts, tour the vegetable and herb garden, buy an apple tree, and then walk over to the tasting room next door and sample their Long Meadow Ranch wine and olive oil.


Espalier apple tree.

Herb garden at The Farmstead.

Vegetables growing beside the restaurant.

Beautiful kale used in dishes served at The Farmstead.


The menu may sound simple and it was, but it's not your mama's home cooking. While they serve chicken and dumplings and summer vegetable stew, the dishes have been seasoned in such a spectacular fashion, you'd think you died and went to heaven! Subtle enough so as not to overpower, yet fresh, flavorful and rich. And did I mention down right GOOD? I think the fact that they raise all their own grass fed beef had something to do with it. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, their olive trees are some of the oldest in the Valley. Talk about a self-sufficient homestead! 


I really wanted to get out to their ranch and tour the place, see the chicken coop, and the whole production. Unfortunately, they were closed to private tours the week I was there (so if you get a chance to go, be sure to call ahead!). Instead, I settled for an August 2010 copy of Food and Wine which featured Long Meadow Ranch, gave a bit of history, and a few recipes. 


We ended our visit with a stop in the tasting room. This beautifully refurbished building sits right next door and houses both their wine and olive oils. If you're a homesteading "foodie" you'll want to add this place to your "must see" list. It's a real blessing to see a family that understands the concept of homesteading and being sustainable and has carried that through to their business. 


If you're interested, Sheamus Feeley, the chef at The Farmstead, has a few recipes on both the Food and Wine website and Long Meadow Ranch's website, as well as in the magazine mentioned. I definitely want to try some of these soon! I'm thinking I might try the Chicken Grilled Under A Brick or Ted's Tuscan Beans first. It'll be hard to decide.


Let us know if you have found a farm-to-table restaurant so others can try it, too!



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