Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vegging Out

I am writing this, nestled in on my couch, in my favorite tank, which reads "I veg to differ." It's from an organic farm and winery in Sonoma County owned by Lou Preston, a man I came to know during my month-long goat farm internship last year at Pugs Leap Farm, not too far from Lou's. Lou would stop by once a week to pick up the fresh whey (from the last few days cheesemaking production) to feed his pigs. We talked a bit about food, farming & politics, when Eric and Pascal - the goat farmer and cheesemaker, respectively - said we should have a picnic there some afternoon (except when Pascal says "picnic" there's an extra syllable, making him sound a bit like Smokey the Bear). Turn down wine and good food? Never!

Lou's winery is a find like few others. Organic produce, pigs and chicken, and fresh baked bread - and, oh yeah, amazing wines. Plus, his land is open to the public to have a picnic any time - so long as you don't arrive in a tour bus. Eric and Pascal arranged our picnic table with antique English china and crystal over freshly starched linens, much to the envy of the other picnickers. Fresh baguettes, the most amazing creamy fresh goat chese from their farm, washed down with Lou's "Grape Wine," a fruity, yet complex blend of rousanne, marsanne and viognier grapes all grown organically there.

I returned home insistent on adding a few goats and chickens to my current stable of 5 dogs. Eric & Pascal had even chosen the lady Edith for me to take away from their family - a goat who was probably a bit more uptown than their simple farm. But when I brought this up to my husband, he said it was out of the question. Why? The goats would eat all of our plants, and the dogs would eat the chickens! Still seemed surmoutable, but then I realized that so many of the edible fruit trees we have are actually toxic to animals, and that poor Edith might literally eat herself to death (which task, at the moment, is relegated to my parents' 16-year-old Dalmatian Patch). So Edith still reigns supreme at Pugs Leap, and the chicken battle is ongoing. But our garden has survived. In fact, thrived. And since some of you have asked about my garden, I thought I would point you to this little video of my berry patch, with music by my good friend Calman Hart's band Berkley Hart.


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