Cynthia Sandberg, proprietor of Love Apple Farms hosted a fabulous Eco-Feast benefitting the Museums of Los Gatos last night and I can only hope it will become an annual affair! This amazing biodynamic farm nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains on a piece of terraced land (formerly developed for grapevines and run by the Smothers Brothers back in the eighties) is the kitchen garden for David Kinch’s Manresa (two star Michelin rating, and #5 on Bon Appétit’s 20 Most Important Restaurants in America). There are all kinds of courses you can sign up for and in the spring there’s a tomato plant sale (this is the place to go as she has some 100 varieties)! Love Apple is an early name for tomato when they were believed to be an aphrodisiac.
What a perfect setting for a fundraising dinner although there was a threat that we might be rained out (which is bizarre as it never rains here in the summer) but we all dug out our rain boots and umbrellas and drove through downpours and mist as the weather eventually cleared for a gloriously sunny evening.
Cynthia Sandberg herself took us on a guided tour and invited us to nibble on the 6 different varieties of zingy mustard greens, weed beds if we were up for it and feed the chickens with what wee pulled up and squish a few bad bugs.
I didn’t squish this katydid – I don’t know why but I assumed it was looking for aphids (I guess I thought it was pretty like a ladybug) but they are related to grasshoppers and now that I look more closely, it was clearly going to town on these leaves.
Autumn Beauty Sunflowers harolding the last official day of summer.
These ones will soon be ready to harvest for more of those corn popsicles rolled in toasted coriander and sunflower seeds!
Nothing like live music – this evening it was light jazz compliments of the Kevan Smedt Trio, so beautful to hear it floating over the gardens!
Chef Nick Difu of Nick’s Next Door and Chef Brenden Darby (soon to be working at Noma!) treated us to an exciting menu I kept lifting my plates up to get a better view of the surprising ingredients on the menu!
Sweet corn popsicle with toasted coriander and sunflower seeds
Kalamata olive crisps with sea-salt cured tomatoes
Vichyssoise with crostini topped with vegetable tapenade and chive oil
Spicy sprouts with romesco sauce, purple carrot puree, and tomato topped with potato crisp and rosemary oil
Calamari salad with sautéed abalone and a basil butter
Chamomile and lemon herb tea chilled with a frozen cilantro ice cube
Duck confit over creamy polenta, french beans with almonds, finished with a port wine dry cherry reduction
Tequila marinated grilled fruit with toasted lemon
At dinner my husband and I ended sitting next to artist Gordon Smedt, across from friends (and collectors of my work) and kitty corner to a writer of literary fiction who had been a fellow of the Montalvo Arts Center Lucas Artist Residency Program!
Maybe I’ll make it back soon for one of their fabulous classes – advaced cheese making anyone?