Our "go-to" garden

We are back and forth between the Imagery Farm, ESTATE 
and area behind the girl & the fig
Right now the winter plants at Imagery are flourishing, 
so we can put some effort into our "go-to" garden at the girl & the fig
As usual, herbs will dominate here, making it easy 
for the chefs to grab what they need. 
Our raised beds have always served us well and this season will be no exception. 
last season's herbs in one of the beds 
we are getting started with the herb beds  
Also continuing to thrive in the garden behind the fig 
are nettles, chard and rhubarb. 
In "What's growing" post a few weeks ago, we talked about 
how nettles are considered a "super food," because they are high 
in protein, iron, fiber, Vitamin A & Cmaking the effort to 
harvest them (3 pairs of latex gloves!) worth it. 
And how they taste in John's ravioli filling 
inspires us to keep them growing. 
Alongside the chard we are planting kale. 
This effort is a true family affair, with John, 
his wife Tina and mom Judy working the beds. 
Maybe this will be a new kind of kale –"Toulze kale!"
porchetta on a bed of polenta and kale
soon these beds will be lush with kale 
One of the signs of Spring is rhubarb and 
what we have growing at the fig is almost 
ready to taste–a tad too tart today 
in November this rhubarb was dormant in the bed at the fig
now the rhubarb is thriving 

almost ready 
waiting for the stalks to get red and ripe

but you can see the red stalks are getting ready
 to soon become our rhubarb tart.

photo of tart by Steven Krause from Plats du Jour book
John and Chef Ashley survey what's growing at "the fig,"
making plans for tending the garden 
and then what they will cook in the kitchen.

Working our gardens is hard but satisfying work.
It feels good to know where our food comes from 
and we take great pride in creating dishes for you, truly from "farm to table," 
something we have been doing for 15 years.
We appreciate that you come to our restaurants for this experience.
It is amazing to us how much we can grow in the garden 
behind the girl & the fig, only about half an acre.

A few posts ago, as part of our promotion of a fundraiser 
for "The Organic Life" documentary, we posted 
this insightful talk by Roger Doiron.
If you missed it, we are sharing it again.
It inspires us to keep growingand hope it does for you too. 
 (TEDx talk, courtesy of YouTube) 


A sense of place in our food

photo by Steven Krause
"I feel as if we are transporting the land to our guests," 
is one of the ways John describes why the farm project is so important to him. 
He muses on what a natural evolution it is to be growing so many of our ingredients: 
"The guiding philosophy for us has always been 
serving simple food that reflects a sense of place." 
This idea of "sense of place" is also referenced 
when talking about the concept of Terroir and in fact, 
that phrase is the loose translation for the word. 
Terroir comes from the French word terre "land" 
and was often incorporated into descriptions of wine, coffee or teaused to denote the special characteristics that the geography or climate characteristics 
of a certain place bestowed upon particular produce. 
The idea being that agricultural sites in the same region 
share similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, 
which all contribute to the distinctive qualities of the crop. 
photo by Steven Krause
Certainly there is a particular Terroir at our farm on Imagery Estate Winery 
enhanced by the Biodynamic properties of the land there. 
In a recent blog post, Mike Benziger talks about the Terroir 
of the Biodynamic property they have created 
and which we are fortunate enough to share as part of our farm project. 

You know how amazing it is to eat tomatoes 
picked from the vine rather than 
ones purchased in a supermarket—understanding that 
where (and how) something is grown contributes even more 
to your taste experience, keeps us toiling at the farm and in our kitchens. 

 A recent article in The Atlantic about the mood-boosting properties 
of bacteria found in dirt (maybe that's why we like farming so much?) 

noted this as well: "Cooks have their own word for it. 
 Terroir is what makes a loaf of sourdough from San Francisco 
taste so different from its cousin in Bordeaux. 
 The regional microbes, in the soil and air, impart their particular notes to the bread. 
 You can taste terroir in your wine, your cheese, and even your chocolateall of which are produced with the help of specialized bacterias that can vary from town to town." 
So, indeed John is able to transport the land to our guests 
bringing our very own distinctive taste to the food we create for you.
photo by Steven Krausse
carrot soup photo by Steven Krause

At the Imagery farm, we are currently growing 
beets, radishes, carrots, potatoes along with the leeks, garlic and onions. 
see this small sprout of a beet from one of the beds at the farm?
soon it will be part of this luscious beet salad
and this row of Chinese Red meat radishes
will ultimately look like this. What will the chefs create?
These will likely have their own specific Terroir, 
different from what we are growing behind the girl & the fig or at ESTATE

John and Chef Ashley behind the fig
herb beds above and below lemon tree at ESTATE

Next time you are eating at one of our three restaurants—
the girl & the fig and ESTATE in Sonoma or the fig cafĂ© and winebar in Glen Ellen—
pay particular attention to the depth of the flavors of the food, 
knowing it is a reflection of the Terroir of where it was grown.