Out the back door garden

 our farm at Imagery Winery; photo by Steven Krause 
To us, the farm is both literal—referring of course, 
to the 2 plus acres of biodynamic land at Imagery Estate Winery 
in Glen Ellen where we grow most 
of our vegetables, herbs and fruits—but our "farm project" also 
encompasses what we grow at the restaurants. 
A blog past last year took you along with Chef John 
and his farm consultant, Colby Eierman as they reviewed
the space behind the girl & the fig, where they first started planting, 
and looked ahead to what else could be done there:
(that's how they decided to plant 300 asparagus crowns 
even though we need to be patient for almost two years until we can harvest them) 
And, in some ways, the "farms" right outside the doors of the restaurant 
are where the Chefs turn for frequent daily inspiration or a quick solution. 
the lavender bushes and apple espaliers at ESTATE are beautiful and delicious!
apple fennel galette photo by Steven Krause 
The gardens at ESTATE are a significant aspect of the environment and 
experience of dining there, where you can enjoy beautiful ornamental plants, 
a climbing rose that is over 100 years old and lush trees. 
Certainly the herb beds and apple espaliers in the front and the lemon tree by the porch do double duty for us, both as part of the landscaping and serving the kitchen. 

heirloom apples grafted on the espaliers
story goes that this climbing rose was a wedding gift to General Vallejo's daughter 
lemon tree right outside ESTATE bar entrance 
But we also take advantage of every bit of sun and space available
with beds of potatoes, onions, carrots and some herbs in an area in the west parking lot 
as well as creatively planting along the back fence. 
The beans, cucumbers, eggplant, chard, and purslane back there are truly 
an "out the back door" garden for the chefs. 

chard. Did you know this is a plant that makes you happy?
purslane, which tastes like spinach or watercress, appears in our salads. Here are recipe ideas
And behind the girl & the fig, our new greenhouse is ready for micro greens and herbs. 
The greenhouse is a new addition to our farm project 
and will greatly enhance what we can do, especially with 
more fragile plants as well as allowing us to have more control.

greenhouse at the fig in process
greenhouse ready for plants
Chef Jeremy from "the fig" enjoys the convenience of 
dashing out the door to snip some chives—how much fresher could they be? 
And he likes "keeping his hand" in the farm; while he works the beds 
out back, he may get a new idea for something to do in the kitchen. 

What do you plant outside your back door? 
Get some ideas for container planting in the city.
Whatever you decide, here is a great resource from 
about planting a more "earth-friendly" garden
And Smart Gardener is a favorite source for innovative ways to garden in small spaces whether in the city or anywhere. 
Being limited for space should not prevent you from the experience 
and the delicious taste of growing some of your own food!
photo by Jerry James Stone 
And if you and some fellow urban farmers want to join forces 
to create a more extensive garden in a city environment, 
read this article for ideas. 

But for us, here in Sonoma, we know we are lucky 
to have the space we do and the bounty we cultivate 
in all the areas we consider "the farm project."
Our chefs and servers are happy to share that bounty with you,
 telling you which ingredients come from our farm. 
Stop in sometime soon this summer to taste what we are growing.
the peas at the farm inspired the chefs at ESTATE 
to create smoked pea sformato radish salad

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post! I am so inspired to find the sunny spots in my yard and plant things like cucumbers, beans and, most especially, chard.