The Sonoma County that we love!

Posts tagged ‘yum’

Beignets at the Farmers Market

I have one word – Beignets!

There’s a booth that serves them at the Redwood Empire Farmers Market at the Veteran’s Building. I would have taken a picture of the ones I got but you know the story, I ate ’em the second I got ’em. Next time, I’ll get a good shot. Yea, right.

IMG_0393 IMG_0395


Farmer’s Market

Strange Fruit

I absolutely LOVE going to farmer’s markets. My favorite is Saturday mornings at the Santa Rosa Vet’s Building, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Saturdays are like a street fair with music, prepared food, and lots of little kids. There are so many different markets, last season when the Press Democrat printed a list of where and when each was happening, I printed it and color coded it by day. It was really useful when I wanted to remember where I could shop depending on what city I was in. I found a list of the surrounding area markets for you if you want it.

Does anyone know what this fruit is? It was beautiful but I have no idea.

Nature in the Neighborhood

Saturday July 10, 2010
Bayer Neighborhood Park & Gardens
1550 West Ave., Santa Rosa
(view my Flickr photo album)

Bayer Farm

I am a fairly new member of Rotary Club of Santa Rosa West and my club does something special. The club has for the last two years provided new members or “Red Badge-r”s the opportunity to take a $1000 stipend and either donate it to a cause or turn it into something more. The first year this was done an event to fundraise for a program called Dogs for Diabetics. (I will talk more about their upcoming July 17 soon). My team has decided to support the Bayer Neighborhood Park & Gardens which is commonly known as Bayer Farm. We visited the site to get a better feel for what they do. (stay tuned for an announcement of the way my Red Badge team will support the farm)

Community gardeners, currently 37 families, maintain 34 plots as well as the common land. It sits on City of Santa Rosa land and will eventually be turned into a public park. The city provides the water and compost setup while LandPaths is the organization that operates the endeavor. The main goal is providing a chance for urban families to experience nature by maintaining their own gardens, education, and supporting the neighborhood.

Community gardeners must agree to perform a predetermined amount of volunteer hours before being assigned a plot, pay $20 per year as an honorarium, and continue to participate in maintaining the community grounds. There is a waiting list but thankfully it isn’t too long.


Redwood Empire Food Bank runs a Free Summer Lunch Program Monday-Friday 11:30-1pm in the summer, feeding an average of 80 children a day.

It has a teaching & demonstration garden and workshops are taught where one can learn various things like how to plant a winter garden (upcoming Aug. 21 and I WILL be attending). The cost for the workshops are on a sliding scale, approx. $20 at the top end. They are hoping to incorporate cooking classes soon. The produce that is a result of the teaching garden is sold at the Bayer Farmstand right on site August-October.

Friday events are a community party. Aztec drummers, food, families, pumpkin carving in season, puppet shows and more. They partnered with KRCB on Tom Sawyer Day with many small town activities for the kids including a treasure hunt and three legged races.

Several nearby schools have educational relationships with the farm. Curriculum has been developed and provided to teachers so that they can bring their classes to the farm on their own, if desired. Educators are also encouraged to use the farm for lessons other than gardening. If they can think of ways to teach math, science, languages and more using the space, bring it! The Girl Scouts and 4H have many days spent in the sun, working on the land. 4H is donating the produce from their plot to the farmstand. High school kids are able to log in their required volunteer hours working at Bayer. Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) even get their kids that are staying in the shelter out of the house and into the therapeutic work of gardening in their plot.

The greatest need Bayer Farm has is the money to pay for the operating costs of the program as well as the salaries for the employees it takes to make everything run. They also have something unique, Magdalena, LandPaths’ Bayer Farm Outreach Coordinator. She is bilingual and that is absolutely necessary in the neighborhood that Bayer is located in.

If you have a recession/victory garden, are part of the slow food movement, love sustainability, your community, are locally minded, want to fight obesity, raise awareness about the importance of getting back to the land and feeding our brothers good food, please visit Bayer Farm. You will fall in love and want to romp the grounds like a little kid. And I promise I won’t tell anyone if you climb the big tree.

The Big Tree at Bayer Farm

The Big Tree-the first some kids have ever climbed

For the Love of Books

The bedside table of a person that reads too much.

I am a bibliophile, a person who loves or collects books. I love the paper, I love the kinetic sense that I am educating myself.

One of my first memories of “being big” was on a trip to the library. My dad would bring me to the downtown Santa Rosa Library and lead me to the children’s section. Safely esconced among the kid stacks and watched over by a librarian, he would head over to the magazine section. He was such an avid reader that going to the library was a smart way to read as many of them as possible without having to pay the astronomical subscription price should they have been mailed to our house. After doing this many times, I finally decided to go find him when I was ready rather than wait for him to fetch me. I ventured into the cavernous main library room and took the long walk to the other side of the building. Since I couldn’t have been more than 6, that’s like hiking multiple football fields. As an adult, it only takes me 2 minutes to cross from corner to corner but it was the longest trek of my life up until that point. The pride I felt in overcoming my fear of that journey will forever stay with me. As well as the relief that my dad really was at the other end of that scary walk.

I’m passionate about books and I feel the same for the library. I love to get excited about a random subject, be it quantum physics, photography, organization or science fiction, and being able to read to my heart’s content. Try to do that at a bookstore or even Would you be willing to completely go out on a limb and research how to shoe a horse if it would cost you a lot of money to do so? I think not. I want to absorb information like oxygen, I’m greedy about it. I have visions of entering the Library of Congress and seeing endless stacks of knowledge spread before me. I have to remind myself that I can’t read them all and that they are constantly being written. I will simply not get to them all. Call me obsessive.

When I had a baby, my daughter seems to relish the open air space. She would tune up her little lungs and let loose just to hear the echo. No wandering stacks for me with a newborn. I learned that you could reserve books and have an alert email sent to you when it was ready. My daugher is almost 5 yet I still use this feature all the time. I regularly get recommendations for books from many sources and I can simply drop them into my queue. Whether I am number 1 on the list or 453 (as was the case with the “Twilight” books), I don’t have to do anything but pick them up when they tell me they are ready.

Join me at the Friends of the Library Book Faire at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds April 16-19.

Friday from 3 – 7:30 p.m. – Preview sale – $5 admission
Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Half Price day
Monday from 2 – 7 p.m. – Bag Day – all books $4 a bag

Help support your local library. Research subjects you are passionate about.
Learn and never stop.

Duck Dreams

Wednesday 2/3/10 7pm
Cucina Pardiso, Petaluma

I’ve eaten at Cucina Paradiso before when they were at their previous location and never had anything to write home about. This time was different.

I’m not a food writer. I’m a real person that enjoys writing about the places I go. That’s why I have this blog. I don’t know about you but I go through phases as to what foods and flavors I crave. Lately it’s been briny, pickled, and spicy foods. When I saw duck with balsamic vinegar, I knew this was right up my flavor alley. (Petto di Anatra al Balsamico e Timo $17.95, Roast breast of Petaluma duck with balsamic vinegar and Fresh thyme sauce)

Roast breast of Petaluma duck

So I’m telling you I will be dreaming about this bird for weeks to come. I don’t know when I’ll get back there for the perfectly tangy taste of that wonderful duck. But trust me, I will not stop thinking about it until I do. I don’t really even remember what else was served on the plate (potaoes and squash, I believe) but I do know that as I was eating, I kept hoping the plate would never be emptied. No such luck.

Also eaten: butternut squash soup (good but needed more than a bit of salt and I never salt ANYTHING, just ask my husband) and vanilla ice cream with espresso poured all over it.

Overall grade: A-
Bonus points for dreaming of tangy duck

I’m hungry now.

Traverso’s…Old and New Tradition

Friday 7/10/09 11am
Traverso’s Gourmet Foods & Liquors, Salame Cutting

As an Ambassador for the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, I go to a lot of ribbon cuttings. We get to see a new or improved business, take tours, meet nice people, and eat good food. It’s tough (sob). Anyway, for the dozens of ribbon cuttings I’ve attended, never have they cut meat.

Anyone that’s lived in Santa Rosa for any amount of time is familiar with the old world charm of Traverso’s (@traversos on Twitter). They used to occupy the building between 2nd and 3rd Streets at B Street right next to the bus depot. That small location was filled with wonderful food and wine but never did I realize exactly how much was in there. I’ve only been there once in the last 10 years (since I stopped riding the bus…well then it’s been a lot longer).

Their new location is on Stagecoach Road on the Fountaingrove Parkway across from Villa Varenna and the Fountaingrove Country Club. At first I wasn’t sure that would be a good place for them. Boy, did they pick the right neighborhood.

First, I’ve never seen so many people at a ribbon cutting. Normally, the Ambassador team dwarfs attendees of any other category at an event like that but this time we were in the minority by far. When I got there, there were easily 75 people waiting anxiously for the festivities to begin. Three generations of Traverso’s were on hand to cut the salame (Italian spelling) and usher in a new era of tradition. Old customers and friends were so happy to tour the new store and I was surprised to realize the strength of their reputation in this community. Their loyal fans, customers, and friends were excited to be there and support the family business.

They offered us a wonderful selection of Columbus salame, a wide variety of cheeses, a balsamic vinegar tasting with strawberries (sounds strange but it was heavenly, picture of sample provider), wine and deli food tastings.

I walked down one aisle of wines and was surprised to see that each label not only represented a renowned winery but my friends and neighbors. These aren’t just well known vintners, these are people I grocery shop with, see at the Downtown Market, and break bread with. This is our community and gosh darnit, I’m proud we have such a wonderful tableau at our fingertips.

Eat up!

Balsamic Vinegar & Strawberry Tasting @ Traverso's

Potato Heaven

Thursday 7/17/09 7pm
Stark’s Steakhouse

Okay, three words. Potato Skin Fondue. Are you kidding me? Stark’s, you had me at “Potato Skin”. I’m at a loss for words.

Thanks to Christopher Wisner @wizzlestick for the great local Railroad Square neighborhood chat! And to @sharayray for hooking us up via the interwebs (Twitter for all those that don’t get the @s).

They say we are getting further apart.

This is one instance where technology brought us closer together and made friends from neighbors.

Stark's Steakhouse Potato Skin Fondue

Stark's Steakhouse Potato Skin Fondue

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