What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been. Cooking, visiting, show and tell, so many stories, so many kissed cheeks, new stuff, old stuff. I look forward to getting back to a routine, I am not really sure why. Being with family that I spend too little time with, is ALWAYS a treat, a potential memory, something that lasts. Sustainable. Better than a good meal. Better than painting? Yes, even that.
Yesterday, we all visited Jacobsen Orchards, the orchard that provides most of the fruit and some of the more esoteric vegetables to the famous French Laundry in Yountville. We met Peter Jacobsen and his wife Gwen, the hardworking couple who plant the vegetables, feed the soil and care for the trees. It was impressively compact, surrounded by homes and thoughtfully designed. The Jacobsens moved in 27(?) years ago. The orchard was there though they have replaced many of the trees. They grow many small patches of unusual vegetables; white and purple carrots, white beets and white strawberries, Jerusalem artichokes, cardoons, a white wormy-like tuber that I can’t remember the name of.
I think what strikes me now about the visit was their relationship with the restaurant. They take care of the farming. The restaurant takes care of the harvest. Chefs come and get what they want for the day. (They are just a few blocks away.) They have crafted a contract that works for the both of them. I’m inspired by the clarity and ease of such a deal. It is something for which to strive.