Spring is in the air at Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg.
Growing up in the South Bay, Marin and Sonoma County always just seemed a teensy bit too far. Driving all the way over the bridge? When I could go get a scoop of salted caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite and hang out in Dolores Park for the afternoon instead? Nah.
Well, now that I’m calling Healdsburg my home sweet home, I am soaking up all the scenic, sunny Saturday drives with my windows rolled down and the music turned up that I can get. I’m checking out farms, vineyards, backroads, and sideroads. Pending disagreeable weather (such as this weekend), I am trying my darndest to go for a hike every weekend so that I can get out there and explore the land on foot.
The night before Easter, I found myself talking and thinking a lot about the beach and the ocean. Despite being from California, I did not grow up right on the water, and I have only (unsuccessfully) tried surfing once. But for some strange reason, I jumped out of bed on Easter morning and decided I wanted to go hiking along the coast down at Point Reyes–a place I had never been but always heard had great hiking and great cheese (go figure).
What followed was a spectacular day of sunshine, dramatic cliff views, and a well-earned ham and cheese sandwich from the Cowgirl Creamery shop inside Tomales Bay Foods in Point Reyes Station.
Throw in a little bookshop browsing and a little caffeine stop before the car ride back full of views of cows, olive groves, and quiet little towns, and you’ve got a happy camper (me).
On the other hand, the weather this weekend has gently nudged me indoors, which has also been splendid. Yesterday I opted for some biscuits and gravy (and a loaf of Meyer lemon/rosemary bread to take home) at Della Fattoria in Petaluma and a matinee showing of City of Gold, a documentary about the fascinating Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold.
Since moving here two months ago, I haven’t really had any desire for the stimulation of San Francisco. Perhaps I’m still detoxing from a few hectic months in New York last fall, but I’m feeling very drawn to more agricultural landscapes right now, to yin yoga, to walking to work, and to reading voraciously.
I’ve got a long drive down to a friend’s house in Carmel Valley on Friday for some more time to reflect on what I’ve been able to see, do, and taste so far up here, including some unique experiences like meeting an extraordinary group of Danish farmers who run a 40,000 person CSA and attending an incredibly moving storytelling series about labor in the kitchen. And looking forward to the long drive back up north to think about what’s ahead.