It’s hard to blog about Slow Design and Slow Living if you’re Designing Fast/ Living Fast/Eating Fast. It’s just a bit disingenuous. Like speeding to get to a yoga class.
This weekend, thanks to our good friend, Jack Ford, we went into Slow Mode. Very Slow. On horseback. All through Warner Springs, over the Pacific Crest Trail, stopping for a picnic under a stand of old California Live Oaks. Even the lunch was Slow. I’m still savoring it.
Jack owns TAJ Farms in Valley Center, a CSA subscription farm in Valley Center (North San Diego County), dedicated to sustainable and responsible agricultural practices. In addition to households like mine, he supplies pasture-raised beef, chicken, turkey, goat, lamb and rabbit to a number of local San Diego farm-to-table restaurants, like the Linkery and El Take It Easy in North Park.
Well, Jack also happens to be an amazing cook. So, our picnic included a melon salad with mint and balsamic vinegar. Free range chicken, arugula and sun dried pesto on focaccia. Grilled Portobellos, Bufala mozzarella and basil on focaccia bread. And a garbanzo bean salad with roasted garlic, eggplant, olive oil, lemon and black olives. It was truly Farm-to-Picnic Table Slow Luxe Food. I had a hard time hoisting myself up on my horse, Lacy. I managed. I love to ride and it was a perfect blue-sky sunny San Diego day.
On the way home, we decided to stop in Valley Center at the tasting room of our friends, winemakers Chris Broomell and Alysha Stehly of Vesper Vineyards. When we arrived, they were setting up for a wine club release party and welcomed us with a taste of their Mourvedre Rose and a tour of the facilities. Chris and Alysha create compelling local wines with minimal intervention. (We ended up staying for the party, by the way. Oh, twist….)
We tried their Vermentino, their Viognier and their Syrah. They only make twenty cases of each. All three were delicious and interesting, but the Syrah is notable because it’s produced whole cluster (they throw the stems in, too), foot-stomped and bottled in small quanlities. Very Old World.
We left with a refillable one-litre bottle of their addictive Rose, a dozen gorgeous brown and aqua eggs, four cantaloupes, half a dozen tomatoes and yellow squash and a delicious watermelon. Oh, and a few other bottles for gifts.
By the way, Vesper Vineyards’ one-liter bottles are refillable at Triple B Ranches in Valley Center, while their wines are available on tap at The Linkery, El Take It Easy and Tiger! Tiger! in North Park in San Diego. Vesper Vineyards and its growers are constantly looking for way to minimize their impact on the environment. They’ve accomplished this by reducing their use of glass bottles, corks, capsules, labels and cardboard cases, along with their production and shipping. Explains Chris, “By filling reusable kegs with the equivalent of 26 bottles of wine we have eliminated so much of our carbon footprint that it’s going to take me a while to figure out the calculation. The wines we keg are the exact same that we bottle, and filled on the same day so that there is no difference in quality.”
So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I hope you’re also enjoying a bit of the Slow Life. Drop me a line. Dash off a digital postcard from wherever you are this summer, my Slow Luxe Sweeties! Miss you….