Last Saturday we won a Gold Medal with our Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the annual meeting of the California Olive Oil Council. We are very pleased.
While the rest of the world was focused on medal contests at the Winter Olympics, we were similarly engaged.
The California Olive Oil Council is the industry trade association for olive oil production in the United States. An annual competition was initiated last year to acknowledge the best producers in the domestic olive oil industry. The oils are judged by a jury of our most significant peers.
These same tasters apply their skills to accredit extra virgin olive oils that receive the COOC seal. And, they have received many hours of training and have tasted hundreds of oils in structured blind settings. As a result, their judgment means even more to us than a review from a "civilian" food writer or critic.
So, for us, this award is a "really big deal."
Oiive oil maker for Long Meadow Ranch, Jason Moulton, was in attendance to receive the award. (Regretably, the award ceremony overlapped with the Napa Valley Premier barrel auction which prevented Laddie and me from being there, too.) He returned home with a grin that will last for a few more days.
Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil is our "mixing and blending" oil made from a blend of Italian and Spanish cultivars. It is our favorite for salads, pesto, and Tuscan beans. Unfortunately, the 2010 harvest was very light because of severe weather during flower set last May. So, while we have just completed bottling, there will not be much to go around. In fact, we did not make any Prato Lungo oil for first time since 1995 because we had no crop from the historic orchards.
While the medal is not exactly "Olympic" in its importance, we are very proud to receive this recognition for our organic farming and oil production practices. Bravo to Jason, Frank, Pilo, Todd, Lauren, Sean, and all of the crew.
We're off to a great start at Farmstead with many happy guests over the long weekend. Both the menu and the by-the-glass wine list were very well received.
Call 707-963-9181 for reservations or visit www.farmsteadnapa.com. Walk-ins are welcome.
Friday was the big day for Farmstead restaurant. We opened as scheduled at 11:30 AM and we don't plan to close again until Christmas day.
We were busy up to the very last minute, including completing the lighting for the main signs and the walkway to the restrooms. But, we got it all done for an on-time launch.
Our guests raved about the food - much to Sheamus' delight - and the staff performed wonderfully. Last night the room was full of electricity. And, our strategy of limiting reservations paid off as everyone had good service and a good time. We take off the training wheels tonight and tomorrow.
Looking for a reservation?
Call 707-963-9181 or visit www.farmsteadnapa.com.
Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but Farmstead restaurant opens tomorrow (Friday, February 12th).
Tomorrow is a really big day for our family and for chef Sheamus Feeley and his team. We will open our farm-to-table restaurant for lunch and dinner at our St. Helena location at 738 Main Street.
We held an open house on Tuesday evening for the many people who have helped us with this project. Frank Borges (the general contractor) and all of the subcontractors and their crews were part of the scene. It was great to see them show off their work to family and friends. Great folks with true pride in their work.
Yesterday we did a "practice service" at lunch and dinner with family and friends serving as patrons. We served about 120 meals and, by the end of the evening, the staff had the room and kitchen working really well. The excellent practice gave everyone confidence that we could pull it off "for real" on Friday.
Today we closed for final cleaning and a "zero base" inventory.
So, here we go. No more hoopla or parties. Instead, every day wil be a "grand opening" at Farmstead.
We open the phone lines for reservations on Friday morning at 11:30 AM (707-963-9181). And, hopefully, we'll open the doors shortly thereafter.
Please come join us. Most of the seats are for the local community. So, walk-ins are welcome. Reservations are limited.
More news tomorrow.