At Long Meadow Ranch, we take our fruits and veggies very seriously. Not only do we need our organic produce for our restaurant at Farmstead, but we use it to feed our chickens and sell it to our friends at the farmer’s market. We are transitioning from spring into summer and we’ve been planting like crazy the last couple weeks.
We still have chard, kale, collards, lettuces, artichokes, and beets in the ground. If Mother Nature is kind, we should have artichokes through May, chard, kale, collards, and lettuces into June, and beets all year.
With summer just around the corner, it was time to get our summer plant starters into the ground. We start all of our plants from seeds in our greenhouses, then move them into the ground for the majority of the growing season.
This year, Jeff (our culinary farm manager) thought it would be beneficial to plant some produce rows in our fruit orchard at our Rutherford Estate. The soil is rich in organic matter from years of tilling leaves, cover crop, etc into the ground. With the addition of some of our compost, this location makes for the perfect growing conditions for both fruit trees and veggies.
After the soil was prepared, we mapped out each of the beds. There are 2 rows pictured in this bed for peppers--we’re planting 13 varietals this year!
Next, we lay the irrigation lines. Each row gets 2 tape lines.
Once the lines were placed, we laid plastic over the soil and irrigation to block weeds and for water efficiency. This special plastic comes in a variety of colors, but we use green for these plants, because it warms the soil. We use a red plastic for our tomato plants--check out our Facebook over the next few weeks for more information on why we use red plastic for tomatoes.
Before we started planting, we had to mark the distance between the plants. This row is being marked for cucumbers. The distance between the plants is important to ensure enough space for each plant to thrive
We chose to plant cucumbers in this row, because of it’s proximity to the beehive. The bees will help pollinate the Striped Armenian and Diva cucumbers.
Fun fact: the long, thin Striped Armenian cucumber is actually a member of the melon family with light and dark green stripes! Diva cucumbers are tender, crisp, sweet, and seedless.
The remaining rows on the west side of the orchard were planted with peppers. The peppers will really help the fruit trees, as they had a tough winter with all of the rain.
This year we planted: Lemon Drop, Alaku Sarga, Corbaci, Como di Torro, Fatalii, Jimmy Nardello, Leustchauer Paprika, Mayan Habanero, mixed Bell, Padron, Red Cheese, Shishito, and Urfa.
Who knew the orchard could look more beautiful than it already did?! We plan to plant melons in the eastern part of the orchard in the same manner. We’re excited to see how these plants work together in the coming months to produce lots of tasty food for our plates.
ARTISAN OF THE MONTH
Name: Aaron Marthaler
What is your role for Long Meadow Ranch (LMR)?
How long have you been working with LMR?
Two years - I started as the restaurant butcher, then moved to my current role as estate chef in October 2016.
What has been your favorite project at LMR?
The Anderson Valley wine launch dinners in New York and Chicago. We got to really think about these new wines and what food would make them shine. My favorite dish was a squab with truffle mousse, spiced prune jam and perigourdine paired with the Long Meadow Ranch Pinot Noir.
What do you wish other people knew about LMR?
Our Chef’s Table experience is a hidden gem! We really get to interact with the guests, because the setting is so small and all of the produce is coming from our farm--it doesn’t get much better than that.
Tell us how you got into cooking. Was it a natural fit from the start or did you take various avenues before landing in the field?
I started cooking in high school as a way to make money and it came naturally. The chef I worked for suggested cooking school and so within a few years I packed my bags, moved to San Francisco, and attended the California Culinary Academy in 2004. The rest is history.
What kind of trends are you seeing in your industry?
Fermenting. Everyone everywhere is fermenting; we’re doing it too.
What inspires you?
The produce coming from our garden.
Best vacation you have ever taken?
Red or white wine?
Bike or motorcycle?
Sushi or pizza?
iphone or Android?
Mountains or ocean?
AT THE TABLE
Pair with a chilled glass of Long Meadow Ranch Rosé and enjoy!
SPRING ONIONS & ROMESCO
Serves 4 as a starter
1 bunch spring onions
1 large tomato, Early Girl or other meaty varietal
5 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 medium red bell peppers
1/4 cup napa valley select organic extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
2 tablespoons napa valley select cabernet wine vinegar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Romesco: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place almond, garlic, and tomato on baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast almonds until fragrant about 10 minutes. Remove almonds and continue roasting garlic until soft and tomato until tender, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and remove skin from tomato and peel garlic.
While the tomatoes and garlic finish roasting, roast peppers over an open flame on a gas stove or grill until the skins are blackened. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Remove charred skin, seeds, and cores.
Place tomato, almonds, peppers, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and cayenne pepper as needed.
Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until cool. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.
For the spring onions: Prepare a charcoal grill. Clean and trim spring onions. Lightly oil the onions and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until the onions are roasted and nicely charred.
To serve: Place Romesco and spring onions on a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil, and serve. Can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature.