|The sign for the restaurant is so understated and hidden in the bushes, it's hard to see.|
I've always wanted to visit the world famous French Laundry restaurant and today accomplished that. Restaurants like this one, as well as Chez Panise (owned by Alice Waters, one of the speakers at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa where I'm also speaking this week) and the very famous Herbfarm Restaurant outside Seattle, have been early pioneers in the trend for restaurants having their own gardens. I've written several times about The Herbfarm Restaurant, owned by our friends Ron Zimmerman and Carry Van Dyck and their remarkable herb gardens and food. Here's a taste of the gardens at the French Laundry.
|Tucker's a talented and creative horticulturist.|
Meet the head horticulturist, Tucker Taylor, who is responsible for this bountiful garden. Tucker told us the gardens furnish all of the produce for not only the French Laundry but the 2 other restaurants they own in Yountsville, CA. While the garden isn't certified organic, they use organic methods for the lowest impact on the location. I was pleased to see the French Laundry has chickens, although our little flock of 60 birds back home don't have fancy digs like these.
|The chickens have their own garden, umbrella, yard and house. Pretty cool.|
But it's the gardens that are impressive, so here are a few pics of those and of their massive compost pile. I was glad to see how well they make and use their compost from the leftovers from the garden.
|Tucker and his crew grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers specifically for the restaurant.|
|One tiny corner of the garden, with the French Laundry restaurant across the street.|
|This year's compost pile, which will become next year's soil.|
|Oakville's gardens are for both production and for easy access by the chefs and staff on a daily basis.|
We had a wonderful evening in her garden and enjoyed dinner from her backyard, as well.
|Palo Alto is the home of Facebook. They, too, have a very understated, modest sign.|