Eat Mendocino

2 women, 365 days, 3,878 square miles


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Not-So-Simple Living Fair in Pictures

We had to make all kinds of difficult decisions this weekend at the Not-So-Simple Living Fair at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. With an impressive schedule of practical and inspiring workshops we had to choose between acorn processing, goat nutrition, wild foods, sourdough baking, green building, cheesemaking, chicken processing and so, so, so much more. We chose the ‘divide and conquer’ approach and tried to glean as much knowledge as possible.

This gathering is not your typical festival. It’s an outdoor classroom and quite unique in that all the attendees are truly committed to learning and teaching (not just running around in feather earrings). It was awesome to be surrounded by so many friends, mentors and neighbors who are living closer to the land every day. I don’t think I’ll be wearing a dress made out of a tanned hide anytime soon, but I am completely rejuvenated by spending two days with people who don’t want to go “back to the land,” but are moving forward with the land, and understand the value of sharing knowledge, information and skills.

There is no way I can summarize all the specific learnings of this weekend, and I will have to share more in upcoming posts (like how to cure poison oak, and how to harvest and roast bay nuts.) For now, here’s a peek at a very full and incredible weekend. Click on the pics below to view them in a slideshow with captions.


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This is what grocery shopping looks like

A locavore’s Saturday morning does not involve sleeping in. Mom and I were up early and on the road by 9 to do go on a scavenger hunt for groceries in the Anderson Valley.The Apple Farm

First stop was The Apple Farm in Philo. Pretty sure it’s the cutest farmstand of yummy in the world, with a beautiful pastoral backdrop of barn, apple orchards and the Navarro River nearby. Cuteness aside, Gowan and I had an apple cider vinegar emergency this week, and this is our supplier, so this was a serious visit. When I arrived there was only one bottle on the shelf, so I had to hunt someone down to open another case for us. Phew. Also picked up the first apples of this season!

Next we went to Gowan’s Oak Tree farm and I got a bag of yellow peaches and some walnuts.

Then, to retrieve milk and butter and pop in at the Boonville Farmers’ Market where I discovered some precious duck eggs and a free-range chicken. I also met a farmer who has five laying ducks for sale, so now I just need to convince Gowan to build a pond and a horse stable…

At the Farmhouse Mercantile in Downtown Boonville I discovered this useful vintage diagram. Must study up so I can impress Gowan with my horse knowledge as I fantasize about my future in the saddle.

Vintage drawing of horse anatomy

On the way home we stopped in at Balo Vineyards‘ tasting room and picked up a bottle of Pinot and some Pennyroyal Farms blue cheese. Next time, we’re staying to play bocce ball.

All this and we made it home in time to enjoy a lovely afternoon in Mendocino.

Mendocino headlands

Not exactly your typical stop for groceries, but a lovely way to spend a warm summer morning and a wonderful occasion to put on a sun dress. Instead of rushing through the store aisles in my pajamas, trying not to get stuck in conversations with acquaintances, I look forward to these food forays. You feel differently when you’re going right to the source for your survival; you look forward to the smiles that await you and the brief moment to connect to other human beings who have become part of the ecosystem of your life in this great unending cycle of food and compost.