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Spring 2010

Meanwhile, Back at Long Meadow Ranch . . .

Happenings include the new Farmstead Restaurant, a tasting room, produce gardens, and an organic nursery.

by Michaela Jarvis

Long Meadow Ranch, long known for its sustainably grown and raised foods, has officially made the leap from farm to table, with the opening of Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena.

Now, you can taste the ranch's grass-fed beef braised to a melting tenderness in a dish of short ribs, potato hash, beets, and a fried egg. It's not only the beef, though, that will hail from Long Meadow Ranch's sustainable, organic operations. The beets will also come from the ranch's gardens, and the egg will be the product of one of the ranch’s free-range hens. The potatoes will be from a bit further away: A sharecropper grows them on Long Meadow Ranch's dairy ranch in Tomales.

"Our motto is excellence through responsible farming," says proprietor Chris Hall. "This is our opportunity to showcase that for the public."

The American farmhouse cooking at Farmstead is principally the work of Executive Chef Sheamus Feeley, a man who clearly delights in having fresh ingredients from the ranch right at his fingertips. Pointing out the wood-fired oven at Farmstead, he rattles off what he'll roast in it. Sangiovese grapes, honey, and butter will cook down to a mixture that, with a little vinegar, will make a perfect condiment for the ranch’s pork. Roasted figs, shallots, and thyme will harmonize beautifully with sheep's milk cheese on a crouton.

The Farmstead kitchen, which is about three miles up Highway 29 from the ranch’s Rutherford Gardens, will offer garden tours, wine pairings, and olive oil tastings. The tour will include a "wine flavor" garden, offering up the aromas of melons, berries, and herbs found in the ranch's Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Backroad tours of the 650-acre cattle ranch, orchards, and farms are also available.

A visit is an education in sustainable farming and eating. And with its comfortable fireplace, Long Meadow is just a great place to kick back.

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