Birdsong Orchard’s Heirloom Tomato Tart

Tomato TartWe love this point in the season when the precious heirloom tomatoes are so bountiful that you can make tarts with them. These tomatoes came from Nadine over at Birdsong Orchards in Watsonville. She has a genius talent when it comes to growing beautiful tomatoes.

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Blossom’s Farm in Bonny Doon

Recently we made a visit to Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm here in Bonny Doon. The farmers Delmar McComb and Carin Fortin are growing some of the most amazing vegetables, fruit and herbs. This place is full of many lessons about the connections between community and agriculture.

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We were invited by Carin to join the lunch and eat some wonderful food offered by a local chef Lyona who cooks the midday meal on Tuesdays in exchange for access to the produce grown at the farm. The dishes were made exclusively from the products of the farm!

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Foraging in Bonny Doon

I put a call out on Facebook on any available fruit in Bonny Doon for the barter of one of our tarts. Shortly afterwards I received messages from our neighbors with phone numbers and the types of fruit available. With a ladder and containers for picking, I embarked the following day on the trip to meet these gracious hosts together with my family.

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It was a true privilege to see how beautifully and fully people live up here! All the pretty wooden houses and the well-attended gardens. I felt so lucky to be living in the community with such generous and kind people. We came home loaded not only with beautiful Bonny Doon-grown fruit but also brimming with the appreciation for the great community spirit and hospitable neighborliness.I hope that the tarts made by Empire Grade Purveyors compliments their gardening efforts.

Plum Tart

Eggplant and leeks tart

Eggplant, Tomato and Leek Tart

For this week, I decided to make eggplant and leeks tart, one of the traditional French savory pastries. Tarte aux poireaux et à l’aubergine brings out the best flavor of these two often overlooked vegetables.  I was excited to see that eggplants started coming into the farmers markets. Plus, I was inspired by the beautiful nutritious leeks that the Live Earth Farm was selling, and, voilà, here is the result. Bon appétit!

On Quality of Life

Paris

Visiting Paris this week, I have been thinking about what makes this city so special, unlike others. The food, of course, is central to this uniqueness — the restaurants, the marché markets, the fromagerie cheese shops, the boucherie meat markets, etc, etc. Yet, the key feature, in my mind, is having bakeries at every city block. Every five minutes of walking, you pass by a boulangerie or pâtisserie, where you can grab a crispy baguette or a buttery flaky croissant, a large loaf of pain de campagne or an apricot tartellete. For Parisians, this access to good bread and pastries is a basic necessity! It is like having clean air or green parks. In the mornings, you can get your hot bread before you take a shower or have a cup of coffee! What a beautiful way to start your day!