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this issue:






Wine & Food Affair Pinot on the River

Food artisans offering global tastes

Sonoma County Art Trails Open Studio Tour

Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival

Calabash A Celebration of Gourds, Art and the Garden

$4.95 VOLUME 17 | ISSUE 4 Fall 2014




Young Farmers of Sonoma County Opulent Wine Tasting Rooms Beachgoer’s:

A Different Look at the Sonoma Coast

©2014 Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards®

The wines of Sonoma-Cutrer express a partnership with nature, resulting in world class Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Discover why Sonoma-Cutrer has been America's Most Requested Chardonnay 22 out of 24 years.* Visit our beautiful estate located within the heart of the Russian River Valley and sample our artisan craftsmanship in every glass.

Tours and Tastings available: Thursday-Monday 10-4. 4401 Slusser Road · Windsor, California Appointments are recommended. Book online at or call us at 707-237-3489 Please Share the Cutrer Responsibly.

*Wine & Spirits Magazine, 24th Annual Restaurant Poll April 2013

FALL 2014







Seeing the Light Why Sonoma County painters work outside


For a Different Kind of Beachgoer Another look at the Sonoma Coast

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K& L

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surrounding area, Costeaux world-


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18 OUT TO EAT What’s Cookin’ at the Farmer’s Markets

FALL 2014

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Fall 2014


Editor Patricia M. Roth Design & Production Brent A. Miller Photography Editor Sarah Bradbury Web Coordinator Eileen Mateo Publisher Rollie Atkinson Associate Publisher Sarah Bradbury Advertising Director Cherie Kelsay

Sales Manager Paula Wise

Advertising Sales Steve Pedersen Neena Hatchett Carol Rands Beth Henry Graphic Designers Jim Schaefer Deneé Rebottaro Cover Photo Gary Ottonello

Sonoma Discoveries is published quarterly, four times a year. The entire contents of Sonoma Discoveries is copyrighted by Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. Sonoma Discoveries is published at 230 Center St., Healdsburg, CA 95448. Application for Periodicals Mailing Privileges is pending at Healdsburg, CA 95448. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sonoma Discoveries, P.O. Box 518, Healdsburg, CA 95447-0518. The annual subscription rate for Sonoma Discoveries is $20 per year (four issues). Sonoma Discoveries advertising and editorial offices: 9025 Old Redwood Hwy., Suite E, Healdsburg CA 95448 707-838-9211

©Copyright 2014 Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Sonoma Discoveries is an advertising supplement to the Aug. 28, 2014 issue of Sonoma West Times & News, The Healdsburg Tibune, The Windsor Times and Cloverdale Reveille Printed by Barlow Printing, Cotati, CA






As fall envelops our county and farmers get to work harvesting a diversity of crops, we are grateful to live among independent farmers who devote their lives to raising clean, healthy food. This enhances our communities in many ways, from the peace of mind that comes with knowing the origins of our food supply, to providing a quality of life that’s enhanced by open landscapes. But what’s it like on the farming side, particularly when you’re young and starting out? Barry Dugan profiles two local farms— one multi-generational, another new to the trade—and writes about a wave of educated young farmers who are organizing and connecting at local farmers guilds. Nationwide small farms face huge challenges, yet here in Sonoma County an exciting movement is taking place. Our picturesque landscapes (and seascapes) have long attracted artists—in particular, those who like to paint outside. Journalist Frank Robertson discovers what motivates plein air painters and tells you where to find their artwork. He also explains why, in September, our rural roads may be lined with these artists and their easels. Writer Jenna Polito shadowed an experienced coastal explorer to find out how our beaches are unique. Jenna offers a newcomer’s insightful view into the wonder, splendor and history of our beaches and describes the coast’s important role as a “living laboratory.” In Wine Chat, meet Robert LaVine, the new sustainability manager for Sonoma County Winegrowers. His job is to help the county reach its goal of becoming the nation’s first 100 percent-sustainable winegrowing region. He’ll be helping growers achieve practices that meet the three tenants of sustainability: being environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically feasible. Now to get your mouth watering: read Abby Bard’s story about dining out at farmer’s markets and then try these fresh and delicious meals. Check out Mary-Colleen Tinney’s review of opulent wineries and their gorgeous tasting rooms and grounds; you’ll have fun immersing yourself in some luxurious experiences. Also, we’ve given you five picks for the season’s great pumpkins, apples, turkeys, pies, peppers and chiles. Our photographers Sarah Bradbury, Gary Ottonello, Nevin Mahoney and Joe Barkoff worked hard to bring these stories to life, documenting the people and places where we live. You can find more of their photographs online at This fall, you might say we’re harvesting the fruits of our labor, too. We are very excited to announce the launch of our new website, coinciding with this issue. A new journey of discoveries begins, come be part of it. Patricia M. Roth, Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Abby Bard is a weaver who sells her handwoven clothing at local galleries and from her studio in Sebastopol. She is a member of Sonoma County Art Trails. She has a passion for growing food in an urban landscape. Joe Barkoff is a photojournalism major at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he has worked as the photo editor and sports editor of its newspaper, The Oak Leaf. He is also interning as a photographer and contributing writer for Sonoma West Times & News. Sarah Bradbury is the associate publisher of Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. and has had the opportunity to photograph the county and its people for Sonoma Discoveries for 17 years. Barry Dugan is a freelance writer, editor and public outreach consultant in the field of water reuse and conservation. He was formerly the editor of Sonoma West Times & News, The Healdsburg Tribune and The Windsor Times. Nevin Mahoney is a budding nature photographer from Geyserville, currently focusing on landscape shots and abstract macro compositions. He further fulfills his love of the outdoors through target shooting and motorcycles. Gary Ottonello is a photographer born and raised in Sonoma County concentrating in portraiture and action sports photography, specializing in off-camera lighting. He comes from a video background and enjoys playing the drums and skateboarding. Jenna Polito is a staff writer for Sonoma West Publishers. Her writing has previously appeared in San Francisco and Angeleno magazines. Jess Poshepny is the direct sales and marketing manager for Trione Vineyards & Winery in Geyserville. The Sonoma native has 12 years of experience in the wine business and is president of the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce. Mary-Colleen Tinney is a Sonoma County native with more than 13 years of experience as a wine journalist. After nearly nine years at Wine Business Monthly magazine, she spent a year exploring and working in the wine regions of New Zealand. Since her return, she has worked in wine marketing and hospitality positions while continuing her wine journalism career on a freelance basis.

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Photo by Sarah Bradbury

Follow a gently winding dirt road on the outskirts of Graton to Walker Apples, a farm stand where the people, much like the produce, have their roots set deep in the soil. Hints of the family’s longstanding ties to the area include a resident centenarian Gravenstein apple tree and a 1954 Ford Golden Jubilee tractor. Over 20 varieties of apples stock the farm stand in the fall, incluxding the Bellflower, the Baldwin, the Arkansas Black – and of course, if there are still some left, the Gravenstein. Bought by the bag or the box, their apples are good for eating, canning or baking, and the Walkers can help determine which varieties are best for each use.

Betty Carr

DISCOVERIES PICKS 5: A SALUTE TO SEASONAL PRODUCE, PIES AND TURKEY In the fall, Sonoma County farms overflow with colorful produce, and we’re reminded how fortunate we are to live among family farms and have access to an amazing variety of healthy, delicious food. A quick trip to farm stands, farmers markets and retail outlets can provide almost all of the ingredients needed for a multi-course holiday feast — whether the intent is to create a traditional Thanksgiving supper or serve up something with a little more spice. Here are five picks to get you started, but you’ll run into opportunities to buy local almost everywhere you turn this harvest season.


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WALKER APPLES 10955 Upp Road, Graton. 823-4310. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Farm stand is open for the season until the sign is covered).


HALE’S APPLE FARM & PUMPKIN PATCH 1526 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol. 894-5616. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For a broad look at the bounty of harvest, visit Hale’s Apple Farm & Pumpkin Patch, located on Highway 116 in Sebastopol. At harvest time, the farm stand swells with heirloom tomatoes, apples and between 20 and 30 types of pumpkins. By late September, squashes suited to baking, carving and display spill over hay bales and wooden pallets set out on the property, including some pumpkin personalities particularly well-suited to Halloween: squat Cinderellas, blue-hued Sweet Meats and Red Warty Thing squashes.


TIERRA VEGETABLES 651 Airport Blvd. and Highway 101 (near Fulton Road), Santa Rosa. 544-6141. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Folks at Tierra Vegetables need not look hard for palpable signs of harvest at their 13-acre Santa Rosa property – fall arrives when the scent of peppers hangs heavy in the air. In addition to the eggplant, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts that fill the

farm stand from August through late November, Tierra Vegetables offers products to add special spice to holiday dishes: multi-colored peppers, dried chiles and mole kits. Chile jams come in flavors such as rojo, a blend of red Jalapenos and red sweet peppers, and strawberrychipotle – perfect for spreading on crackers or incorporating into a marinade.


WILLIE BIRD TURKEYS Retail store located at 5350 Highway 12, Santa Rosa. Information for pickup (will call) orders: 545-2832. Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

When the season calls for poultry, Willie Bird Turkeys offers birds suited to be the belles of all harvest gatherings. Local and fresh freerange turkeys are available during the holiday season, as well as smoked duck, quail and Cornish game hens. With his turkey-raising expertise stretching back to the 1960s, owner Willie Benedetti also supplies natural wood-smoked poultry that has earned a place on the menus of first-class hotels, restaurants, airlines and in the Williams-Sonoma food catalogue. MOM’S APPLE PIE 4550 Gravenstein Hwy. N, Sebastopol. 823-8330. Open Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


We are pie lovers, and here’s one of our favorite venues for procuring pies fit to be the encore of harvest suppers. Mom’s Apple Pie debuted in 1983, when Betty Carr “Mom” opened a pie shop at the urging of her late husband Harry. Using the Gravenstein apples harvested from their property, she started out making one pie a day. Today Mom’s offers more than 16 fruit and cream pies, with flavors ranging from blackberry, wild blueberry and rhubarb to lemon meringue, banana cream and, of course, pumpkin. Fresh, doublecrust Gravenstein Apple pies will line the pie racks this fall. Mom’s also offers sugar-free pies, using apple juice concentrate as sweetener.

WINE DISCOVERIES When the grape leaves turn shades of vibrant reds and yellows and the summer weather cools to fall, it is time to retire the Rosé and bring out the reds. Every region in our robust wine country has something tasty to offer and it is often hard to pick just a handful, but here are a few blends that we plan on enjoying this season. Not only do we find these blends to be a nice opener to the traditional winter holiday Zins and Cabs but two of these wines stand for a good cause.


Colby Red

Colby Red Wine California $10.99, 13.9% alcohol This wine was inspired by and named for Colby Groom of Healdsburg, who had back-to-back heart surgeries before his 10th birthday. Colby’s dad, renowned Australian and Californian winemaker Daryl Groom, created the smooth, rich blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Petit Sirah and Merlot. The wine’s a real crowd-pleaser, and its sales have raised $550,000 for charities that promote heart health. “As a winemaker you blend wine to make the wine taste good and to make a better wine. You can’t help getting a wonderful feeling when you’re blending something that’s raising a lot of money for needy charities, needy families and kids suffering form heart disease,” he said. Today Colby’s a confident 16-year-old on a mission, flying across the country on behalf of the brand, helping children and families envision a brighter future. Buy online at colbyred. com; also distributed locally with TruettHurst Inc.


Dutcher Crossing Winery

2012 Winemaker’s Cellar Kupferschmid Red Dry Creek Valley $38, 14.8% alcohol Winemaker Kerry Damskey is a strong advocate of blending – and with this wine, released May 2014, he combined 50 percent Grenache, 32 percent Mourvedre, 8 percent Cinsault, 5

percent Counoise and 5 percent Syrah. Bright fruits predominate, and it hints of cedar and cherry-wood smoke. A plus: The wine honors proprietor Debra Mathy’s family; her Swiss mother’s maiden name was Kupferschmid. Sold direct-to-consumer only. Harvest Moon Estate & Winery


2009 Sonoma Harvest Red Sonoma County $42, 13.5% alcohol

Murphy-Goode Winery

This red wine blend with the colorful label is well-balanced and lower in alcohol, making it drinkable with the dinners you cook every night, such as chicken, fish and pasta (even pizza). Using grapes that represent greater Sonoma County, winemaker Randy Pitts took five wines that “were by themselves nice components and made the sum of them more interesting than the individual counterparts, like a multi-layered opera cake.” He blended 33 percent Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, 33 percent Riebli Valley Syrah, 17 percent Dry Creek Merlot, 11 percent Dry Creek Cabernet Franc and 5 percent Russian River Petit Sirah. Limerick Lane Cellars

2011 Syrah/Grenache Blend Russian River Valley $36, 14.5% alcohol

of Healdsburg purchased the winery in 2011, and the grapes for this wine were picked right after the sale, just as harvest got under way. Winemaker Scot Bilbro (Jake’s brother) blended 63 percent Syrah and 37 percent Grenache to create a wine that blends history and elegance in a bottle. This blend is one of the estate wines that is available in the tasting room.


Limerick Lane Cellars is one of Sonoma County’s premier producers of Zinfandel and Syrah, with vines dating back to 1910. Jake and Alexis Bilbro

2011 Homefront Red California $15, 13.5% alcohol


This is a food-friendly, fruit-forward wine that supports an important cause: providing emergency and financial assistance to the families of service members and veterans through Operation Homefront. In three years, Murphy-Goode has donated more than $300,000 through the sale of this red wine, whose fruit comes from some of Sonoma County’s most acclaimed winegrowing regions. “Coming home from serving our country takes a lot of adjustment, and Operation Homefront is right there to support these veterans and their families when they need it most,” said Murphy-Goode winemaker David Ready, Jr. We heartily recommend this blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Sirah and Zinfandel grapes. Stop by the recently renovated tasting room on the Healdsburg Square and ask for Homefront Red.

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After a nationwide search, the Sonoma County Winegrowers Board of Directors recommended LaVine unanimously for the new position, which started in May 2014. “We needed someone with an understanding of viticulture, who was good at developing relationships with growers, a good public speaker capable of presenting workshops and education, as well as someone who had a passion for both sustainability and Sonoma County agriculture,” Sonoma County Winegrowers president Karissa Kruse said. “It doesn’t take more than a few minutes with Robert to understand why he was the perfect person to step into this unique role and lead the sustainability effort. He is humble, funny, and genuine. He has a deep connection to farmers and agriculture. He lives in Healdsburg and is committed to this community. He knows sustainability and vineyards. He is driven and passionate to help Sonoma County growers.”


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Q&A: Wine Chat with Robert LaVine by Patricia M. Roth

Why do you believe Sonoma County grape growers are well equipped to achieve the goal of being the nation’s first 100 percent-sustainable wine-growing region in the next five years?

Okay, how do I answer this without sounding like the high school football coach talking to the kids before the big game about focus, desire and drive? Because, you know … the way forward is all about focus, desire and drive. Sonoma County Winegrowers are ready to play … so game on! In 2006, winegrowers here in Sonoma County had the foresight and were motivated to organize themselves into a Winegrape Commission. The grower leadership at the Commission has been highly successful at creating a vision of a shared future winegrowers here can focus on. Clearly, a great organization does not become great without a clear vision of its future; and our community of 1,800 winegrowers, along with our board of directors, our president and our entire staff are all fully committed, focused and passionate about successfully reaching our goal. They all understand this is a game changer not only for Sonoma County, but also for our community, our industry and beyond. Their commitment will ensure our land stays preserved in agriculture, that our neighbors and works are treated with respect, and that our multigenerational winegrowing businesses will endure.

The desire and passion of our winegrowers comes from a proud and humble view of who they are, where they come from, and their responsibilities to family, neighbors and business partners. Most Sonoma County winegrowers have a history measured in generations, and it is shown by their lifetime dedication to the land and the grapes they grow. Farmers by nature have a deep connection to the land they farm, and they persevere no matter what Mother Nature throws at them or other challenges they face from increased regulation, the economy and more. They do what they know best, which is work hard, farm the land as softly as possible, and build relationships that will last generations. In addition to this undeniable passion that embodies every grower in Sonoma County to continue their legacy of sustainable farming practices, the Sonoma County Winegrowers have put together a strong plan and a lot of resources to ensure we achieve our goal. Photo by Sarah Bradbury


Robert LaVine is the sustainability manager for Sonoma County Winegrowers. He has more than 30 years of sustainability and grower relations experience, including positions with Robert Mondavi Winery and Fetzer Vineyards.

Why does sustainability interest you – and how has your understanding of it grown over the years and during your previous positions?

As a boy growing up in the Central Valley town of Modesto, I watched a city spill over and spread across

the agricultural landscape like lava spilling out of a volcano. There was simply no stopping it … and the finality of it was jarring. Forever gone were the fields of grapes, almonds and watermelons I once rode through on my bike. No more were the open vistas and the sights and sounds of agriculture. In their place was suburbia, its noise and its problems. Even though I was growing up on a farm, I was too young then to understand the economics of farming, the intricacies of land use and the way of politics. However, I knew this much … I did not like what my little town had become … for me the agricultural charm and attraction were gone. Fast forward a few decades and 35 vintages. I have had the opportunity to work alongside people of great depth and wisdom. Especially during my 20 years with Robert Mondavi Winery, I saw a family and a company culture that was driven by a vision of excellence while never flinching in its adherence to its core values. The boldness of that family’s dedication to be the very best inspired me then and inspires me now. I have learned

that it is not enough simply to succeed; the path you take and the legacy you leave matters, too. What challenges do you foresee during the implementation of the program?

Challenge might be too strong a word, but the one thing we face is grower’s limited time and availability. Winegrowers are extremely busy and most prefer to spend their time walking the vineyards, meeting with winemakers, and dealing with all the other issues related to running a vineyard business rather than taking a step back to review their sustainability practices and self-assess their vineyards. We know they are all practicing sustainability in their vineyards, so it’s just a matter of spending time with each grower for a few hours to help them document what they’re doing, finish their self-assessment and certification process and plan for continuous improvement. It takes some time out of their normal day-to-day responsibilities, but I am here to help guide them through the process and ensure they’re getting all the resources available to them to be successful. Who inspires you and why?

This is an easy one to answer: my dad and my wife. My dad was a farm advisor in Stanislaus County, at a time when many of the growers he worked with were new to this country and often times lacked much formal education. He loved his role as an educator, helping his growers learn both technical and life skills. He taught me to find value in everyone and to judge a person not by where they are at in life, but by what it took them to get there. My wife Lori teaches me every day what dedication and service look like. At work and at home she never stops looking for ways to contribute to better those around her. I also find inspiration from so many in our Sonoma County wine industry who are obsessed and tireless in their pursuit of discovering how to make our winegrapes and wines better every year.


Go Ahead. Jump in.

The last word is yours – anything you’d like to add?

I am honored to be part of this great quest the winegrowers of Sonoma County have embarked on. Becoming the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable winegrowing region will send a message of trust to our community, contribute to Sonoma County’s status as a world-class wine-producing region, and provide a lasting foundation for the preservation of our land and homes for many years to come. SD

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Harvest with the Trione Family by Jess Poshepny Vallery

Photo by John Castill


A Trione Vineyards & Winery 19550 Geyserville Ave. Geyserville

s I anticipate harvest at Trione Vineyards & Winery, I picture how we’d get elbows (and knees)-deep in fruit. “Here we go team!” are the words that came out of everyone’s mouth as the trucks drove up with Russian River Pinot Noir from our River Road Ranch. The guys from the ranch stepped out of the truck with smiles on their faces as we started to process the first red fruit for our still wines (we pick some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir back in midAugust for a small lot of a sparkling brut). Vineyard operations manager Kris Hicks works very closely with winemaker Scot Covington to ensure the best fruit is coming to Trione. The winery maintains 650 acres of vineyards, and only 2 to 3 percent are used for Trione wines. This makes for an exciting job for Scot. He literally cherry-picks small blocks on our ranches with Kris and decides what he would like to use from vintage to vintage. Everyone is excited when the red berries come in because we all belly-up to the sorting table to pick through the fruit after it goes through the destemmer. We are looking for bigger stems that did not come off, bugs, leaves and anything else that does not belong. Working on the sorting table is fun — the Trione family comes out and the whole company works together — and we invite club members to join us.

A Family Affair Local legacy Henry Trione started the family business more than 40 years ago. In 2005, Denise, my boss and the operations director, her dad (Mark) and uncle (Vic) decided to get back into


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winemaking. During harvest, club members and guests are often greeted by the Trione family: Mark, Cathy, Vic, Henry, Denise and even little Georgia (Denise and Kris’ daughter: 4th generation) and invited to witness the harvest action and taste fruit off the truck, if it’s available. Family-owned may seem tough at times because there can be many different opinions about the way things should be done, but where I work, we love working for a family. We feel like we are a part of it and so do our guests. During harvest, the joy is seen on everyone’s faces and we are reminded what the wine business is about: making people happy and having fun doing it. In the fall, my hospitality team and I have opportunities to “get dirty” in the cellar. After the grapes are sorted and the wines are fermented, the tanks are drained and the pomace must be dug out. One year our winemaker decided to turn a difficult task into a fun and educational activity: digging out a tank. We all shared in the dirty, tough job and turned it into a competition: Who could dig out the tank the fastest? Having been in the wine business for 13 years, I had never carried a hose around the cellar, let alone dug out a tank of Cabernet Sauvignon, until Trione. I thought I knew what I was in for but it wasn’t until I jumped in and felt pomace between my toes and sank into the tank until the cap came up to my knees that I realized this was going to be hard. With a heavy plastic shovel, I carved myself out a starting point and began scooping the pomace out through the small tank door, about a foot and a half in diameter.

uisine C s u io c li e D , Creative Paired with Wines y t n u o C t s e Premier W

I could hear my co-worker Claire yelling out my time, and my heart began to race as I hustled to get through it. Between the weight of the soaking wet, slippery fruit and the heavy fumes, my body was tired, and I was only at minute five. With encouragement from my co-workers, I finished extracting 6 tons of Cabernet pomace in just over 18 minutes, making me the fastest girl that year. Exhaustion took over my entire body after I was finished and, while it was exciting, I was very happy to go back to my job in sales and marketing. The Triones believe in education, so those who work for the company are taught as much as we can soak in. It’s a wonderful hands-on experience; and during harvest, the more hands-on-deck, the better.

See for Yourself I love when our guests want to experience more “behind the scenes” action on their vacations or trips to the wine country. Some people have never seen a basket press or open-top fermentation tank; and if it’s not too busy, we can bring them into the cellar, let them walk up onto the catwalk and feel the cap (the part of the fruit that firms up at the top of the tank and is pressed down daily to extract color into the juice) inside the tank. Here they really see where the wine process starts, and we enjoy sharing our passion for wine with them. Longtime local members Marilyn and Manuel have had the opportunity to get hands-on experience making wine since vintage 2011. New York City Club members Tony and Shawn live for these special experiences and are members at more than 20 wineries. They were lucky enough to stumble into the winery the day before fruit was scheduled to come in one year. Our winemaker asked if they’d like to come back and be put to work, and they agreed. Laughs were shared during the 7-hour workday; and when a lizard was found in a bunch of grapes, everyone squirmed. Whether it’s sorting grapes at the beginning of harvest, seeing the process of punch-downs, or tasting samples of the wines from the barrel with Scot as the season winds down, we are always happy to share the love. There is something about knowing where the wine first started and how the grapes were processed that makes the finished wine taste so much better. The experience connects us to the product, and we remember those feelings. Harvest time creates memories, and we at Trione want to share those with our fellow wine lovers and guests. SD

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The Tasting Room Experience A Taste of Opulence

by Mary-Colleen Tinney


Photos by Sarah Bradbury

onoma County’s wineries are often prized for their boutique and rustic charm. It’s largely this laid-back approach that separates Sonoma from the Napa Valley, which is (sometimes quite literally) dotted with wine castles. Here in Sonoma County, we prize the personal touch, and if we are able to get it from the winemaker or owner, even better. But Sonoma County can also do grand opulence, wineries with expansive grounds and sweeping vistas. Though these wineries are breathtaking in scope, they are also focused on producing high quality, unique wines. More than anything else, exceptional wines will always be Sonoma County’s true calling card.

Top to bottom: The entrance to Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery; wine tasting during a tour of Jordan Vineyard & Winery; the equestrian pavilion at Chalk Hill.


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Jordan Vineyard Winery 1474 Alexander Valley Rd., Healdsburg 800-654-1213 Open by appointment only, Monday through Saturday, and also Sundays from mid-April to mid-November.

ith its steeply-pitched dormer roof, ochre-yellow stucco walls crawling with ivy, stony courtyards and meticulously manicured lawns and hedges, a visit to Jordan Vineyard & Winery is like stepping onto the grounds of an ancient French chateau. Perched atop a vine-covered hill (another tradition borrowed from Bordeaux), the 38-year-old building was indeed inspired by founders Tom and Sally Jordan’s love of all things French. The Jordan chateau is the cornerstone of the winery. Opened in 1976 in time to accept the winery’s first vintage, the Chateau serves as the winery’s label image, its working production facility and as the visual representation of the French-inspired winemaking philosophy. Located in the heart of the Alexander Valley, Jordan produces just two wine varieties — the Bordeaux-inspired Cabernet Sauvignon and the Burgundianstyle Chardonnay. Both are designed to be food-friendly and balanced, in the style of their Old World predecessors. For all of the French-tinged flourish, Jordan’s wines are also quintessentially Sonoma County, full and flavorful with rich fruit notes. The winery, now managed by Tom and Sally’s son, John, is also deeply committed to sustainable farming practices. Of the estate’s 1,200 acres, less than 200 acres are planted to vines or orchards. Much of the rest of the property is left as an open-space wildlife preserve. Centuries-old oak trees are found throughout the property, even amidst vineyard blocks. The importance was placed not on maximizing vineyard production but on minimizing the impact these vines would have on the natural landscape. It’s this directive that also guides the winery’s food sourcing for executive chef Todd Knoll. A three-season chef’s garden grows much of what Knoll uses for his daily food pairings. A chicken coop provides fresh eggs, while floral gardens are used for the fresh flowers used by hospitality staff. What the winery cannot produce itself, it partners with as many local purveyors as it can. Visitors are welcomed to Jordan by appointment only, and only at pre-set times. There are three tasting experience options for guests. The first is a onehour seated Library Tasting for $30. For visitors who have a bit more flexibility in time, there is a 90-minute Winery Tour and Library Tasting for $40, which adds on a 30-minute walking tour of the chateau and its terraces and gardens. For those looking to fully explore the Jordan estate, the winery offers a 3-hour Estate Tour & Tasting for $120 (mid-April to mid-November only). Each of the three tasting experiences offers sips of not only the current vintages of both Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also one library selection of Cabernet Sauvignon. Estate Tour guests are also given a library selection of Chardonnay. This method of tasting highlights not only the differences between vintage years, but also demonstrates how the wines evolve through time. The tastings also feature a small hors d’oeuvre created each day by executive chef Todd Knoll to pair with the wines. Jordan’s estate-grown olive oil is also offered for tasting. Service and presentation are key here. The plates are gorgeous, creative and delicious. On my visit, I opted for the Estate Tour, which takes guests from the impressive historic tank room, where 23,000-liter oak tanks are used to age the wines, to the winery’s Vista Point tasting pavilion. At the property’s highest point, this spot offers a full, 360-degree view of the Alexander and Russian River valleys, the Mayacamas Mountains and more. In between, guests visit the chef’s garden, where you’re encouraged to wander and taste, and out to a stone tasting terrace overlooking the estate’s stocked fishing lake. Because of the structure of Jordan’s tastings and tours, promptness is required. Late guests cannot disturb the in-progress tastings and tours of other visitors, and while the winery does try to be as accommodating as possible, tastings may not be able to be rescheduled for another time that day. While the rules may seem stringent at first glance, this preserves the elegance and integrity of their tasting experiences. fall 2014 +




errari-Carano Vineyards and Winery has long been a tentpole winery in Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley. Originally founded in 1981, it is now one of the region’s most popular wineries. And when Don and Rhonda Carano opened their grand, Italian-inspired Villa Fiore Wine Shop & Tasting Room in 1997, the winery truly became one of the most opulent destinations in the region. Literally meaning “House of Flowers,” Villa Fiore is a showcase for founder Rhonda Carano’s magnificent five acres of gardens surrounding the Villa. With more than 2,000 different species of plants, flowers, trees and shrubs growing at the estate, the gardens are an ever-changing kaleidoscope to explore. As guests walk up the long, stone pathway to the Villa, they pass a large enclosed garden. At the Villa, the concierge can give you a pamphlet detailing the 36 marked plants along the selfguided garden tour. Centered around a meandering stream that looks as though it bubbled up from an underground spring, visitors can amble across footbridges or sit on a bench in the shade of a Portuguese cork oak tree, listening to the gentle gurgling of the stream. Further down the path, a Japanese pagoda overlooks one of the several waterfall features in the garden, surrounded by trees, flowers and shrubs native to Asia. On a quiet day, visitors may even find they have the garden to themselves, at least for a little while. At the entrance plaza of Villa Fiore, Carano and head gardener Pat Patin have created an intricate, formal parterre-style garden. Originating from 15th-century French Renaissance trends, a parterre is a garden set upon a flat surface using symmetrical, stylized planting beds. The Ferrari-Carano interpretation is of an Italian/French style, with tightly cropped raised hedges gently curving around a circular central focal point. Rather than the traditional gravel pathways, here the garden is connected by a verdant green lawn. The Villa itself is done in a commanding Roman Italianite style, with a red tile roof, covered archways held up by Tuscan columns and an abundance of large paneled windows divided by


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muntin bars. Out in the back, a spacious lawn is divided by a large reflecting pool and fountain, with decorative archways beyond that. All this, and we still haven’t even talked about the wine! FerrariCarano is a large-scale producer, and many examples of their wines can be found in grocery stores, wine shops or other locations. However, the winery has a portfolio of 25 different wines from the winery’s 1,400 acres of grapes, mostly within Sonoma County. There are two walk-in tasting options available. A $5 tasting of four wines is conducted in the lively and bright, though retail-focused, Villa Fiore Tasting Bar overlooking the vineyards and reflecting pool. The wines here are mostly from their entrylevel Classics segment. For $15, you are invited to go to their underground Enoteca wine cellar, where you can taste four wines from the winery’s full portfolio, including many that can only be found there. The Enoteca space is richer, a bit darker and far more sumptuous. Catch a view of the winery’s massive oak aging cellar on your way to the tasting bar, decorated with several ornate black crystal chandeliers, with heavy wood tables for larger groups and seated tastings, or find a space and a stool at the black granite tasting bar. I was particularly intrigued by the winery’s PreVail label, especially the Back Forty Cabernet Sauvignon from mountain vineyards in Alexander Valley. Though pricey at $85 per bottle, it was a dark, fruit-forward version of Cabernet Sauvignon, with little of the typical leather or spice one might expect from the variety. For those looking to have a more formal introduction to Ferrari-Carano’s wines, they have seven private, appointment-only tasting experiences available Tuesday through Saturday. Most are $35 per person, accommodating groups up to six people. Details can be found on the winery’s website, but the Scentiments tasting looks particularly fun and educational. Here, guests are familiarized with 12 different aromas found in wine, then look to identify these notes in five wines poured for the tasting.


Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery 8761 Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg. 800-831-0381 Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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ounded in the early 1970s by Fred and Peggy Furth, Chalk Hill winery is a perfect encapsulation of the entire district, offering both the elegant white wines that are the hallmark of the region and the robust reds that thrive on the warmer Mayacamas Mountain vineyards that divide Sonoma and Napa counties. Though Chalk Hill overlaps the fogshrouded Russian River Valley to the west, its higher elevations mean warmer temperatures. Yet, Chalk Hill is still cooler than the Alexander Valley or Knight’s Valley districts to the north and east, respectively. Chalk Hill’s most distinctive geographic feature, though, is the ashy, chalk-colored volcanic soils that give the region its name. As one of Sonoma County’s oldest wineries, Chalk Hill sits on an idyllic 1,300acre property, two-thirds of which has been left as uncultivated wilderness. The winery’s production facility and hospitality center are set upon one of the property’s many rolling hills, facing eastward toward the Mayacamas Mountains and some of Chalk Hill’s 300 acres of estate vineyards. The property also includes stables, a stunning equestrian pavilion, several ponds, a chapel and a pair of culinary gardens that are used by head chef Didier Ageorges for the winery’s culinary programs. Bought in 2010 by financial services mogul Bill Foley, who lives part-time in a residence on the property, Chalk Hill is now within the Foley Family Wines portfolio. Previously open by appointment only, Chalk Hill is now open daily to drop-in visitors for either the one-hour $20 Estate tasting or the 75-minute $30 Reserve tasting, each featuring four wines from Chalk Hill’s portfolio. Groups of six or more require a reservation. More extensive tours of the

property are available by appointment. The hospitality center was remodeled last year to take better advantage of the site. Stones sourced from the property were used to create the exterior walkways and staircase that ascends to the tasting room. Rather than standing at a traditional tasting room bar, guests are invited to have a seated tasting, either on the large patio overlooking the property or inside the well-appointed tasting room. The tasting room décor has a contemporary take on traditional luxury. The effect is light, airy and inviting. Contemporary accents like hammeredmetal orb chandeliers and mid-century modern gold sunburst mirrors complement traditional elements like beige leather settees, dark wood tables and tufted couches. Little space is allocated toward retail, bringing the focus squarely to the wines and the vineyards beyond. The best way for guests to truly understand the Chalk Hill estate is to join one of their regular property tours. The $50 Estate Tour is a 90-minute foray into the site-specific viticulture and wines that

define the Chalk Hill style. The itinerary is loose and can be somewhat adapted to the interests of the group. The tour winds through the estate’s hillside vineyards and includes a stop at the culinary gardens in the shadow of the equestrian pavilion. The more extensive Culinary Lunch Tour takes guests on an extensive visit to the organic culinary gardens, where one of Chalk Hill’s gardeners will explain their sustainable philosophy and commitment to year-round harvesting. Following the garden visit, guests will visit the equestrian pavilion for a sit-down tasting of Chalk Hill’s wines, paired with food crafted by Chef Didier Ageorges. The pavilion, an Alaskan golden cedar homage to horsemanship, includes an Olympic-sized dressage arena and a multilevel indoor space that has a 21-foot Louis XIII-style fireplace at its focal point. Starting at $100, this tour is available only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment. The Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay, a more subtle approach to the classic oak-andvanilla California Chardonnay, is owner Bill Foley’s favorite. Approachable and balanced, it’s a pleasing take on a well-loved wine. SD

Chalk Hill 10300 Chalk Hill Rd. Healdsburg 707-657-4837 Open daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


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Out to Eat

What’s Cookin’ at the Farmer’s Markets by Abby Bard

photos by Sarah Bradbury


oes shopping make you hungry? Tucked in among the booths of fresh produce at our local farmers markets are innovative chef/vendors, turning out tantalizing meals, cooked to order right in front of you. These up-and-coming caterers, mom-and-pop kitchen wizards, grillmasters, soup makers and bakers offer global tastes, created from ingredients sourced from the market. You can taste freshly cooked food from different ethnic traditions year-round; it’s a great opportunity to try something new, find a caterer for your own celebration or just have a satisfying meal.

See a listing of farmers markets on page 48

Mudita Kristy Hinton of The Bone Broth Company serves paella at the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market.


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Sebastopol Farmers’ Market A crispy duck taco for breakfast? Not my usual choice for the first meal of the day, but when I arrived at the Sunday Sebastopol Farmers’ Market, expecting to grab a coffee and pastry, I was sidetracked by the aroma coming from The Green Grocer’s grill. Chef Joe Rueter explained how he prepares the duck: first pre-curing it in salt and juniper berries for 16 to 24 hours, then cooking it for six hours in duck fat at 240 degrees, and finally crisping it on the grill just before serving. The duck grew up on Salmon Creek Ranch; the vegetable and fruits are from the farmers’ market. The tortillas are the yummy thick ones from La Tortilla Factory (glutenfree bread is also available). To drink, there’s lemon-ginger kefir or hibiscus kefir. On the menu are “hippie hash,” heirloom tomato BLT, wild king salmon and more, served on real plates with real flatware to enhance the experience (and protect our resources). I enjoyed my delicious taco with grilled peach and avocado at a tree-shaded, cloth-covered table. Joe and his staff have

A satisfied marketgoer shows his crispy duck taco made by The Green Grocer.

been catering since 2008. They’re at the Occidental Market on Friday evenings. Riley Benedetti of Willie Bird BBQ was just getting the griddle going at his booth but was happy to fill me in on how his parents’ fertile egg business grew into a Sebastopol landmark (after his mother, with the lovely name of Aloha, allowed some of the eggs to hatch). Riley’s brother Willie raised the birds for an FFA project at age 14; the two of them opened their retail store on Highway 12 in 1975 and their Santa Rosa restaurant in 1980. A few years later, Riley began selling smoked turkey legs at the Santa Rosa night market, and now he’s cooking up nitrate-free, uncured bacon at the Sebastopol market on Sundays for organic egg omelettes, breakfast burritos and BLTs, along with BBQ turkey sandwiches or kabobs. Ever hear of a sushi burrito? It’s Japanese home cooking, according to Takeshi Uchida of Sushi Shoubu, a delicious combination of sweet and spicy fried chicken, or simmered wild pollock, with green beans and shredded carrots and cabbage (sustainably grown and sourced from Community Market) rolled up with sushi rice and spicy mayo or wasabi ranch sauce. Takeshi, who started his business just a year ago and also does catering, is happy to offer tastes, and he sells whole or half rolls to eat on the spot or to go. Sushi Shoubu is also at the Santa Rosa Certified Farmers Market at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Cesar Vernier, with more than 20 years of experience as a chef, and his partner Mudita Kristy Hinton, a nutrition consultant and assistant chef at Ceres Community Project, founded The Bone Broth Company this year. Made from the bones of locally raised, hormonefree farm animals, chicken and fish, and combined with organic

vegetables and sea salt then cooked for 24 to 30 hours to extract the healing nutrients, the resulting broth is a base for soup and cooked grains or a nourishing tea. Bone broth is a traditional remedy in many world cultures (think grandma’s chicken soup), and Cesar and Mudita want to share its value in promoting good health as well. Try Cesar’s paella, made in an enormous traditional paella pan using grass-fed lamb, pastured organic chicken, fresh seasonal veggies, organic short-grain brown rice and broth; or the Paleo Plate — eggs or lamb burger (from Owen Family Farm) with grains and veggies sautéed with bone broth (bacon or smoked salmon optional). They are also at the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market on Fridays (no paella) and Healdsburg Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Forestville Farmers’ Market The Forestville Farmers’ Market, now in its second year, takes place on late afternoon Tuesday in the parking area of the Russian River Vineyards and Corks Restaurant, with live music and a stunning view overlooking the vineyards. The first night of the market for the 2014 season was also the debut of Touché Gourmet Grill. Chef Jim Russak and his helper Madonna Price were cooking marinated tri-tip and chicken on a gas grill and serving it with a side of baby carrots over cashew rice. There’s organic blueberry lemonade to drink and bread pudding for dessert. “I totally recommend it,” said market patron Barbara Sattler, showing me her empty plate. Speaking of dessert, you won’t want to pass up the delectable Snapdragon Bakery cupcakes and cookies, made with love, by Tracy Walls, who closed her café at the Antique Society last June to focus on catering.

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Healdsburg Farmers Market On the final day delicious Saturday of my week of research, I sat on a tree-shaded wooden bench at the east edge of the Healdsburg Farmers Market with a big square of golden brown strata (a savory bread pudding with fresh vegetables) and a cup of Flying Goat Coffee from the Jimtown Store booth. I could smell the wonderful aroma of grilled sausage from the opposite side of the market from The Farmer’s Wife booth where pastured meats and eggs and homemade sausages and condiments are features of the sandwich menu. I made a mental note to come back another day for one of those — also to sample a meatball and provolone sandwich at Mama Tina’s Ravioli booth and try one of Peter Leary’s Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches of caramelized chicken, flavored with cilantro and fish sauce and daikon carrot pickle. It’s the first year of his catering business, Pete’s Eats, and everything is sourced from local farms and bakeries.

Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market On Friday evening at the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market, the lines are 12-deep outside of Lata’s Indian Cuisine; savvy regulars are toting their own containers to bring home her flavorful curries. Lata’s food has been a standout for the past five years at this market with traditional spicy chicken tikka, pumpkin curry and deep-fried vegetable samosas. Can’t choose just one? Get the combination plate with a side of naan, and try the hot homemade chai or the refreshing mango lassi yogurt drink. Lata often sells out, but she’s at the Santa Rosa Certified Farmers Market at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturdays and Sebastopol on Sundays, and caters events. Mommy’s Yammys (or Yummys, depending on the signage) offers generously sized Mediterranean plates at their colorful booth. The lamb kabob pita wrap was filled with two tender, cumin-scented meatballs, perfectly grilled — just barely pink inside — with grilled zucchini strips and a salad of freshly cut lettuces, bits of tomato, sweet red onion and a creamy lemony dressing. There’s vegetarian felafal, frittata, grilled lamb or Italian sausage, or a combo plate served on a generous heaping of salad with thinly sliced red onions. Dairy-free and gluten-free options are available, and a refreshing organic strawberry limonata, sweetened with raw blue agave.


Top to bottom: Haley Callahan of Jimtown Store serves a vegetable Strata. The Farmer’s Wife delivers a homemade sausage, egg, cheese and spinach sandwich with housemade pickle.

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At the Windsor Farmers’ Market (clockwise): Pulled pork sandwiches from Charlie’s BBQ; dad and daughter Russell and Brittany Lyles sharing a breakfast burrito and Nicky Rutkowski of Flour Creations with her pastries.

Kashaya’s Brick Oven Pizza is baked in a portable, wood-fired brick oven and sold whole or by the slice. Choices include a delicate fresh arugula pesto pizza with spinach and corn; tummyfilling caramelized onion, bacon and queso fresco, or plain cheese, pepperoni, sausage or mushroom. Gluten-free crust is an option. The Green Grocer was grilling as well, and a mighty tantalizing BLT, with fresh greens and bacon stacked high on grilled bread, was beckoning.

Windsor Farmers’ Market On Sundays at the spacious Town Green, the Windsor Farmers’ Market is a charming, family-friendly market, which hosts the monthly Kidz Dig It Club “where kids learn to play with their food.” At Nicky’s Breakfast Burritos, baker Nicky Rutkowski’s 13-year-old son Nick was helping his mom sell the wraps prepared earlier that morning that morning in a commercial kitchen in Cotati (and kept warm in ovens in the back of their van), along with Nicky’s line of “Flour Creations” pastries — cookies, small fruit gallettes and apricot-raspberry bread pudding. Filled with tender scrambled eggs flavored with jalapenos, pepper and garlic sautéed in butter, and red potatoes and cheese, my burrito was even tastier topped with the fresh salsa that young Nick had prepared that morning. On Saturdays, you’ll find them at the Santa Rosa Community Farmers’ Market (Veterans Building). Just a few steps away, Charlie’s BBQ was serving generous portions of pulled pork, tri-tip beef and chicken or jumbo hot dogs. Master grillers Derek and

Jimmy use a charcoal-fueled barbecue on wheels built by original owner Charlie (Jimmy’s wife’s uncle). “Charlie died at 85. He was very well loved here. He built that barbecue and loved to clean it,” Jimmy said. Barbecue is served on slider buns from Franco-American Bakery or over a salad of organic greens, tomatoes, dried cranberry and feta cheese with grilled Portobello mushrooms, onions and squash. Or there’s the Big Combo, with some of everything. The fresh strawberry lemonade is a perfect citrusy beverage to accompany the hearty meat dishes. Derek and Jimmy will bring the barbecue cart to you and cater your event. Their slogan is “BBQ done right,” and after I sampled the tri-tip, pork and vegetables, I have to agree.

Best of All Worlds With farmers markets every day but Monday (a good day to eat leftovers), we can still enjoy delicious, healthy meals, freshly made by creative local chefs from food grown right here, even if we don’t feel like cooking at home. It’s the best of all worlds! While I was unable to visit all of our farmers markets, you’ll find many fabulous vendors, from Raymond’s Bakery at the Bodega Bay Community Farmers Market and Oko Loco’s vegan and gluten-free creations at the West End Farmers Market to The Aristocrat Restaurant’s traditional Filipino BBQ and Gursha Ethiopian food at the Santa Rosa Community Farmers’ Market and barbecue, pizza and Thai food at the Cloverdale Certified Farmer’s Market — and many more discoveries to make on your own. For locations, see a listing of farmers markets on page 48. SD fall 2014 +


By Barry Dugan


n an age where our lives and commerce are guided by intangible electronic transmissions we can neither touch nor smell, a burgeoning corps of young farmers are turning their attention to the most elemental and essential of all human occupations: cultivating the earth. A new generation of young farmers is emerging across the country, committed to organic agriculture, sustainable farming practices and feeding their communities. There are networks of independent, organized and educated farmers sharing their expertise, principles and successes. Nowhere are they more evident than in Sonoma County.

Photography By Gary Ottonello


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fall 2014 +


Farmer Adam Davidoff and Jessica Eberlin of New Family Farm, west of Sebastopol.

The first Tuesday of every month the North Coast Farmers Guild meets at the Sebastopol Grange Hall to share food, information and have some fun. The guild is part of the newly established Farmers Guild Network, a collection of seven farmers guilds throughout Northern California, including guilds in Sonoma Valley, Mendocino, Yolo and Nevada counties, and the Central Coast. Their goal is providing connections for farmers who are working to build vibrant and diverse local food economies. A public event in Sebastopol in July attracted about 400 people throughout the evening, with the unexpected crowds causing some traffic jams on Highway 12 as the Grange Hall parking lot overflowed. It was also an indication of how much support there is for locally grown food, according to Evan Wiig, executive director of the Farmers Guild Network. “I think people are excited about food and food culture and excited that agriculture is becoming something that is fun and special and part of our everyday life and people want to be involved in it,” he said. “People want to know who their farmers are and where their food comes from. They want to connect, not just with farmers and their food, but they want to connect with each other.” Those in attendance at the July 2 event included those actively working in agriculture, people in the food industry and people who shop at Farmers Markets. “It’s a broad community, but a community that really had something in common,” he said. “There was a common thread — food and farming — and they came out to celebrate that.”

Homegrown Talent and Dedication That common thread begins in the fields and orchards of Sonoma County. In the case of the New Family Farm, it begins in the fertile soils along Atascadero Creek west of Sebastopol. Adam Davidoff


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and Ryan Power started farming five years ago and now farm 10 acres of land, growing vegetables and herbs, raising pigs and utilizing teams of horses for some of the farm work. Davidoff and Power both graduated from Analy High School and went on to earn degrees in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Davidoff spent a year in New Mexico before returning home to start New Family Farm with Power. Their enterprise embraces the principles that guide many modern organic farms, grounded in a holistic context and a commitment to a sustainable ecology and economy. Ryan Power recalls a professor at Santa Cruz telling him that “agriculture is the largest medium through which people interact with the ecosystem,” and that message stuck with him. “Ag is where we need thoughtfulness and mindfulness,” said Power. “It involves activism and social change, which is borne out of the idea that the way we as a people are treating the earth is not right … we need to figure out how to feed people without harming the earth. I feel really confident about that.” Among the first things to do, said Power, is to support the idea of farming and bring more people into the fold. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, less than 1 percent of the 313 million living in the U.S. claim farming as an occupation, and 45 percent of those claimed farming as their principal occupation. “So we (as farmers) feed 99 percent of the population. That is not a sustainable ratio,” he said. “I don’t want to be a commuter. I don’t want to work for another man’s wealth. I’m proud to be a farmer. We raise a lot of food. When we send out four truckloads of food out into the community, and that makes me feel excellent. We’re feeding families and children. We’re feeding the community.” New Family Farm sells their produce directly to customers at local farmers markets and to local grocery stores, including Oliver’s Markets, Whole Foods Market and Andy’s Produce Market. “This is

a great county for farmers to get a foothold and for people to know how their food is grown,” said Power. “People are becoming more aware of how their food is grown and are learning to appreciate the art of growing food more than the business of growing food.” Davidoff admits to a certain degree of business naiveté when they first started their farming enterprise. “We got into this business without enough of a business acumen,” he said. “If someone had forced us to take a farming business class we would have gotten our mistakes out of the way a lot quicker. We need to be the best and the brightest people doing farming — our future depends on it. As farmers we need to be the smartest ones out there, the sharpest tools in the shed. We need to be innovative in everything we do, whether it’s using the horses, or no-till versus till, or packaging, transportation … everything.” Despite the hard work, long hours and modest income, Davidoff said returning to Sebastopol to farm the soil was the right decision. “We were disillusioned when we got out of college,” said Davidoff. “This continues to be the most tangible thing we can do … it feels like you are making a difference. At the end of the day, turning the pigs or the horses out to pasture, listening to the birds … It all comes back about why we’re doing this. Since we’ve been doing this I’ve never been disillusioned.” Davidoff seeks a balance in his work and his life. The farm is certified organic and he uses horses for a portion of the work that would otherwise require motorized equipment. But some things, like shaping beds and spreading manure, still require a tractor. “There are lots of nice things about using horses,” said Davidoff. “It allows you to slow down and work at a farm pace … it’s a beautiful, challenging and humbling relationship. It’s a more holistic approach and allows us to view the farm as an organism. We use them in the places where it makes the most sense. In the spring we use them a lot. There is a steep learning curve. We learn a lot each time we do it.” Using horses to plow a field or pigs to graze off the edges of a planted area are ways of finding a balance of the old and the new.

“It’s really about keeping the big picture in mind and keeping things in context for what you are doing … we try to keep the balance between efficiency, beauty and a fulfilling lifestyle,” he said. “When you are growing a farm you have to be intentional and thoughtful. Do you want to grow a whole field of tomatoes just to be profitable? Or do you want to farm in a way that is about quality of life and growing food that is healthy? We feel like we’re making a difference in the world.” Power and Davidoff are passionate about agriculture’s place in society and in the daily workings of a community. They bristle at the stereotype of farmers as poor and uneducated. “We really believe that farms should be the hub of a community,” said Davidoff. “Farms support the community and the community should support them. We’re trying to show that farmers can make a good living both monetarily and in the quality of life. I’m educated and have a desire to learn from the best thinkers of our time. I can’t get stuck in the paradigm where I can’t make a good living. I don’t want to be rich, but I do want to send my kids to college … I’m going to keep farming, there is no doubt about that. It’s just a matter of where and how.”

A Second Generation of Farmer in Healdsburg For the past 35 years Yael Bernier and her husband Paul have been farming in the Healdsburg area. Yael is known for her multiple varieties of garlic (14) and Paul for dry-farming steep hillside vineyards that few others care to take on. They live in a home on two acres they bought on Canyon Road in Geyserville in 1976, affectionately known as the “home place,” where they reared their three children. Later they bought an adjacent property with a home and another three acres, which is where their son, Zureal, now lives with his wife and child. Zureal is the second generation of farmer in the Bernier family. He first thought he’d like to go into farming after studying abroad in Argentina during his junior year at Healdsburg High School. He

Zureal Bernier, Yael Bernier, Jesse Carpenter and Tristan van Stirum (standing l-r) at the Bernier’s farm stand in the Alexander Valley; (right) Zureal Bernier harvests tomatoes.

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Left: Farmers Adam Davidoff and Ryan Power grow vegetables and herbs and raise heritage pigs at the New Family Farm in Sebastopol. Right: Chickens at Bernier’s farm.

The Farmers Guild North Coast Farmers Guild National Young Farmers Coalition


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spent a year in an agricultural school with other students destined to farm. “That was my first time I realized that people my age were thinking about what they wanted to do with their lives,” said Zureal. “I thought my parents have something cool going on and that might be a good direction.” He took a circuitous path before returning home to join his parents. After a stint at Santa Rosa Junior College, Zureal studied fruit science at Cal Poly State University San Luis Obispo and earned a degree in agriculture. He moved home and farmed with his father for a while, travelled, and lived and worked in Santa Cruz and Berkeley. “I came back in my senior year (of high school) and realized that agriculture was a pretty valid path to go down,” said Zureal. “I didn’t make my mind up that was what I was going do to right then. I’ve done many other things. It’s been good to see some other things and consider what the other options are.” Returning to Sonoma County, Zureal worked for other organic vegetable growers and started his own vegetable enterprise. At one point, Zureal and Yael were each selling vegetables at the same market, under different tents. “I realized why try to do my own thing when my parents aren’t getting any younger,” he said. “I didn’t make any sense to have a mother and son competing with each other.” Both readily admit it was hardly competitive, and never awkward. So Zureal decided to throw in with his parents, and he now splits his time between working with his father in the vineyards and the compost and his mother in the fruit and vegetable operation. “I’ve always joked that Zureal has the worst of both worlds,” said Paul. “He has to work with me in the vineyards and his mom in the vegetables.” Zureal noted wryly that he was “pretty well getting ripped right down the middle” when it comes to his labors. “It makes my job really diverse and challenging at times. There are always a hundred things going on.” While the Bernier’s family is anchored at the home place, their farming takes them to numerous locations. The vineyard sharecropping takes Paul and Zureal to eight different ranches, in addition to their own, where they farm 40 acres of vineyard. Several

years ago, Paul was asked if he was interested in a vineyard in the Alexander Valley, which hadn’t interested him in the past given his predilection for Old Vine Zinfandel. But he took on the vineyard and it changed the course of things for the family. In the mid-2000s Yael started expanding the vegetable growing activities. “For years I would talk Paul into taking out a row or two of grapes here and there” so she could plant more vegetables, said Yael. When the family took over operation of Alexander Valley vineyard in 2010, the owners agreed to remove several acres of vineyard, where the Berniers now grow three acres of vegetables and an acre of fruit trees. The timing was fortuitous. “It coincided with me deciding I was ready to farm with my parents full time,” said Zureal. “Now, at this point neither of my parents are willing to admit it, but they are approaching retirement … which leaves me as the one person who has been with the operation long enough to take over. Both of my parents are critical to the operation.” And he adds with a slight smirk, “… I don’t think they are going to get laid off any time soon.” It’s clear that Zureal values the opportunity to work alongside his parents and appreciates the work that has gone into building a farming business. And they appreciate his independent thinking. “Learning the business from my parents, a lot of it feels perfect and some of it could be improved and modified,” he said. “Zureal is more formally trained than we are,” said Paul. “Yael and I operate by the seat of our pants. In the vineyard, I’ve done things wrong just to see how far I can go and still get away with it … and I’ve learned a lot along the way.” And the younger Bernier is the beneficiary of his parents’ trial and error. “There is a large infrastructure behind this operation – equipment, land, relationships,” said Zureal. “I am happy about all this … it’s definitely a challenging job, but there is a real future in it. Sonoma County is an amazing place and it has a lot to offer. The ‘movement’ (of young farmers) is happening right now … there is a cycle of more small farms popping up along with restaurants and wineries and there is kind of an upward spiraling of this that is getting bigger and bigger. There are more people fully involved in small farm operations, and it goes hand in hand with food and it creates a lot of diversity with food events and the farmers markets. It creates a connection between the producers and the customers.” Zureal said he enjoys the direct contact with people in the community. Gratification comes “not just selling food to restaurants and wineries, but we are selling food to customers at the Farmers Markets, working class people who want good food. That’s priceless. We’re feeding our community and neighbors and friends.” The Berniers sell their produce at the Farmers Markets in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and Cloverdale and they sell directly to many local restaurants. Zureal is on the board of directors of the Original Certified Santa Rosa Farmers Market and the Berniers are members of the Farmers Guild. They recently became certified as organic farmers through the California Certified Organic Farmers agency. Small farmers compete with much larger farms that can afford to sell fruit and vegetables at lower prices. Lower prices, however, can’t compete with fresh, local produce. “This is freshly picked, locally grown and the prices we charge make it affordable to us,” said Yael. “We’re not making big profits.” “The reality is you are getting something that is freshly produced, and it is something that is sustainable and healthy,” said Zureal. “It’s supporting long-term sustainability, health-wise and economically. It’s a choice that people either make or they don’t make.”

For their part, the Berniers have chosen farming as a way of life. “People ask me why I do it,” said Yael. “Shouldn’t I be retired? We built this place and I feel connected and intertwined with this place. I often feel like I’d have to be carried out of here. I feel intertwined and grounded.” For Zureal, he appreciates “the satisfaction of watching the process of planting an area and seeing it grow and fill in … and how you are able to eat and live off what you grow. Our focus here is on building soil nutrients and fertility through cover cropping and compost. How could I now farm that property? There is so much gratification with farming and the lifestyle of farming. It hooks you in. It’s not just a career.” The other two Bernier children, Sam and Briana, occasionally help out on the farm. “We’re a family that likes to cook and we like to eat good food,” said Yael. “That is an important part of having this lifestyle.”

From Meat Loaf to a Farmers Guild The newest wave of young farmers is bent on supporting others who want that lifestyle. The Farmers Guild started innocuously enough two years ago in Evan Wiig’s kitchen in Valley Ford, where he was working at True Grass Farms, which raises organic meats. They’d get together for an informal meal and a few beers. The casual meetings were known as “Meat Loaf Mondays” because they involved ground beef from the farm. “Initially there was no profound attempt to start an organization,” said Wiig. “But we were living in a town of 126 people who were much older, more conservative and much more reserved, and here we were these young whippersnappers who wanted to do things differently. We realized this was very important. If any of us were going to stay in ag we had to have these kinds of connections.” Part of the push among young farmers to organize is the increasing average age of farmers. In the U.S., between 1997 and 2007, the average age of the principal operator of a farm increased from 54 years old to 57 years old, according to the USDA’s Census of Agriculture. “There is a huge exodus from family farms,” said Wiig. “I realized the benefit of providing a resource of young farmers to get together and be more successful collectively was a huge impact, way beyond whether or not my chickens are going to lay enough eggs to make a living for myself.” Thus the Young Farmers Guild was formed, with most of the members in the 20s and 30s attending monthly meetings at the Sebastopol Grange Hall. Some confusion arose as to “what was a young farmer,” said Wiig. “Some people assumed it was 4H or FFA, and once the Guild grew so large we didn’t want that confusion. It became the Farmers Guild. This is an organization for all ages and we realized that one of the most important things we could do to meet the needs and contribute to the success of young farmers is to have old farmers participate and show up at meetings. They need to pass on this knowledge, wisdom, experience, their tools, their land and their farms.” In June of this year, The Farmers Guild Network became a non-profit organization with about 1,000 members, including farm operators, interns, ranch hands and farm workers. The group has launched a crowd-funding campaign to fund its ongoing operations. “The Farmers Guild is free for anyone and a service for the community,” he said. “And people find it valuable. We are reaching out to our community to help us make this viable.” SD fall 2014 +




Why Sonoma County painters work outside by Frank Robertson

| Photography by Joe Barkoff

Who wouldn’t want to be a plein air painter working in a rural landscape as beautiful as Sonoma County’s? Out there hiking the gloriously rugged and unspoiled landscape, immersed, surrounded, soaking it up?

Sergio Lopez paints at Spring Lake.


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n plein air, the French term for working outside, evokes the art of legendary French Impressionists such as Claude Monet and his colleagues Pissarro and Renoir who helped pioneer the spontaneous and portable plein air movement that blossomed in the late 1800s. Being able to set up your studio just about anywhere out-of-doors was facilitated by the development of commercially produced pigments sold in toothpastesize tubes you could stuff in your pockets. Easier access to paint and the arrival of the lightweight French box easel enabled formerly housebound artists to get out of their studios, soak up the sunshine and try to capture the fleeting radiance of nature. Plein air painters like to talk about getting things right, ever on the lookout for a wonderful coincidence of light, landscape and luck that will give them what local plein air painter Gerald de Rios calls “that golden hour.” What’s the big deal? What’s the defining experience of working outside? “There’s just something about it,” said de Dios. “It’s a race against time. The light is changing and shadows are moving. You have to be there.” I met de Dios on a warm Sunday morning this summer at Petaluma’s Shollenberger Park where painters from the North Bay Plein Air group had gathered to work. By late morning the day’s 90-degree heat already dominated the landscape even though we were out in bay wetlands along the

Petaluma River. Owing to season and California’s drought, the park’s large central pond was parched and empty. I could imagine getting heat stroke out here on a day like this. “It’s too hot and dry,” said one artist scouting the territory prior to unloading painting gear from her car. “There’s no water,” she said, finally leaving her stuff in the trunk and driving off, waving goodbye to her fellow brothers and sisters in art. Plein air painters have to get used to the rigors of painting in adversarial conditions ranging from fog and wind to hot sun and chatty spectators. On windy afternoons, particularly near the coast, “We’ve had painters chase their easels down,” said de Dios, one of the founders of the North Bay Plein Air group that’s been painting together since 2009. Painting outdoors requires planning for weather, terrain and personal comfort. When your studio is wherever you want it to be, perhaps atop a coastal ridge or out in a vineyard, it’s a no-brainer that you need to travel light. These painters lugged their gear — easels, paint boxes, tripods and umbrellas — packed on rolling luggage carriers. De Dios, who works in watercolor as well as oils, pastels and gouache, has a plein-air, watercolor kit of brushes and paint that’s so portable “I can just throw it in my cargo shorts,” said de Dios, dressed in a blue shirt, floppy sun hat, cargo shorts and New Balance running shoes. Working on a warm day mixing water colors can be a challenge “just

Linda Rosso (left) paints at Shollenberger Park in Petaluma. Sonoma County painter Sergio Lopez will be one of the working artists at this year’s Sonoma Plein Air painting competition.

trying to keep your palette wet,” said de Dios, who carried a plastic squirt bottle for moistening dry pigments. The artists at Shollenberger checked out one another’s portable hardware with an eye toward self-improvement. “That looks much heavier duty than mine,” said de Dios, admiring a clamp on another artist’s easel. The consensus on gear among the painters seems to be: “Buy good tools.” “I’ve spent so much money on junk,” said one woman. “This is how we learn,” said another. These artists weren’t all acquainted with each other but there was a sense of brotherhood, or sisterhood, of mutual support and a shared mission. One artist had forgotten to bring paper towels; “I have some,” said a colleague. They set blank canvasses on pochade boxes supported by tripods and went to work. They were looking southwest, across the Highway 101 freeway, painting a dry golden brown hill adorned with clumps of green trees. Joggers trotted past and dragonflies fall 2014 +


darted above the dry stubble surrounding the parched lakebed. Four middle-aged women sitting at their easels in proximity of four feet to several yards worked quietly and with rapt concentration. It was almost like a small meditative picnic except rather than eating lunch they were painting the countryside. One of the painters at Shollenberger was Linda Rosso, a former public relations executive who said she likes to paint with other artists rather than alone because “I like to talk to people.” Another priority for Rosso is proximity to basic needs. “There has to be a restroom and a restaurant within walking distance.” Rosso said she doesn’t always finish a painting in one sitting, a method known as alla prima. “Generally you have a window of time before the light changes too much,” said Rosso. “Sometimes you have to come back.” Last year Rosso was accepted as artistin-residence at Healdsburg’s Chalk Hill Artist Residency program at the prestigious Warnecke Ranch. The North Bay Plein Air group has painted there too, as invited guests. It was one of the group’s biggest turnouts, with more than 60 artists attending. “It was great,” said Rosso, of her Chalk Hill residency. She got to work on the 265acre vineyard last spring, painting “just as the buds were breaking.”

Where to see some art When this year’s week-long Sonoma Plein Air painting competition gets under way on Sept. 15, one of the working artists will be Sergio Lopez, a versatile Sonoma County painter who won Sonoma Plein Air’s “Artists’ Choice” honors last year for best work. Sonoma Plein Air 2014, which runs from Sept. 15 through 20, started 10 years ago as a weeklong live-painting event “celebrating the century-old technique of outdoor painting,” said organizers. A jury of art professionals and artists select 36 artists from hundreds of applications received for the competition. Participants include “local and nationally recognized award-winning outdoor painters from California and across the country,” noted the Sonoma Plein Air website, “This juried event brings nationally recognized plein air artists to Sonoma for a week of painting the inspiring landscapes of Sonoma Valley. Whether it is the magnificent green hills with giant oaks, grazing sheep and cows, winding


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roads, picturesque villages, or the colors and scents of wildflowers – Sonoma Valley is paradise for plein air artists.” Sonoma Plein Air begins on September 15 when artists arrive in Sonoma. Participating artists wishing accommodations are assigned to private homes for their six-day stay. They are treated to several gourmet lunches at painting locations. The artists paint throughout the week in Sonoma County. A gala dinner with the artists and art auction is held Friday night, Sept. 19. Each artist brings his or her best work of the week to be sold at the silent auction.

The artists vote on their choice of best painting and the “Artists’ Choice Award” is announced with the Artists’ Choice painting offered for sale that evening in a live auction. The annual gathering culminates on Sept. 20 at Sonoma’s historic town plaza for the art exhibition and sale. Art lovers and collectors from across the United States mingle with the artists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the plaza. “The sun glows through the turning leaves of trees as soothing live music creates the perfect setting for the exhibition,” said the show’s advance publicity. “Art created during the week is exhibited and offered for sale. The non-profit all-volunteer Sonoma Plein Air Foundation presents this annual event designed to be “casual, interactive and educational.” Admission is free. Sergio Lopez also has a three-person show opening in October entitled “The Traveling Painters.” Two other plein air artists, Paul Kratter and Bart Walker, will join him for the exhibit at the Christopher Queen Gallery in Duncans Mills. Christopher Queen’s Nancy Ferreira opened her landmark Duncans Mills gallery 38 years ago and has created a remarkable space to get a sense of who’s who among past and present plein air artists working in

Sonoma County. Sergio Lopez’s work is well represented there along with contemporary plein air work by Kratter, Walker, Wanda Westberg, Jack Cassinetto and others. At age 31, Lopez is the gallery’s youngest artist. “We’re very proud of him,” said Tiare Giardina, of Christopher Queen. “We’ve done fantastic with him.” Lopez connected with Ferreira’s gallery a few years ago after stopping in to see what Christopher Queen was all about. “It must have been back in 2007 or 2008. I wasn’t familiar with any galleries like that in Sonoma County,” said Lopez. “At the time I hadn’t done a whole lot of landscape painting. I went over and checked it out. I talked to Nancy and showed her my work. “She was interested. She saw that I had potential. It took maybe another couple of years, going back in and showing her what I was up to. Eventually she took me on after she thought that I was ready to show there.” Fellow plein air artist and instructor Quang Ho mentioned Lopez recently when delivering the keynote speech at a plein air exhibit in San Luis Obispo. “Keep an eye out for this young man,” said Quang Ho. “He is a painter.” SD



ny discussion of Sonoma County artists known for working en plein air has to mention Jack Stuppin, Bill Wheeler, Tony King and the late Bill Morehouse, known as the “Sonoma Four. The Four enjoyed each other’s company and loved to work outside. “It all goes to show you don’t necessarily need a studio to make art. That’s the bottom line,” said Bill Wheeler, the longtime Occidental resident who first gained Sonoma County notoriety in the 1960s when he hosted a hippie commune on his Coleman Valley Road ranch. The Sonoma Four were originally East Coast artists. King was a New York City painter before moving to Sonoma County. He met Morehouse in New York. Wheeler studied at Yale in the 1960s before settling in at his ranch on Coleman Valley Road. Stuppin, now arguably the reigning contemporary among Sonoma County plein artists, grew up in Yonkers, graduated from Columbia University in New York City and was a successful investment banker. Phil Linhares, a former chief curator of art at the Oakland Museum, found it noteworthy that the four, who were trained to work in various studio environments, had “embraced the plein air tradition at this time,” which was the 1980s and early ’90s. “The question that occurs is what these artists of different temperaments and aesthetic concerns may be bringing to the expansion of open air landscape painting,” said Linhares, in “En Plein Air,” a pamphlet that accompanied a 1992 San Francisco exhibit of the Sonoma Four’s work. “The outings are convivial but demanding and are serious working sessions lasting from early morning to sunset,” wrote Linhares. “The group chooses sites and alternates according to weather conditions and other factors. They sometimes meet early in Occidental for coffee and planning and are quickly off to the agreed upon location for the day’s work.” Linhares noted there was also an inherent political conviction among the Four who believed Sonoma County’s ruggedly beautiful natural landscape had a value transcending the pressures of the real estate market. Rural Sonoma County dwellers and visitors in the 1980s were worried (as they should have been) about the coastward march of urban sprawl. The town of Windsor, for example, was suddenly and quickly replacing formerly undeveloped oak woodlands with a paved suburb of thousands of tract homes. The Town of Windsor was incorporated in 1992, the same year the Sonoma Four’s exhibit opened in San Francisco at the John Berggruen Gallery. As the Four became friends and began painting together

in western Sonoma County, they eventually traveled across the U.S. to work en plein air. A catalog entitled “Cross Country” chronicles the historic trip of four artists driving around the U.S. to paint iconic American landscapes such as Yosemite’s Half Dome and South Dakota’s Badlands. The painters endured bad weather, mechanical breakdowns and road weariness, wrote Linhares in his account. “The logistics of the trip were considerably simpler than those of earlier generations of artists,” wrote Linhares. “No horses, pack mules, salted provisions or guides were required. Tony King outfitted a rented yellow truck with racks to store wet paintings, fresh canvasses, paint, brushes, watercolor and drawing materials. Meals were taken at roadside cafes. Stuppin and Morehouse slept in motels, King and Wheeler, in the truck. Bill Morehouse’s venerable “Suburban,” an oversized station wagon, provided a backup car. “The rigors of the trip emphasized — consciously or not — the performance side of making art,” wrote Linhares. The four artists “painted out of doors, under the sun, in the cold and the wind; they saw new light, form and color and expanded their vocabularies as artist in the process,” said Linhares. “The trip was wonderfully successful and a lot of fun,” said Wheeler. “We spent eight hours a day painting, eight hours a day driving and eight hours a day for everything else,” said Jack Stuppin. Stuppin said he sometimes worked all day on a single painting. “I didn’t pay any attention trying to capture the light at the moment,” said Stuppin. “Most of my paintings look like they were painted at high noon.” The most important message for plein air painters, said Stuppin, “is to develop your own style.” “A lot of professional art people kind of scoff at plein air,” said Stuppin. “So much of it is trying to do what’s already been done. The four of us were really not paying attention to what had been painted before. We evolved our own styles.” Stuppin’s work can be seen in prints at local venues such as the Sonoma County Museum, Copperfield’s Bookstores, Hand Goods gallery in Occidental and the Bodega Landmark Gallery. His work is in many public collections, including the Sonoma County Museum, San Francisco’s de Young Fine Arts Museum and the Oakland Museum. His original paintings are shown at ACA Galleries in New York; he has a show up through September 18 at Google headquarters in Mountain View. — Frank Robertson

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For a Different Kind of



n a gray and tempestuous day in late June, I meet Hollis Bewley on a rocky outcropping overlooking North Salmon Creek Beach, a wide expanse of sand and rippling dunes located north of Bodega Bay. It’s a bad day for hairdos, Chamber of Commerce-friendly photography and anyone interested in getting an early start on their summer tan. But for me, a Sonoma Coast newbie, the uninviting wind and fog served as an entry point to understanding perhaps the most important trait of the vast, 60-mile stretch of rocky promontories and hidden beaches on our coastline: the oceanic upwelling system that forms the backbone of the world-class Sonoma Coast ecosystem.

By Jenna Polito


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Photography By Nevin Mahoney

As we stand on the outcropping overlooking North Salmon Creek Beach, Bewley explained how strong seasonal winds drive up very cold, nutrient-rich water from deep in the ocean. “That is the beginning of the food chain for all of the fish, seabirds that are nesting out here, marine mammals, the whole nine yards,” she said. “The upwelling doesn’t happen if the wind stops.” The next three hours were filled with similar revelations, as Bewley, who serves on the board of directors for the environmental non-profit Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, guided me along an eight-mile conga line of Sonoma Coast State Park beaches that stretch from Salmon Creek to Goat Rock Beach in Jenner. With more than 20 years of coastal exploration under her belt, Bewley spoke to her favorite corners of the coast, the cultural clashes between its resident species, and the most pressing concerns for the community at large in the same way a local might give a cultural tour of his or her native city. Clearly, I can’t say I emerged a Sonoma Coast expert from that afternoon tour; even an aficionado like Bewley still comes upon surprises. But I did get a sense of the coast’s role as a ‘living laboratory,’ as Bewley called it, a place of turmoil, adaptation and even danger.

At the Sonoma Coast, red tides and mysterious illnesses sweep in like biblical plagues and obliterate tide pool regulars, and rogue waves can prove treacherous for visitors. Yet it’s also a locus for unexpected delights, where seal pups lounge on sandy beaches and rare coastal prairies surround rocks where mammoths may have scratched their backs. Or as Bewley succinctly put it, it’s a place for a “different kind of beach-goer.”

Drama at the Tide Pools A bustling world is located in the sand and surf around our feet at North Salmon Creek Beach — a place I come to learn, despite being populated by algae and small or near-microscopic animals, is home to enough drama to supply material for a host of oceanic soap operas. The theatrics start in the fall, when storms raging out at sea sweep algae onto beaches like North Salmon Creek. “Often there are a lot of little interesting, small, practically microscopic animals that have settled on the algae,” Bewley said, running through a list of oddly named hitchhiking aquatic organisms such as Bryozoa (aka “moss animals”), Ascidians (aka “sea squirts”) and the more-familiar barnacle. “And,” Bewley adds, “I’m always looking for baby octopus that might have washed

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up with them and have only found one so far.” Bewley said the deposit of organic material, called beach wrack, proves a rich resource for those interested in observing marine life. “There’s wildlife that people aren’t necessarily aware of when they come down here, unless they’re looking for it,” she said. “So the beach wrack is really interesting to explore.” We continue down the coast to Marshall Gulch Beach, Bewley’s favorite tide pooling beach. While beach wrack may be an underdog-like source of marine life for curious beachgoers, tide pools are clearly the beauty queens: flashy and a little elusive. “The thing that’s interesting about tide pool beaches is that there are different animals at each of them,” Bewley said, recalling that her first encounter with a sea cucumber came just a week ago at Shell Beach, another tide pool-friendly destination. Though tide pools still offer these surprises, two recent large-scale disasters have drained the population of observable marine life around the Sonoma Coast. Almost wistfully, Bewley describes the heyday of tidal exploration, when tide pool regulars included mollusks called gumboot chitons — the largest chiton in the world — as well as a variety of sea stars, including many-legged sunflower stars and ‘super predator’ ochre sea stars, which maintained


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the biodiversity of the area by keeping the populations of mollusks in check. Then, an unusual red tide swept up the California coast in late 2011 and soon after, a mysterious disease called Sea Star Wasting Syndrome devastated wide swaths of sea star populations. The fate has spared whimsical nudibranchs, which are shell-less mollusks that look like brightly colored slugs, as well as sea snails and barnacles. While the red tide exhausted gumboots, other chitons still make an appearance in local tide pools, and sea urchins are making a comeback. Though tide pool creatures may be in a state of flux, Bewley points out that the tumult is merely a microcosm of life itself — a fact evident to those who have been observing tide pools for long periods of time. “It’s a living laboratory,” she said. “This has been going on for eons. Species come and go.” But to aid the preservation of these creatures, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods educates visitors on the fragileness of tide pool life. “We’re like giants entering their world,” Bewley said. “They live in a very tough neighborhood, for all types of reasons.” Due to the delicate balance of their community, everything a person may touch in a tide pool — from a sea star to a rock — must be placed back where it was found. “Especially right now,” she said. “They’ve got enough problems.”

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Beaches Departing Marshall Gulch, Bewley and I press forward through the thickening fog, passing Schoolhouse Beach, also known for its tide pools, and the sandy, accommodating Portuguese Beach. We drop anchor at the midway point of the State Park — Duncan’s Landing, a rocky promontory that juts out into the ocean, a place meant for picnicking and surveying the coastline that stretches in either direction below. At Duncan’s Landing, Bewley demonstrates how rocky promontories create a marked difference in personalities between neighboring beaches. Duncan’s Landing shelters Duncan’s Cove, a beach on its south side, while on the north side, Wright’s Beach is left more exposed. This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like disparity is again repeated further north, where Goat Rock offers some protection to Blind Beach at its southern end, while conditions remain more rough at Goat Rock Beach on the northern side. “Sonoma Coast is really, really dangerous,” Bewley cautioned. “There are sleeper waves all the time. But Blind Beach … is protected by Goat Rock, and it’s comfortable if you come out with young children.” We walk together to stand over Duncan’s Cove and watch a family lounge on the beach below. “Where I’m standing right now, it feels like the temperature has

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risen about 10 degrees,” Bewley points out. “So it’s protected from the surf, but then it’s also protected from the wind.” Step Back in Time at Shell Beach

LEARN MORE Sonoma Coast State Park, composed of a series of beaches, extends 17 miles from Bodega Head to Vista Trail, located 4 miles north of Jenner. Beaches may be accessed along Highway 1. A ranger’s station is located at the north side of Salmon Creek off of the highway. For more information pertaining to the park, including day use and camping opportunities, visit or call 875-3483. SAFETY FIRST Never turn your back on the ocean. Surfing and wading are not recommended. Large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities deadly, according to State Parks. All natural things are protected by state law; leave the hammer at home and leave rocks alone. If you must touch something in a tide pool, place it back exactly where you found it. Due to the protected status of the seals, dogs are not allowed on Goat Rock Beach and visitors must stay 50 yards away.

As Bewley and I draw closer to Jenner, we stop for a time at Shell Beach. Known for its tide pools, the beach and its surroundings also teem with features of ancient historical significance. These traces of age-old tectonic activity and long-extinct animals remain hidden, but not inscrutable — a little like a well-planned scavenger hunt. But without clues, visitors might remain completely unaware of the significance of what lays at their feet. Through Bewley, I learn that the area is considered a Mecca for geologists, due to tectonic activity dating up to 100 million years in the past. At the time, the North American Plate and the Farallon Plate were colliding, with the weight of the North American Plate pushing the Farallon Plate into the earth’s mantle, creating a subduction zone. Due to the subduction, a wedge of rocks known as a mélange accumulated in the area, now raised above sea level. Consequentially, Shell Beach is home to a chaotic menagerie of rocks, including peridotite, serpentine and greenstone, shale and greywacke sandstone and an igneous rock called pillow lava. But this ancient presence extends beyond the shore. From the Shell Beach parking lot, visitors may access the roughly 4.5 mile Kortum Trail, which runs both south and north, weaving in and out along the bluffs before it terminates at Wright’s Beach to the south and at Blind Beach to the north. As we walk briefly along the north-bound stretch of the Kortum Trail, I ask Bewley if, while educating the public, she comes upon any common misconceptions about the coast. “Well one,” she replied, gesturing down to the grass at our feet, “is that these are weeds. All of this is part of the 1 percent of the coastal prairie that remains in the state of California.” Kortum Trail offers panoramic ocean views and an ever-changing display of wildflowers from February onward, but also an opportunity to roam a remnant of the ancient California coastal prairie that once housed prehistoric grazers including Columbian mammoths and ancient bison, as well as carnivores that sound more borne of fantasy than reality: American cheetahs and dire wolves. Much like the prairie itself, most of these creatures have been lost to time. Yet a few may have left their mark on a complex of blue schist sea stacks and boulders, known as Mammoth Rocks, which sit about a mile north from where the Kortum Trail meets Shell Beach. Years ago, a California State Parks archaeologist identified patches where these normally rough rocks were polished smooth and hypothesized that the rocks once functioned as backscratchers for long-extinct mammoths. Another report indicated that a microscopic analysis of the polished rock showed areas identical to known elephant rubbing rocks in Africa. “It’s pretty much established that before they were extinct, this area was sort of like a Serengeti and that one of the large mammals here were mammoths,” Bewley said. “It’s really an incredible feeling, when you’re walking around them and you rub these areas yourself, to realize that animals that are long extinct created these really smooth surfaces.”

Where the Seals Sleep The final two beaches we visit are reminiscent of the first, with light wind, heavy fog and another estuary at hand. Just south of Jenner, Goat Rock, an impressive promontory, separates the more protected Blind Beach from Goat Rock Beach.


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Bewley and I spend some time at Blind Beach, discussing how she enjoys its relative tranquility, accessibility and walkability. “The rocks are really interesting on this beach, too,” she said. “I must have a thousand photographs of them … The other thing that’s really special about walking on this beach are all the offshore rocks, which we can just kind of barely see right now.” Shortly after, we continue further along Highway 1. Cruising past Jenner, we just begin the gradual climb up rocky cliffs when Bewley drives onto a pullout overlooking the northern end of Goat Rock Beach and the mouth of the Russian River. Far below us, a colony of harbor seals lounges in the surf, looking from a distance like sleepy and contented chocolate sprinkles. “There are still pups here,” Bewley said. “You can see there are some on one side of the river and some on the other … If a seal is looking at you on land, you’re too close,” Bewley said. “In the water, when they’re in their own element, they’re extremely curious animals.” The seals may even follow visitors as they walk down Blind Beach or paddle in the estuary, like surf-bound shadows. But now, lounging on the beach, the seals don’t look that energetic — more like exhausted children resting after a long day of play. So after a few contemplative minutes, we leave the seal colony on the cool sand, shrouded in fog, to make our way back to Salmon Creek. Looking out at the gray day on our return drive, I ask Bewley what she believes to be the broad appeal of the Sonoma Coast, since it doesn’t seem to be the place to have the luxurious experience typically associated with warmer temperatures and white, sandy beaches. She quickly corrects me: “Actually, you can. It’s just that most of the beachgoers here aren’t there for that reason.” These beaches will be crowded even on a gloomy summer day, she said, but people are there just to relish the experience of being at the coast. “It’s the salt air, it’s the coastal environment,” Bewley said. “It’s a different kind of beachgoer than you find in a lot of other areas.” SD

The Bay View Restaurant & Bar Authentic Italian Cuisine and Sonoma County Favorites Open for Dinner — Seasonal Hours Bay View Bar & Lounge Spectacular Sunset Views Fireside Lounge and Outdoor Patio “Winemaker Dinners” featured monthly

(707) 875-2751

The Tides Wharf Restaurant & Bar “Locals” Favorite for over 50 Years Focusing on Fresh Seafood Specialties Open Daily — Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner No Seats without a View of the Bay Children’s Menu Annual Crab Feeds and Beer Dinners Fish Market, Gift Shop, Snack Bar Large Groups Welcome

(707) 875-3652 800 and 835 Highway One Bodega Bay

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Erickson Fine Art Gallery


Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery

GRATON GALLERY Showing the works of more than 50 local artists and artisans. “Teachers and Influences” with Sandra Rubin, through Sept. 21; “Double Feature” with B.K. Hopkins and Susan Shore, Sept. 23-Oct. 19; “New Works” with James Freed, Nov. 20-Nov. 30. Open Tues. through Sat. 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Mon. and Tues. 9048 Graton Rd., Graton.

“Harvest” features resident artist Robin Burgert and introduces Cloverdale artists participating in Sonoma County Art Trails Open Studios. Also: artist-created Dia de los Muertos altar and artist Pamela Heck’s related paintings; community altar contributions welcomed. Sept. 19-Nov. 13; opening reception Sept. 20, 5:30 p.m. Open Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 204 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale.

A Bird Talk - By Sandra Rubin, Graton Gallery

Dolphin Gallery

Clay sculpture by Ann Berger, paintings by Ellen Boulanger, through Sept. 3. Pastels by Tim Brody, ceramics by Brenda Phillips, Sept. 6-Oct. 1. Watercolor and mixed media by Carol Chell, fused glass by Dianne Van de Carr, Oct. 4-Nov. 13. Holiday boutique, Nov. 18-Dec. 29. 39225 Highway 1, Gualala. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


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“Clay & Glass 2014,” through Sept. 14; “8 x 8: A show of small works,” Sept. 17- Nov. 9; Healdsburg Arts Festival, Sept. 20-21; 8 x 8 artist reception, Oct. 11, 5-8 p.m. Art for the Holidays – A Gift Gallery, Nov. 13-Dec. 31; artist reception, Nov. 22, 5-8 p.m. Check website for class schedule. Open daily 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. 130 Plaza St., Healdsburg. healdsburgcenterforthearts. com.

Representing the best of Northern California painters and sculptors: Bobette Barnes, Joe Draegert, Finley Fryer, Chris Grassano, Susan Hall, John Haines, Jerome Kirk, Donna McGinnis, Tom Monaghan, Jean Mooney, Jeanne Mullen, Bob Nugent, Carlos Perez, Sam Racina, Carol Setterlund, Jeffrey Van Dyke, Paul Van Lith, Antoinette Von Grone and Kathleen Youngquist. Open daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed. by appointment. 324 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Gualala Arts Center

“Canvas, Paper, Sand and Object,” “The Fine Art of the Medical World Medical Illustration,” “Self-Portrait as Doll,” Sept. 5-28; opening reception Sept. 5, 5 p.m. “Gualala Salon,” Oct. 3-Nov. 22; opening reception, Oct. 3, 5 p.m. Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala. Hammerfriar

“Jenny Honnert Abell: Solo show,” through Sept. 7. 132 Mill Street, Suite 101, Healdsburg.

HAND FAN MUSEUM “Fans: My Senior Life Passion,” opening reception Nov. 3, 5-7 p.m. Open Wed. through Sun., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed holidays and rainy days. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg.

Local Color Gallery

“Audubon Journey,” wildlife paintings by Ron Sumner and his twin brother Don Sumner, Sept. 2-Oct. 6; artist reception, Sept. 6, 1-4 p.m. “Visual Feast,” photographic images by Phil Wright and invited artists, Oct. 7-Nov. 3; reception Oct. 11, 1-4 p.m. “Celebration,” holiday show of gift ideas by the gallery artists, Nov. 4Dec. 8, reception Nov. 8, 1-4 p.m. 1580 Eastshore Rd., Bodega Bay. Open daily 10-5 p.m. 1580 Eastshore Rd., Bodega Bay. Nichibei Potters

Blending the elegant tradition of Japanese folk art with a contemporary flair resulting in an innovative collection of handmade pottery. Visit by appointment. Also: 28th Annual Holiday Open House, Dec. 6-7, 13-14. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 1991 Burnside Rd., Sebastopol.


 Downtown Graton  Open 10:30~6, closed Monday


Fine Art and Crafts by Sonoma County Artists

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fine museum quality framing highest standards of preservation and conservation methods used (707) 473.9600 132 Mill Street • Healdsburg

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Ren Brown Collection

“Master of the Mezzotint,” Katsunori Hamanishi, through Sept. 21. A prominent artist working in this difficult medium. “New Paintings, Old Prints” by Mayumi Oda, Sept. 26-Nov. 2. Reception: Sept. 28, 2-4 p.m. Famed for silkscreen and etching, now devoted to painting. Also: Contemporary Japanese printmakers and local artists featuring Japanese tansu chests, fine jewelry, woodfired and salt-glazed ceramics. Wed.-Sun.,10 a.m.-5 p.m., 1781 Coast Hwy. 1, Bodega Bay.

GALLERIES Christie Marks Fine Art Gallery

Sebastopol Center for the Arts

Sonoma County Art Trails Open Studio Tour, Oct. 11-12 and Oct. 18-19. Preview exhibit, with each of the 162 artists represented, Sept. 26-Oct. 19; opening reception Sept. 26, 6-8 p.m. (see catalog at “Big Ideas 1950-1970: Influences in Modern Ceramics,” Sept. 11-Oct. 25. “Beasties!” Oct. 30-Dec. 6. Open Tues-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 1-4 p.m., 282 S. High St., Sebastopol Veterans Building, Sebastopol.

Ben Lastufka, “Incessant Beauty” August 21 – September 29 Conversation With the Artist, Thursday, September 11, 6 PM 322 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg 2nd floor, next to Brush (707)695-1011 •

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Sebastopol Gallery

Paintings by Paula Matzinger and ceramics by Chris Boyd, through Sept. 27. “Stardust Reveries” by Susan St. Thomas, Sept. 28-Nov. 15; reception Oct. 11. Ceramics by Connie Robeson, Nov. 16-Dec. 31; reception Dec. 6. Open daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 150 North Main St., Sebastopol.

Client: Christie Marks Gallery Run date: 8-28-14 Ad title/slug: 1/9 page color Returned approval due by: 7-22-14 Scheduled to run in: Discoveries Fall 2014 - Gallery

Towers Gallery

“Cruising at Towers” opens Sept. 5 featuring photography by Walter Gendell, Jack Fitzsimmons, George Sachs, Cathy Thomas, Claudia Flood, Mary Wilson, Doug DaSilva and Robin Lavin. Special exhibits: “Objects of Curiosity,” a one-man show within a show featuring Dan Lavin; “En Plein Air-In Open Air” featuring Ellen Boulanger, Marjorie Cortez-Murray, Nancy Sanchietti, Linda Raye Simms, John Farnsworth, Nicole Ours, Nancy Burres and Angel Fabela. Bronze sculptures by Nash Kunkle. Artists’ reception Sept. 20, 5-9 p.m. Open Friday-Monday, 11 a.m.7 p.m. 240 North Cloverdale Blvd. Suite 2, Cloverdale. Upstairs Art Gallery

The gallery, inside Levin & Company community booksellers, is a showcase for local art, featuring an eclectic mix of paintings, mixed media, collage, drawings, prints and a selection of fine arts and jewelry. The gallery is owned and operated by local artists. Open daily, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 306 Center St., Healdsburg.

407 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg

(1 block north of the Plaza) - 707-431-0111


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Open Studios


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Client: Erickson Gallery Run date: 8-28-14 Ad title/slug: 1/9 page color Returned approval due by: ASAP Oct 11-12 Scheduled to run in: Discoveries Fall 2014 Oct 18-19 Please check this proof carefully for errors and omissions. Your signature below constitutes acceptance of full responsibility for all errors, omissions and legal and ethical compliance in this document. Sonoma West Publishers will not accept liability for errors overlooked at this stage of proofing. Any changes from your previously approved copy will be charged extra according to both time and materials. Advertiser agrees to pay approAnother Qualitycosts Program From priate rates and production as specified in the curSebastopol Center rent rate card. All conditions of thefor latestthe rateArts card apply.


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September 20-21 RUSSIAN RIVER JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL rtists Gary Clark Jr. and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will be making their Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival debut at this year’s event. Billed as “one great weekend, two great festivals,” the popular show at Johnson’s Beach on the Russian River in Guerneville has locked in a stellar lineup on both Saturday, Jazz Day, and Sunday, Blues Day. Rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, umbrellas and beach chairs. International foods, beer, wine and snacks available. Purchase tickets online, at select locations or call 949-360-7800. Gate opens at 10 a.m. Johnson’s Beach, 16241 First St., Guerneville.


Trombone Shorty


The Barlow Street Fair


21st Annual Cloverdale Car and Motorcycle Show loverdale heats up with a cruise and live music in the plaza on Friday night. More than 200 classic cars and motorcycles line the boulevard on Saturday. Music, dancing, food booths, Kid Zone, swap meet, and chili and salsa cook-off.



There’s a party in the streets every Thursday through the end of October. Come out today to hear the Pulsators and celebrate local artisans and food vendors. 4-8 p.m. McKinley Street, Sebastopol.

Visit our website for a complete listing of area events.

SEPT. 9-11

The National Heirloom Exposition

“The World’s Pure Food Fair” centers around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables and anti-GMO activism, with natural food vendors, speakers, garden and agricultural exhibits, eco and sustainable products, a livestock barn and more. Speaker highlights: Dr. Joseph Mercola, of the natural health website, and Vani Hari, who started to share what’s in the American food supply. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.


Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Wine, craft beer and cider tastings, chef demos, workshops, the World Championship Grape Stomp plus a renewed focus on local artisanal products. Check website for times and ticket costs. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. OCTOBER 10-11

Barbara Bull Memorial Cemetery Walk

Following supper, you’ll walk to Burbank Farm for a history talk then to the neighboring cemetery. As night falls, you are led to six different burial sites, where the lives of each person are dramatized in all-new historical vignettes, and then you return to the farm’s cottage for dessert and coffee. Actor/writer/director Jean Fisher,

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Calabash - A Celebration of Gourds, Art and the Garden


olorful, inspiring and full of heart, the 14th annual harvest event benefits Food for Thought Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank. “A huge number of people contribute to making the event a success: 90 artists, 150 volunteers and hundreds of donors,” said FFT deputy executive director Rachel Gardner. Bid on fine Gourd Art by Ralph Carlson gourd art, from traditional Native American designs to wacky assemblage; tour FFT’s organic gardens, listen to “sweet, unusual, beautiful” music (usually African), and enjoy fine wine, local beer and sumptuous food using ingredients grown by nearby farms and ranches. FFT hosts the event in collaboration with the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. 1-4 p.m., Food for Thought, 6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville.




A huge place to browse! Fido friendly! Visit our delicious bakery too!

100 Dealers! Our UI ZFBS On Sebastopol’s Antique Row (Hwy 116) 2661 Gravenstein Hwy So. | 707.829.1733





GEYSERVILLE & Son Bosworth General Merchandise an old-fashioned store, rich in nostalgia and charm, yet meeting the needs of today’s townfolks and visitors. Mens Western apparel & work clothes Saddles and tack • Hardware • antiques

707 857-3463 21060 Geyserville Avenue


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Relax... Renew... Rejuvenate Walk-Ins Welcome Out Call Available Open Daily 10am - 8pm 239 Center Street, Ste. C Healdsburg • 707.433.6856


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Please check this proof carefully for errors and omisHand Painted Furniture sions. Your signature below constitutes acceptance of full responsibility all errors, omissions and legal and Barn for Fresh Collectibles ethical compliance in this document. Sonoma West Garden Decor, Rusty Relics… Publishers will not accept liability for errors overlooked at this stage of proofing. Any changes from your previously approved copy will be charged extra according to both time and materials. Advertiser agrees to pay appropriate rates and production costs as specified in the cur(707) 857-3509 rent rate card. All conditions of the latest rate card apply.

Massage Therapy, Aromatherapy Baths, Body Polishes, Body Wraps, Spa Facials, & Spa Parties


Complete Maintenance & Repair on Foreign & Domestic Cars & Trucks 707-857-3790 21310 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville

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NORTH COUNTY PROPERTIES Residential • Ranches • Acreage Wineries • Vineyards IN DOWNTOWN GEYSERVILLE


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RunStudio date: 5-29-14 Full Service Quilting Hundreds of Designs - Done in a Day! Returned approval due by: 5-2-14

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CALENDAR gifted at tuning in to ‘the other side,’ tells a wonderful ghost story, as she has for the last 10 years. Four events nightly but they sell out early. Details: Western Sonoma County Historical Society, OCTOBER 11-12, 18-19

Sonoma County Art Trails Open Studio Tour


11th Annual Pinot on the River

A full-immersion weekend for Pinot Noir lovers takes place in the Russian River Valley appellation that focuses on limitedproduction West Coast Pinot Noirs, combining tastings, seminars and tours with delicious food; winemaker dinner Friday, seminars and gala dinner on Saturday; Grand Tasting with cheese pairing on Sunday. Benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.


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You’ll meet many of Sonoma County’s finest artists during Sebastopol Center for the Arts’ new Sonoma County Art Trails Open Studio Tour. This juried program is a seasonal complement to the Art Center’s longstanding spring event, Art at the Source Open Studios. When you follow the blue signs, you’ll discover an amazing diversity of artists and “get a real sense of life as an artist – the funky (or not so funky) studio setting, the paint, the ink, the clay – all of the materials and tools that contribute to the glory of each successful piece of art,” said SCA executive director Linda Galletta. There are 162 artists on the trail, ranging from painters, potters, jewelers and glass artists to weavers, artisan leather and woodworkers, and the newly created category of digital arts. Preview exhibit, Sept. 26-Oct. 19, at SCA. Trail: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,


16th Annual Wine & Food Affair pend an autumn weekend in the beautiful Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys tasting wines paired with delicious dishes selected and prepared by participating wineries. Wine Road-Northern Sonoma County hosts this popular event. Ticket holders get a Wine Road Calendar, tasting glass and wristband upon check-in. You can create a custom, printable event map and itinerary and see the winery locations online. Admission price includes a cookbook and food and wine tasting. Designated drivers receive a discount. Advance-tickets go on sale September 1.



Valley Ford School House Pie Auction alley Ford chicken farmer and pie auction organizer Anna Erickson’s grandmother was among the children who went to school in the historic two-room Valley Ford School House that becomes the center of fundraising attention the Tuesday before Thanksgiving with dozens of homemade pies, young farmers and generations of families. Bid on pies of all kinds (for holiday desserts or devouring on the spot), listen to foot-stomping live music and engage in an evening of laughter and fun. “Fellow neighbor and farmer Nick Papadopolous will be our auctioneer. He is pretty hilarious and very good at heckling the crowd,” said Erickson. Funds raised will help restore and preserve the historic building that serves as the town’s community center. “They don’t make buildings like this anymore, and it plays a very important role in our community. It just needs some TLC,” said Anna. “The pie auction is great fun and the school house is a great building, so people should come and bring their friends.” 5:30 p.m. doors, 6:15 p.m. live auction starts. 14355 School Street, Valley Ford.



Fort Ross Harvest Festival

Celebrate autumn with apple harvesting, horse and wagon rides, seasonal fare and more. Also: Fort Ross-Seaview Winegrowers Association presents a four-course lunch with wine pairing on a bluff overlooking the ocean. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fort Ross State Historic Park, 19005 Coast Hwy. One, Jenner.


Fall Colors Festival and Vintage Car Show

This family-friendly event evokes nostalgia among residents, visitors and students. “It’s like a step back in time when things were simpler. People love the vibe and positive energy,” event chairman Cosette TrautmanScheiber said. “Because we’re so small we see a lot of the same people, and there’s a lot of laughter.” Early birds can eat breakfast starting at 7 a.m., served by firefighters. At 10 a.m. vendors show their crafts, and you can admire the cars lined along Geyserville Avenue. “People come from all over to show their classic cars in this competition, and attendees get to vote for their favorite car,” said Trautman-Schiber. Also: music, pumpkin contests, student-run activities, food booths with tri-tip, hot dogs, burgers and great Mexican food. Co-sponsored by the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce and Geyserville Kiwanis. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

WINDSOR We’re more than just a hardware store!

Proudly serving the Windsor Community since 1995 Ace has always been the helpful place, and backed by Garrett’s deep rooted history and experience in the hardware store industry (125 years in Healdsburg), we guarantee quality products and knowledgable, friendly customer service. From Fishing/Hunting licenses to a newly added Paint Studio and our full service nursery, we are your se local one-stop-shop!

Open 7 days a week to Serve You! 10540 Old Redwood Hwy in Windsor | 433-6590


Bodega Christmas Crafts Fair

Shop for crafts and holiday décor at this annual fundraiser for the town’s Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to 137 service calls in 2013. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. McCaughey Fire Hall, 17184 Bodega Hwy., Bodega. NOVEMBER 28-29

Festival of Trees

Get into the spirit of Christmas: seasonal decorations, warm drinks and holiday treats, high-quality handmade crafts, a gingerbread house, Santa Claus visits and more. 10 a.m.5 p.m. Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala. NOVEMBER 28-29

Geyserville Tree Lighting and Lighted Tractor Parade

The night begins with a tree dedication and lighting, followed by an unbelievably cool Lighted Tractor Parade. 5-8 p.m. NOVEMBER 29

Starcross Christmas Faire

Shop for extra-large, noble fir wreaths, sundried fruit trays, olive oil, crafts and more inside a 1902 country farmhouse. 6-8 p.m. Starcross Community, 34500 Annapolis Rd., Annapolis.




For a Wee Bit of Ireland in Wine Country... A traditional Irish pub with great food. 21 Beers on tap. Watch your favorite sporting events on our 12 Big Screen HD TVs. Open for Lunch, Dinner, Sat & Sun Brunch.

Best Fish & Chips in Town! 9057 Windsor Rd. • Windsor • 707-838-7821 Hours: Sun-Th 10am-11pm, Fri & Sat 10am-12am

fall 2014 +




SUNDAY Sebastopol Certified Farmers Market Downtown Plaza, McKinley St. at Petaluma Ave.; 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., year-round; 522-9305; Windsor Certified Farmers Market Windsor Town Green, 701 McClelland Blvd.; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April through December; 838-5947; TUESDAY Cloverdale Community Market & Exchange Downtown Cloverdale, 225 N. Cloverdale Blvd., in the lot next to Plank Coffee; 3-6 p.m., until the dark of winter; cloverdalefarmersmarket. com. Forestville Farmers Market Russian River Vineyards, 5700 Gravenstein Hwy North; 3 to 7 p.m., year-round; 887-3344; russianrivervineyards. com. WEDNESDAY Healdsburg Certified Farmers Market Purity/Cerri lot, North St., Healdsburg; 3:30 to 6 p.m., June through October; 431-1956; Santa Rosa Community Farmers Market Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building East Parking Lot, 1351 Maple Ave.; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year ‘round; 415-999-5635; Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd.; 8:30 a.m. to noon, year ‘round; 522-8629;


+ sonoma discoveries


The story of celebrated entertainer Fanny Brice, made famous by Barbra Streisand, star of both the film and original Broadway cast. 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. Hedda Gabler SEPTEMBER 18- OCTOBER 5

Bored by her aspiring-academic husband, Hedda Gabler foresees a life of tedious convention. Aided by her predatory confidante, she begins to manipulate the fates of those around her to devastating effect. Main Stage West, 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol. Oleanna SEPTEMBER 19 - OCTOBER 5

Carol drops by her professor’s office to get help with her class work; by the second meeting, she decided he has sexually harassed her. 8 p.m. Raven Theater Windsor, 195 Windsor River Rd., Windsor. Tapas: Eighth Annual New Short Play Festival SEPTEMBER 19 - OCTOBER 12

This locally written show showcases the community in an evening of new oneacts. Pegasus Theater Company, Rio Nido Lodge, 4444 Wood Rd., Rio Nido. The Addams Family OCT 10 - NOV 2, 2014

Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a young man her parents have never met. Everything will change for the whole family on the night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents. 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa.

THURSDAY Guerneville Evening Farmers Market Sonoma Nesting parking lot, next to Town Plaza; 3 to 7 p.m., May through September; 953-1104. Windsor Evening Farmers Market Windsor Town Green, Market St.; 5 to 8 p.m., June through August; 838-1320; FRIDAY Cloverdale Certified Farmers Market North Cloverdale Blvd. btwn. 1st and E. 2nd streets; 5:30 p.m. to dusk; May 30 through August;893-7211; Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market 3611 Bohemian Hwy., Occidental. 4 p.m. to dusk; June through October; 874-8478, SATURDAY Healdsburg Certified Farmers Market North St. at Vine St., Healdsburg; 9 a.m. to noon, May through November; 431-1956; Oakmont Farmers Market Oakmont at White Oak Dr., Santa Rosa; 9 a.m. to noon year ‘round; 538-7023. Santa Rosa Community Farmers Market Santa Rosa Veteran’s Building (outside), 1351 Maple Ave.; 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. year ‘round; 415999-5635; Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., year ‘round; 5228629;

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? OCTOBER 17, 18, 24, 25, MATINEES OCT 19, 26

Edward Albee’s classic drama examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike OCTOBER 23 - NOVEMBER 15

In this hilarious riff on Chekhov, middle-aged siblings bicker about the circumstances of their lives; enter a movie star sibling and her boy toy, a maid who can predict the future, and an aspiring actress. Main Stage West, 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol. River Time: The Musical OCTOBER 24-25

A ghost serves as the main character, assuming the role of historian for Rio Nido. When corporate invaders threaten to change the fun-loving hamlet into a shopping mall, the ghost joins up with antidevelopment forces to save the day. Pegasus Theater Company, Rio Nido Lodge, 4444 Wood Rd., Rio Nido. Jolly Juliana - An Original Melodrama & Holiday Vaudeville NOVEMBER 21 - DECEMBER 21

A delightful, heart-warming extravaganza commemorating the roots of American theatre. 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. The Game’s Afoot OCTOBER 17-19, 23-26, 31, NOVEMBER 2

Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! (And that’s just the first act!). Performing Arts Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. Check websites for times and tickets.

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1480 A Grove Street Healdsburg, CA 95448



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1345 Healdsburg Avenue at Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg (707) 433-7151 | Open Monday through Saturday 7am-9pm and Sunday 7am-8pm

Sonoma Discoveries Fall 2014  
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