I am writing this blog because I’d like to share my experience and passion for gardening, cooking and eating with you.
I am a certified California Master Gardener and gardened (ornamental and veggies) in Oakland for 28 years. 11 years ago we purchased land and a weekend escape home in Fort Bragg, CA. And, just over 3 years ago we retired, sold our Oakland home, and moved up the to the coast full time. We live in a sunny clearing the middle of a redwood forest. We have several raised beds for vegetables and large island beds for flowers. The property came with mature rhododendrons, some of them now over 8 feet high. I look forward to them blooming each spring. I have been involved with the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens since we purchased the property in Fort Bragg and two years ago I was honored to join the Board. It’s an amazing botanical garden; I encourage you to visit if you ever come to the North coast of California.
Both sides of my family have always gardened, although I didn’t discover my own passion until we purchased our first home 30 years ago. I have fond memories of playing as a child in my grandparent’s large garden outside London. Each spring I grow sweet peas in memory and honor of my grandmother. Their scent is my direct connection to her. In Florida my father had a large plot on an empty lot next to the house. After I moved to the West coast in my late 20s, he always waited until I flew home at Christmas to let me help dig the potatoes. It seemed like a treasure hunt. I recommend growing potatoes to anyone with small children.
As for cooking, my English born mother was educated in France, studied at the Cordon Bleu and took classes from Julia Child. She is my muse and mentor. In her 50s she started and ran a successful traditional French cooking school. I learned by watching, being her sous chef, and eventually teaching classes with her. I love to cook for family and friends. And although I am comfortable cooking classical French food, I find that I prefer simple, fresh and seasonal recipes using produce from my own garden or the farmer’s market.
My crooked career path has taken me from the microbiology lab into biotech, where I worked for both U.S. and international companies. Extensive travel was often part of the job. But even with a busy schedule, I have managed to grow a few varieties of fresh vegetables in my kitchen garden. Sometimes an hour a week was all I had between spending time with my family, attending my son’s sporting events, and catching up on household chores. I have some tips which might be helpful to you in starting even a tiny garden. Here as you’ll find ideas for fun and stress free cooking, eating, and entertaining. I invite you along on the journey.
I am married and live with my husband and three active Australian Shepherds; Casey, Quinn, and Shanna (also called the ladies).