Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Scenes from a Summer Garden

Summer was slow to start while Mother Nature decided that northern California needed an extra dousing of rain. Despite the late start and the occasional heat wave, the summer growing season has been generous and should extend into early fall. Most summer mornings find Cynthia Sandberg tending to the organic vegetables that David Kinch will prepare for the evening’s dinner service at Manresa. In an exclusive arrangement with Love Apple Farm, Cynthia and David are collaborating on a French-style kitchen garden in a sunny valley in the town of Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Nationally known for the myriad varieties of heirloom tomatoes she grows Cynthia, the proprietor of Love Apple Farm, has dedicated her two-acre farm to growing fruit, vegetables and herbs exclusively for Manresa. The organic produce has been grown to David’s specifications, while Cynthia adds vegetable plants that she intuitively knows that David will like. She is an articulate, intelligent farmer and manages her farm with a dedication to quality. They both share a vision of impeccable vegetables produced in the biodynamic manner and together they have forged a dynamic relationship between restaurant and farm, chef and farmer. Honey-producing bees, goats and sheep, egg-laying hens and even a pot-bellied pig live together in harmony, while a vintage farm house and an eye-popping dahlia garden all contribute to the arcadian landscape. Love Apple Farm will produce fresh, organic vegetables for Manresa year-round, and as summer progresses to fall, the farm will supply cold-weather vegetables and the root vegetables that David favors for his fall and winter menus.