Last Friday the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural Farm to Fork Progressive Food and Wine Tour. The tour was a multi-location food and wine extravaganza of some of the best things the area has to offer. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund for local high-schoolers. I donated some of my images to be used for promotion of the event and they were nice enough to invite me along for the day. At right is the brochure for the event with some of my work. It was a delightful, hot, whirlwind day (filled with lots of cool swag), here are a few of the highlights...
A breakfast of bacon wrapped fig strata, quinoa with apples, roasted rosemary potatoes and chimichuri at the Pioneer Museum was the way the group of 100-plus people were welcomed to the tour. We then boarded buses and headed off to our first stop, Windrose Farm in Creston. Once there we were treated with chipotle and heirloom tomato bloody mary's made with a local grape-based Re:Fined vodka. In my book it doesn't get much better than this. Then, bloody marys in hand, we were given a tour of the farm by owner Barbara Spencer. Windrose is an organic, bio-dynamic marvel, growing more than 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, apples, squash, peppers, and almost anything else one can imagine. After the tour the group sat down for a tomato tasting and some lemonade, then on to our next stop...almost.
I won't get into the details, but there were some bus issues that caused some very uncomfortable time in the sun. Luckily there was a bottle of water in my goodie bag and my bloody mary was still in effect. Once a new bus arrived to take us to our next stop we were in business again. The second stop, Windfall Farm, was the apex of the tour. A cooking demonstration by cookbook author Brigit Binns while sitting on bales of hay and sipping J Lohr Viogner was just what I needed after the bus debacle. Even better, we all got a copy of the cookbook which I've been eyeing in local shops for weeks.
Binns demoed the food which we were to be served later, a pear and fennel salad and a braised short rib with creamy polenta, yum! The wine continued to flow as we moved onto communal tables for lunch. I moved on to some Petit Syrah to pair with my short rib and stopped to stroll through the spectacular foaling barn near where lunch was being served. The group was mostly women and I had a very diverse, interesting bunch of ladies at my table. After lunch it was time to grab a bottle of J Lohr's premium Hilltop Cabernet, and proceed to our final stop, Pasolivo for a little something sweet.
A tour of the olive orchard, followed by an olive oil tasting were a nice way to round out the day. I enjoyed some local Leo Leo strawberry gelato in the shade, and the tour was complete. Such a fun day surrounded by people who are doing truly impressive things with their resources. I am so proud to have become a part of the Paso Robles food and wine community over the past couple of years and it brings joy to see good, hard working people thrive.