(cont'd from A Girls Weekend in the San Fransisco Bay Area)
I know it's going to be a good day when breakfast is champagne and a cheese tray. After our indulgent evening at Ad Hoc we took our time laying around, munching, and (eventually) getting ready before heading out for wine tasting. Driving through Napa was incredible. In fact just thinking about it is making me ache for a trip somewhere so beautiful and lush.
Our first visit was Stags Leap (Robert Sinskey Vineyard). We ordered our tasting on the back patio and soaked up some sun. One of the nice things about this winery is the plate of small bites that come paired with your flight. Because clearly we can't go anywhere without eating...
Next we hit up Mumm Napa. This was a very different and lively experience compared to Stags Leap. We were in line behind this group of girls celebrating a bachelorette party. How sweet are they?!
A view to die for:
This is where things get foodie yet again. Sarah warned me I was going to be obsessed with Farmstead/Long Meadow Ranch, but I still wasn't prepared for how much. Our visit started inside the General Store. Cookbooks and canning supplies and a million other things that I desperately wanted to bring home. I settled for a few little Weck jars that I totally could order online but never do. They also let us sneak in an olive oil tasting before they closed. Confession: sipping straight olive oil is not something my palate is sophisticated enough for quite yet…
Next we moved over to the restaurant. It's housed in an old barn and their menu is farm-to-table mostly sourced from their own farms. We opted for the outside seating - comfy lounge chairs and plenty of space. I was also thrilled to finally see beer on a menu! We ordered a few appetizers and, as I've become accustomed to when I'm with Sarah, were treated to several more we didn't.
Grilled artichokes, steak tartare, kale salad, and oysters all before our actual dinner came. Then crab, shrimp, and salmon…all of the seafood was had.
Once it got dark, they lit the fire next to us and we stayed for a while talking and drinking. I think dessert may have been involved. An absolutely perfect dinner! Though I think I said the same about our dinner the previous night at Ad Hoc...
It was getting late, but Sarah really wanted us to see the actual town of St. Helena so we stopped into an upscale bar called Goose and Gander. We had some interesting cocktails and did a little late night window shopping before heading back to American Canyon.
Man, our lettuce was delicious this year! Black Seeded Simpson is a large leaf, bright green variety and it stayed very well in a container in the fridge. I could rinse it in cold water, roll it up in a tea towel and throw it in the fridge for a few hours, by which time it was crisp and drained and ready to go into a glass or plastic storage container for the week.
Sadly, it doesn't keep producing forever. After many hot days in a row and you pretending you don't see your lettuce getting taller and taller, you come home and that lettuce is about knee high.
Knee high by the Fourth of July, right?!
Wrong. That's corn, so stop fooling yourself. No, your lettuce has bolted and will start tasting oh so bitter. But don't be so sad, now it's time for the gift of heirloom seeds!
It took a stupid long time to find proper information about saving seeds from lettuce. And when I did find it, I excitedly told Matt the process. The extremely tall lettuce shoots will put up buds eventually! And flowers will open up and self-pollinate! Then they will close and the seeds will be ready!
He was honestly baffled that I didn't know this all along.
In hindsight it makes sense. Sure, with a tomato plant there is a bud and then the flower and then the tomato, and ultimately the seed inside. But lettuce just seemed like a totally different thing! For some reason it just didn't translate naturally in my head.
Now, how to actually harvest these seeds from the mature flower seems to be one of those wishy washy 'whatever feels right to you' kind of things.
One of the things that makes it especially difficult is that you will have seed heads in all different stages on the same plant. (Another difficult thing is that a deer may come by and eat the flowers off your lettuce shoots. But, I digress.)
Anyway, I have been waiting until there are a bunch that look like the one all the way to the right in the photo above, then snipping them off into bowl. Once I get inside my house, I sit down and spend some time grabbing the whispy white parts that are attached to seeds and yanking 'em out to place in another dish.
When it seems to be all done, I will look for some packets to store them in. My gut tells me this is probably the hard way to do things...so if you should happen to find someone with a better idea, please be sure to let me know.
It will take a little time for the seeds to be ready. So, I am going to use the seeds I already had for a fall planting and use these next year. I've heard they can be good for up to 5 years and there are so many they might just last that long!
This is my first attempt at seed saving and I just wanted to share that it is not as hard as it seems :) As always, TIPS AND KNOWLEDGE WELCOME! And you can see all of my beginner homesteading experiences here.
Hello, there! My name is Nikki Jones and this is a place for me to write about my travels, my urban homesteading adventures, and whatever else my little heart desires at a given moment. Like many personal-blog bloggers, there are times I write daily and long streteches I'm not inspired to write at all. And that's ok! At any rate, I'm glad you're here.