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Wine Country Blog: Innsights to the Wine Country

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Sonoma county Rainbow

We are hearing people lamenting summer soon being over...but in California and in particular in Sonoma County we still have at least 2 more months of summer AND IT IS PACKED FULL!  We got our first hint of fall the other night when we actually had some clouds in the sky (the remains of some storm from the southland that got pulled in) and we were all out in awe of the beautiful sunset...sunny skies and perfect weather every day gets kind of boring, you know. Take a look at this picture of gorgeousness our lead Concierge, Anna, took the other night.


Julie, Farmhouse Inn concierge

A guest post from Julie,
Romance expert and star concierge at Farmhouse Inn!  

"I don’t normally like to write....unless it’s something I am passionate about...and romance is one thing I am most passionate about.

I came to Farmhouse Inn last year to help shoot a video for the their new website.  By the time the video was finished I fell in love with the people, the property, and most of all the great care they take of their guests.  It seems no request is too great and the romance of the wine country is threaded through everything they say and do. I found this hidden gem hidden away just minutes from my Healdsburg home and so wanted to be a part of their great team and share the philosophy of the Inn....they hired me four days later to join their Concierge team.  By the way, if you haven't seen it here is the Farmhouse video and you can find me in a few of the shots if you are looking...


In a world sometimes full of doom and gloom – the Farmhouse Inn is full of smiling faces and wonderful people.   Each and every guest that I speak to on the phone or have the pleasure to meet in person makes me smile.  They seem so happy and are excited and eager to spend their wine country vacation or special celebration with us here at the Farmhouse.

Being able to assist guests with their itinerary is probably the most fun and rewarding part of my job.  Sonoma County is such an amazing place to live and  we love to share it's charms with our guests. I am a hopeless romantic and want each and every person that visits with us to leave here with the very best experience possible.


Farmhouse Inn Fourth of July

In case you don't know, Farmhouse Inn sits right in the middle of the Russian River Valley and the wine country, almost smack in the middle of the large and very diverse Sonoma County (the size of Rhode Island, actually).  You would think we are all about the vineyards and wineries- BUT the Independence Day holiday brings out the patriotism in all of us.  What is it about the Fourth that brings out the old-fashioned, family-style celebrations that Sonoma County excels in?


Anna, Farmhouse concierge

Farmhouse Inn Lead Concierge,
Anna McPeck chases down the
wild and wonderful new food
(and drink?) offerings in
Sonoma Wine Country.


That's our Anna...

Thanks to Sonoma County’s temperate Mediterranean climate, the area has long been a haven for farmers, vintners, and chowhounds alike. Summertime is the season chefs look forward to most; when produce everywhere is lush and plentiful and when some of their favorite fruits and vegetables to cook with come into their prime. It is officially summer and Sonoma County chefs, residents and visitors all have a lot to be excited about in the delicious world of food and wine. Freshness is all around us here in Sonoma from the guy standing on the corner selling his cherry crop, to the little farmstands sprinkled around the county, to the amazing of Farmer's Markets (remember, there is one somewhere in the county every single day of the week except Monday)!  Truly, truly we do not need the grocery store this time of year. 

  The Farmhouse Concierge team is super excited about the number of great new restaurants popping up around town!  (We get to try them first, you see...) 

Scopa restaurateur, Ari Rosen, has just opened the doors to his new hot spot, Campo Fina, just a block off the square on Healdsburg Avenue. Scopa’s overwhelming and loyal following gave Rosen the incentive to expand and try something a little different with Campo Fina.
Heather Irwin's blog "biteclubeats" was all about them opening today. Here's a couple of her pictures to whet your appetite.


Their back patio features a beautiful new outdoor bar and bocce court and you can expect the great standard of food you’ve experienced at Scopa, presented in a small plates format.  We have been a couple of times already and love the new space and the menu is amazing.

Speaking of awesome back patios,  our already favorite Diavola Pizzeria just opened a great enclosed back patio addition to their little hamlet up in Geyserville. Check it out!  Open for lunch and dinner --we are all about outdoor dining these days.         

Another scoop from the Farmhouse with a quick explanation on the Zagat blog...Zazu on the river has  just opened at Davis Family Vineyards. Beloved lunch spot, Bovolo, is no more, but John and Duskie from Zazu are replacing it with this new venture. 
And while details are still a bit mysterious about what exactly is going to become of the old Ravenous Café, we know that it has been purchased by Stark Restaurants, and Bite Club Eats posits that it may be turned into a Spanish/Greek style tapas restaurant. No matter what the outcome, we are excited for a new Stark restaurant in Sonoma County!

So where do the talented chefs of Sonoma County get ahold of all the great produce that they use to create their wonderful Wine Country Cuisine? They build great networks with all of our local farmers.
Take for instance, our very own Executive Chef Steve Litke. Wednesday is his preparation day for the Farmhouse Restaurant and getting to work on Wednesdays takes him a good two hours. That’s because he is stopping at farms all along the way to work to pick up the fresh ingredients he will be using. One stop is at his neighbor’s farm, La Bonne Terre. Owners Mary & Bert Villemaire are like a second set of parents to our chef and are staple farmers in the Healdsburg community, a permanent fixture at the popular Healdsburg Farmer’s Market (a stop our chef makes every Saturday morning). He can be found sorting through baskets of Favas, snap peas or tomatillos at Tierra Vegetables, a beautiful organic farm stand located in North Santa Rosa.

Or on his days off you might hear him on the phone with Charmoon, owner of Wild About Mushrooms, his go-to guy for all things fungi,
or perhaps he will be chatting with Bryan at Mix Garden, figuring out his order of micro-greens and beets. All of these relationships come together in the beautiful plates his kitchen team brings to you in the restaurant each night. 
 It’s great to know about these close-knit ties between chefs and farmers, but what about some hands on experiences you can partake in yourself? One of the biggest draws to West Sonoma County is the amazing cheese we produce in this area. The Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail is a great resource for planning a visit to some of the wonderful dairies and creameries making world class cheeses in our backyard

Many of these multi-generational Sonoma and Marin county families have been producing on family farms for years. A few are open to the public – Marin French Cheese Company and Cowgirl Creamery, for instance, and a few are open by appointment only (Achadina & Pug’s Leap), while some are simply too small and too busy to host the public. One particularly unique and exciting opportunity is The Fork Culinary Center at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Here they offer hands on cooking classes and demonstrations.

And while you’re down that way trying all our Sonoma decadent cheese, why not go the extra mile and indulge in a picnic with some oysters too at one of our local favorites, Hog Island Oyster Company? They even give you a video guide on how to shuck an oyster, in case you aren’t a pro yet.

Whatever your reasons are for visiting Sonoma County, the food and agriculture (and wine) here is sure to enhance your experience. We hope you’ll enjoy some of this fun foodie news and some of our own local favorites on your next visit to the Sonoma Wine Country. 


Lagu-mini Amphitheater-ette

This is the time of year that we all get to play tourist in the wine country.  Summertime in Sonoma just has so much going on.  Art shows, farmer's markets and garden tours, festivals and celebrations of all things Sonoma, and then all the normal, all the time winery stuff going on (Passport to Pinot, anyone?).  Just can't cover it all in one blog post.  So this week's feature- the music venues going on all summer.

Right now one of the biggest (longest) events is the 10-day Healdsburg Jazz Festival going on right now in Healdsburg- check out the schedule - it closes June 10th. 

If you work it right this weekend you can take in the Beerfest in Santa Rosa on Saturday, sneak in to a couple of the artists studios at the West Sonoma County's Art at the Source open studio tours and still fit in some of the Jazz events in Healdsburg.  The Summer Concert Series in the Healdsburg plaza started this last Tuesday.  June 12th- Gator Beat and Zydeco-  listen up - mark it on your calendar!  Always manage to see them at least once sometime during the season.  Everybody dance!!

This acting like a tourist can be exhausting...I don't know how our guests at Farmhouse Inn do it. 

The Krush backyard free concerts started last week and this week features the Comatose Brothers (what a name for a band) .  It's that time of year when you just pull up a piece of grassy lawn and kick back- sometimes a lazy summer afternoon and sometimes under the stars. There is some kind of music event going on every single day of the week and a lot of them free. 


Erin, Farmhouse concierge

I would like to introduce you to our newest concierge.  Erin Hartman is a recent addition to the Farmhouse Inn concierge team.  She came to us with some inn and hotel experience but was a little amazed about the layers of service and luxury offered here at Farmhouse Inn and how much planning goes into the personalized itineraries we set up for our guests and their perfect wine country vacation. I asked her for a contribution for this week's Wine Country Blog so here's Erin... and thoughts about her new position.

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