Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sundays In My City: #7 - The Apple Farm

Do you know Unknown Mami? She's awesome and she's started a fun Sunday theme inviting you to get out and take pictures of your city to share with the rest of us. Click here for details and her logo and click here to see Unknown Mami's City today.

This is one of my favorite places in the entire U. S. of A. The Apple Farm is in a sleepy Northern California town called Philo in the Anderson Valley, which is north of Napa Valley, about 120 miles from San Francisco.

Godson’s Mom and I have spent a couple of glorious weekends at The Apple Farm’s cooking school, tucked on the grounds of a stunning organic apple orchid. Our small “hands-on” classes produced some of the most amazing foods we’ve ever tasted-- All clean and fresh, mostly organic and locally raised, if not actually grown on the farm itself. I can honestly say, the food and the classes are a treat for your taste buds and your soul.

This sign greeted us as when we arrived. We knew we were in for a wonderful and relaxing time.


From Friday afternoon (in time to make dinner) through Sunday after brunch, we enjoyed a charming cabin tucked amongst the apple trees.
Cabins are spacious, cozy and inviting. This is one of the beds in the light filled cottage that also had a potbelly stove for the cooler nights. You'll sleep like a baby here.
And this is the outside of the cooking school building. It blends in with nature but behind it's doors... Oh the things you'll learn and the foods and wines you'll enjoy!
Below is the kitchen set for a casual breakfast on Saturday morning, complete with their homemade jams. It overflows with natural light and immediately became my "dream kitchen".
After breakfast we took a tour of the gorgeous grounds and their beautifully tended orchids and gardens. Below is a picture of a huge "potting shed" to die for!

We wound our way through the orchid smelling heirloom apples as we strolled. They have more than 1700 trees, some over 90 years old.

The farm is huge and the fog was just starting to clear on this morning.

Along the way we picked fava beans for the evening's dinner.

And we stopped and collected a few fresh eggs from here.
As we walked, we saw apples trees everywhere. But here-- the clearing with the low growth-- That was described as enough blackberries for a season of jams-- All made in the Farm's kitchen! Trust me, one taste and you'll think you're in heaven!

So naturally, when we returned to the kitchen we had to buy a few things to take home with us. Okay, we bought so much stuff it had to be shipped, but we've both used everything we purchased over and over again. And, we've reordered The Apple Farm's amazing jams and chutneys numerous times.

So about the amazing cooking classes-- It's all hands on and each step is carefully explained while you taste and sample as you go. Our small classes used many different recipes, techniques, ingredients and flavors and there was always time for plenty of questions and answers so we could actually reproduce the food at home-- And we have MANY times!

We made the most delicious goat cheese ever. Yes the goat milk came from the Farm's goats but no, we didn't have to do the milking ourselves. Phew.
We picked fresh baby yellow tomatoes from the kitchen's garden and, after marinating them in vodka, amongst other things, enjoyed them as a starter for dinner Saturday night.

We made a delicious curry chicken (perfect with their apricot chutney) with greens just picked from the garden.









And we dined outside for brunch under a beautiful arbor of foliage. It truly was a magical place with the kindest and most generous owners/teachers/hosts you could ever ask for.

Whether you're a gourmet or a microwave cook, a weekend at The Apple Farm will remind you what GREAT food tastes like and how easy and enjoyable it is to prepare.
Before we left, I shamelessly begged owners Sally and Don Schmitt and Karen and Tom Bates to adopt me. No luck. But I'm still working on them. We hope to return again in the spring. It's paradise and a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

And, since I'm gushing so much about The Apple Farm, please know that I am not being paid to sing their praises. The Schmitts and Bates are very special people with a great love for the land, people and good food. I hope you'll pay them a visit too.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna
Photo Credit: Godson's Mom

56 comments:

  1. Johanna
    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a weekend. I love all the pictures, the little cottages are amazing. Have a wonderful week!

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  2. I love that you can actually go outside in California. Next time I'm near Napa, I will make the trip to this beautiful place. You have a wonderful blog.

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  3. What a wonderful weekend! I love that not only did you get to enjoy a beautiful place, and great food, but you learned while you were there!

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  4. This was so wonderful to read and the photos were so pretty that I think it should be part of a book of grown-up bedtime stories. It's the best blend of comfy, cozy, colorful, cooking, comrades (ack! I got carried away)...but you know what I mean? It appeals to all the senses and those are the things I want to dream about at night.

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  5. The accommodations look comfortable and inviting; the stroll through the farm is beautiful; the beans look scrumptious, fresh eggs cannot be beat, the goat cheese makes me so hungry, but the blackberry garden and jars of blackberry jam give me a tug. I will have to go online and order the jam. It is my absolutely favorite. Joanna, you should have the jam as a giveaway!!!! These are great photos and your descriptions are warm and sincere and infectious. Thanks for the wonderful post.

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  6. I like my fava beans with a nice Chianti! LMAO!

    I would love to go there. It looks so inviting.

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  7. This place looks so amazing. I want to go right now! Man, I need to move to California. Everything looked so pretty and good! That fog was SO lovely. Your pictures were amazing. I felt like I was right there : ) Thanks for this wonderful post!

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  8. Now that is dang near perfect. I wonder if there's anything remotely similar in my neck of the woods... And the little cabin? Oh my goodness...

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  9. gorgeous post, Joanna, that place is like right out of a magazine, love the cottage where you stayed, I'd like to retire to one just like that!

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  10. So did you have a nice Chianti with those fava beans?

    Oh, Joanna! That post was gorgeous! Thank you so much for the amazing photos and commentary. You DO know that I am jonesing to go with you next time, right? Seriously.

    In the meantime, I am flying back to upstate NY on October 9th for a week and will be making my way to Green Brother's Apple Hills Orchard while I'm there. (http://www.applehills.com/index2.htm) It's not the same, but it's breathtaking perched up in the hills near the airport overlooking all the brilliant foliage. I hear the autumn leaves are turning early this year because of all the rain they've had this summer, so I expect to be there at the peak of the season. I'll think of you!

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  11. Oh, I see Otin beat me to the punch on the fava bean comment. Shoot. I thought I was so original.

    Thanks Otin.

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  15. Sounds like you had a wonderful, fun filled, "belly filled" weekend.The place looks lovely.

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  16. This sounds and looks like a great way to spend a weekend. Your photos are wonderful and I'll bet your cooking had taken on a new look too. What a great memory. THank you for sharing it. :)

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  17. Cooking is one thing I don't have time to do, but, I think I would really enjoy it if I had the time. I'd need many, many lessons, though.

    It sounds like a yummy weekend in amazing surroundings.

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  18. Thanks for this lovely, nostalgic visit! There's something so nourishing about cooking with the food you've selected from a farm - cooking with it, and knowing its wholesome origin. Yesterday, here in St. Joseph, we visited the outdoor Farmer's Market that's set up weekly at the edge of town, overlooking Lake Michigan. Can't wait to use the beefsteak tomatoes we bagged!

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  19. As "cliche" as this may sound you just documented what America is too me. It is about finding a passion and giving it back for others to enjoy. The mere simplicity of an "apple" gave way to a place you treasure---what an awesome way to rediscover how great life truly is. Great posts and wonderful pics!

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  20. what a cool place. would love to stay on a farm like that some time. we are going to one next weekend to pick apples. there is just something about food right off the vine or out of the ground. hapy sunday friend.

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  21. Sure looks like a great place to visit. You have such a nice way of presenting your town. Thanks.

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  22. Oh my I want to live there year round! thats just beautiful!! I love the bed inside the cottage..seriously what you just posted is totally what I think of and miss the most about the U.S...you made my day:O) Happy Sunday!

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  23. This is like something out of a movie!! I wish I were there.

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  24. What a great getaway! You can learn something and relax......and eat good food! Must have been so much fun.
    I wish I could visit the Apple Farm, but it´s a nice dream.... :)

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  25. Beautiful! That looks like so much fun. I had no idea it existed & it is not far from my home. Must check it out.

    JHS
    Colloquium

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  26. Looks and sounds like great fun! I'm at home, listening to peaceful music, and getting ready to make strawberry pancakes. Take care.

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  27. what a wonderful weekend getaway! I'll have to look into that down the road; thanks for sharing it with us :)

    betty

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  28. Sounds like a lovely place to be, and to continue going to, I loved the cottage..oh I could sleep in there.

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  29. I really want to go. I love fava beans, I don't think we eat enough fava beans. My husband makes a brown rice salad with them that is unbelievable.

    Great pictures. Did you send them a link to this post? I'm sure they would love to see it.

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  30. Umm, go back immediately and steal that sign. You know whose kitchen it would look fabu in, don't you?

    I cannot believe you went there, had such a great time and still, still it had to be all about you. You couldn't bother to stop and steal that sign for your Snarky Sister???

    What is wrong with you??? That's it, we're done.

    Your Used To Be Snarky Sister.

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  31. I am so jealous!!! I spent the afternoon at my granddaughters sixth birthday party. Lots a pink and little squealy girls.

    You have a blessed Sunday!!!

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  32. I stayed at a place in that area called The Apple Farm Inn about 10 or 12 years ago...it was wonderful. The rooms were very flowery and ruffly. I have a wooden apple on my desk right now that was from a gift basket in the room. A very fun and enticing post.

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  33. what a neat place. that seems so special. thanks so much for the wonderful tour.

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  34. How awesome! That cottage is wonderful and the whole concept is great. I would love to visit there. It looks great!

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  35. What an awesome and interesting post! Thanks for sharing!

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  36. I'm exceedingly jealous! What a fantastic weekend and a beautiful place.

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  37. I had no idea about this place before today. Thanks for all the eye candy! Hope your weekend was wonderful!

    Hugs!!

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  38. This place looks fantastic, Joanna, what a lovely way to spend a weekend in the countryside with a good friend.

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  39. How is it that I'm a NorCal native and have never heard of Philo?!? It looks adorable! Can I come with you to the cooking school next time? I'm due for a lesson. :)

    ~Keri

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  40. This sounds like my kind of place. Do you think next time I can sneak in your suitcase?! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful place. Enjoy your golden day my friend! xoxo

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  41. That was such a beautiful review! I really DO want to go there, it sounds like a little spot of Heaven on Earth! As I was reading, I was picturing myself and my mom taking a "girls only" mini-vacation there!

    Hi, Joanna! I've missed you (well, and my computer in general, but mainly because I missed my online buddies)!

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  42. Oooh what a yummy place.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the pictures.

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  43. This sounds heavenly and it's one of the things that I miss because of living on a small island - that ability to just nip off for a quiet weekend somewhere entirely different. Those little cabins look gorgeous!

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  44. what a wonderful retreat. I felt like I was there with you two!

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  45. Wow, wow, wow!

    I want to live there? Shame they're not adopting... ;-9

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  46. What a wonderful place!
    I do understand why you loved it so much. Good luck on the adoption;-)

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  47. what a dreamy little place, like a little piece of heaven. I would love to go there! thanks for sharing i :) xxx ooo

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  48. That looks like an amazing place.

    I go to a similar country place that holds cooking lessons and/or demonstrations in New Milford CT. Unfortunately, they don't have cabins which would be great. I hate that I have to leave right after the class.

    Btw, I got my More magazine and thought of you, when is your next article going to be online?

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  49. That place looks perfect! I was love to go there.

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  50. How absolutely perfect!

    I'd love to visit there. :)

    Thanks for sharing! :)

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  51. What a wonderful and yummy place to spend an Autumn weekend! Thanks for sharing!

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  52. This sounds like such a divine getaway... I sent the link (and your blog "review" post) to my sis, who lives south of San Fran. Maybe next time I go out there...

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  53. Oh my gosh! What a wonderful-sounding place. I would go there simply for that bed and the blackberry jam!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing about The Apple farm and showing us your beautiful photographs!

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Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it.