Kathleen Hill: A dinner you'll really dig
Let’s All Dig In is a benefit on Saturday, March 11, for the Sonoma School Garden Project. It's spearheaded as his senior project by Cardinal Newman High School student Michael Daly, whose mother uses school garden vegetables while cooking lunches in the school district.
Goals of the Sonoma School Garden Project include teaching students where food comes from, how it is grown, how to prepare food, how to nourish plants and themselves, aspects of science, English, math, and social skills, and introduce them to new vegetables and a clean healthy lifestyle.
All Sonoma Valley public school students get to participate in the 10 school gardens across the district. Many students have gone from elementary school gardens, to participating in middle school gardens, to enrolling in the agricultural program at Sonoma Valley High School.
Many gardens contribute to their school lunch programs, led by the district’s food manager Cody Williams. Some schools grow their own seedlings and donate seedlings to others, some schools hold on-campus farmers markets, and Altimira even sells vegetables at the Friday farmers market at Depot Park.
More than a dozen chefs will be contributing to the dinner including local talent from Glen Ellen Star, Saddles Steakhouse, Shiso, Epicurean Connection, Cafe la Hay, Ramekins, Renaissance Lodge, Crisp Bakeshop, Scandia Bakery, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Harvest Moon. Fabulous silent auction items will be up for bid. $75 includes two drink tickets. Saturday, March 11; 6 p.m. reception and silent auction, 7 p.m. dinner. All funds go to school gardens. Go to ramekins.com's Classes link, click on March 11 and go to Eventbrite for tickets.
Dan Noreen, sommelier and former proprietor of the Wine Exchange on First Street East, now holds nightly wine tasting sessions from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Lodge at Sonoma, as well as wine education events every Wednesday.
March 8 brings “syrahs and sirahs” by “the famous father and his upstart son.” Taste Irish whiskeys to brush up for St Patty’s Day on March 15. Try new spring sauvignon blancs on March 22, and classic bourbon whiskeys on March 29. Free. 1325 Broadway, Sonoma. 935-6600.
Beltane Pruning Party and Pig Roast
Last Saturday Beltane Ranch wine club members and other locals reported to the Beltane house for coffee, housemade scones, new rubber boots, long sleeve shirts, and new pruners, followed by a sloggy fun walk down to Beltane’s vineyards.
A creek divides the sauvignon blanc and zinfandel vineyards, and another unofficial stream surprised us running through the zin vines they trusted us amateurs to prune with professional teachers leading the way. Hence came part of the fun. My boots show dried mud five inches up the leg, and a couple of women landed on their keisters and laughed at the experience like a badge of honor.
Each team had a pro instructor and then nominated a team member to compete for a magnum of Beltane zin.
When we got down to the vineyard, chef Lauren Kirchner and friends, including Lupita Fernandez, a St. Francis Solano graduate, had been roasting the two suckling pigs over oak wood from a tree fallen on the property. Beans were cooking in a huge iron pot over another wood fire, and Evelia and Teresa Torres were rolling out, patting and pressing corn tortillas and cooking them over their own little fire, while Victor Torres supervised.