Chef's Blog

Solage Calistoga's Executive Chef Brandon Sharp shares his passion for cooking, life and all things Napa Valley.

Another rainy day in Calistoga, but allegedly the sun’ll come out tomorrow and stay out for the week. We have rows and rows of the finest fava virtuosos pictured here, looking at the hoop house where gardener Greg Goodman will start the seedling for our tomatoes, and then in the other direction out across the vineyards toward the Mayacamas Mountains. We’ll use the fava beans and leaves in the restaurant, of course, but they are also planted to help fix nitrogen in the soil so we don’t deplete all the nutrients with one crop of tomatoes. Other plantings will include padron peppers, kale, spinach, kabocha squash, baby collard greens, and a top-secret plant that I haven’t seen, nor has any other farmer I’ve asked, since I was in the Hudson Valley ten years ago. Greg spent the last year gardening in Italy, and was in Maine for two years before that at a restaurant/garden operation whose name sounded v. difficult to spell when he told it to me. Juelle Fisher of Fisher Vineyards has been very generous with her time and space in this project, and we’ll be holding al fresco dinners (hoedowns?) at the barn on the property.

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