We have planted lots of flowering plants that attract hummingbirds and now have a variety of different colored birds that visit the yard. We try to provide natural food for them instead of using a hummingbird feeder.
We visited the Hakone Gardens at the perfect time to see the cherry blossoms. A beautiful example of a Japanese garden.
This was definately “farm to table”, since we actually went to the farm. Artichokes are grown around Santa Cruz, and these were from the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. The aioli was made with rosemary and garlic confit. Tip: Garlic confit is a great thing to have on hand. We make it by slowly cooking garlic in oil on the stovetop at the lowest temperature possible, for about an hour, and then keeping it in the refrigerator for safe keeping
Photos we took at Everett Family Farm – a little known event venue near Santa Cruz. The farm is so beautiful in when the persimmon trees have turned orange – a small family wedding would be incredible here in the fall. They even do flower arrangements for weddings.
Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography.
One of the special things about living in the Santa Cruz area is the local seafood. Just past the town of Davenport, there is an abalone farm, American Abalone, that is open to the public on Saturday. It doesn’t get any fresher than picking out your own live abalone.
Ashby Confections creates custom chocolates for special occasions. They can tailor colors, designs and flavors to compliment the style of an event, and can even monogram the chocolates or do wine pairing. They are located in the Santa Cruz area, and work with other local producers such as Driscoll’s Berries and Beauregard Winery. We think the globes are especially elegant – pictured in this post is a banana ganache globe.
Update: Jen Ashby just told me that Ashby chocolates is moving to Scotts Valley and will soon be located at 16C Victor Square, near the Scotts Valley Market, and they are offering a 10% discount to all their Heather’s customers through the end of the year.
I know it sounds unbelievable, but we often have wine leftover. We also have a difficult time finding a decent wine vinegar, so I had the idea of making it out of the leftover wine. After all, how hard can it be?
We photographed some of the unusual roses at Roses of Yesterday & Today. These are the roses your grandmother would recognize, but are not as common today. We are fortunate to have this local grower who is preserving the heritage. It is a really lovely location and does allow an occasional wedding to take place there. They just need lots of advanced notice in order to make as many roses as possible bloom all at once – but wouldn’t that be a special occasion!
Best toffee ever!! No lie! I know that’s just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. This is what we decided was OMG toffee! Especially the white chocolate and macadamia nut. The toffee is handmade by Goose’s Goodies, a family candy maker in Santa Cruz.