[Orchard at Farmstead, St. Helena, CA]
Combining a demonstration farm, edible landscaping and adaptive re-use of a historic barn, Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena, CA is a well-planned farm-to-table restaurant, taking full advantage of its location in the heart of rural wine country. The demonstration farm was what first caught my eye, as it is located along the highway, and announces the restaurant's presence. A curving path leads a visitor past rows of vegetables, flowers and herbs, each labeled with common and scientific names, and a brief narrative. The farm in all is probably about a quarter-acre, and according to the waitress, serves more as a demonstration farm than a source for the kitchen. Open to the public, and adjacent to a small orchard/picnic area, the demonstration farm feels bigger than it is. Wandering the rows of produce, glimpsing the food nestled amongst the leaves brought to mind the Zen gardens designed to slow a visitor down, to put them in the right frame of mind to enjoy the tea ceremony ritual - only in this case it might be the right frame of mind to appreciate the heirloom tomatoes, new potatoes and dandelion greens soon to be served on your plate.
[View of farm gardens to road]
[Detail - labels in the kitchen garden]