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February 08, 2006

Returning to the Piemonte

I reached the Alps: the soul within me burned
Italia, my Italia, at thy name:
And when from out of the mountain’s heart I came
And saw the land for which my life had yearned.
I laughed as one who some great prize has earned.
Oscar Wilde

Piemonte is slowly becoming mine. I am not only coming to understand the “how” of the Piemonte but I am beginning to appreciate the “why”.

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August 12, 2005

Nothing Prettier than a Farm by Tana Butler

Thank you, Chef Zadi, for your kindness and enthusiasm about my work, and for inviting me to participate in this wonderful and diverse community of voices.

2002highgroundhills_1_1FARMS AND ME
I started visiting and photographing farms for two chefs here in Santa Cruz, California, back in 1999. They were launching a new enterprise to take diners out into fields and orchards, to experience gourmet meals with the freshest possible produce, with a hidden agenda (such as it was) to connect farmers and food artisans with the public. The events were always incredibly picturesque, giving a different and pleasing spin on the usual "winemaker" dinners that take place in vineyards the world over. Who had ever exalted a farmer? Well, perhaps the Slow Food people, but their focus was not so specific. The farm dinners I photographed were eye-opening for me. I fell in love with farms, and I came to admire every farmer I encountered. They are an interesting group: some loquacious, some laconic, and almost all with college degrees.

When I resigned from the organization in January, I found myself longing to know what the farmers were up to...I confess I’d come to think of them as “my farmers.” I'd gone from a childhood in the suburbs of Georgia to being a full-fledged farmers market groupie. Happily, I live in what’s probably the single best farming community in the world. Though it is one-third the size of Fresno, with one-third the population, Santa Cruz leads the farming community with 30% more organic/sustainable farms than any other county in California. So, surrounded by this kind of treasure, it was natural that my path would lead me where it has.

Continue reading "Nothing Prettier than a Farm by Tana Butler" »

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