Monday, October 30, 2006

Local "drugs"

I know that several times before that I have waxed poetic about the crack cheese. No more. It has been replaced with a much more local source.

The Pierce Pt. and the Mt. Tam

Yep, that's right. Cowgirl Creamery. Appreciating food and all that I do, it's not like I have not heard of these folks. I have just been avoiding them because I was sure that they would become my new addiction.

How did this all start, you ask? Well, I blame Cookiecrumb. She mentioned the Pt. Reyes Farmers Market on her blog and it got me to thinking. As it turns out, it's only an hour's drive away. And such a lovely drive it is.

So Saturday morning, I awoke at 6 a.m. and watched the previous nights episodes of "Law and Order" and "Numb3rs." Oh yeah. And I fed the cats because Boris was howling as soon as I woke up. By 9 I knew it was time to get dressed and to hit the road. Along the way I saw all these trees changing colors and thought of Neil. I would have taken a picture but I also did not want to wreck my car. Now that I'm a little more familiar with the route, next time I may pull over to take some photos for the poor guy since he is desperately missing autumn.

The cheese was not the first of my finds at the market though. The first thing I found were these wonderful jellies and jams from The Wild Pear Co. I sampled them all. I need them all.

Jalapeno and Garlic Jelly

The woman tried to warn me that this would be spicy. Pah! I have eaten olives stuffed with habanero strips. The spice of the jelly was near the end but it was pleasant. I got a jar for my dad. Next Saturday is the last day of the market for this season. I asked where I could find these wonderful goods the rest of the year. The answer? The best selection can be found at Cowgirl Creamery. Coincidence, you think? I think not. I foresee many trips to Tomales in the future. Although I can also email her to get more. We also talked about Berkeley because as it turns out her sister lives in Berkeley. She has been invited to the Oakland market but is not sure if she should do so. It would be nice if I didn't have to drive so far but I loved it all so much that I am willing to drive for it.

Next was honey tasting. I wanted them all. The problem is that payday is not until Tuesday. I knew I was limited to two selections so after a couple of tastings, I narrowed down my choices.

Wildflower Honey and Lavendar Honey

I have her card and so now have the address of the Beekind shop in Sepastapol -- another town I really should visit more often. When I return next week, I will complete my collection. She has a wonderful honey that comes from tree sap. It has hints of chocolate and coffee in the flavor. Oh, and there were creams including a raspberry flavored one. And beeswax candles. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

After making my purchases, I hit the road. As I hit the northern end of Pt. Reyes Station, I looked at the sign. One way pointed to Petaluma, the other to points north. It was only 12:30 and so I headed north because I decided that it had been some time since I had seen the Pacific. Driving along Tomales Bay was wonderful but it still wasn't the ocean. Neither is Bodega Bay. Finally north of Bodega, I saw the Pacific.

Carmet Beach

The strange thing about driving along this stretch of 1 is that on one side of the road you see cows grazing in fields and on the other you see the ocean. I never really thought this was strange until several years ago when a friend came to visit from Virginia. She loved how in the drive from San Francisco up to Bodega Bay via the Napa Valley everything looked so different.

Finally I hit the Jenner area and figured I should head back south before I suddenly found myself in Mendocino -- another weekend. It's been years since I have driven through Monte Rio, Guerneville, etc. Too many years. These towns are so close that I really should do it more often. And on the way home, I realized that this was all possible because I had not been out until 5 a.m. the previous night. When I lived in Virginia, I regularly took drives like this to relax. I think it's time to add more days like Saturday into my life again. For many reasons.

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