My cousin Eva Sommaripa is an innovative market gardener. She has been at it for about 30 years and her farm is always a real pleasure to visit. When Chico and I were there recently, we both had a blast. Chico met a dog he really liked and I got to garden with my cousin.
At Eva’s garden here’s something like 8 acres under cultivation, mostly in herbs and greens. Eva is a wildcrafter, a barterer, a creative cook, and the leader of a merry band of farmers, pickers and packers. She knows 101 uses for everything she grows or picks from the wild and when she describes ingredients to chefs, her passion for plants and food comes through as an irresistible sales pitch. Once Eva has told you all the things you can do with juniper berries (believe me, gin is just the beginning), it is just about impossible to say “no” to a few pounds of them.
There is also a large field, surrounded by 10 or 12 foot tall fencing to keep deer out. It has rows of greens and herbs and tunnels, high and low, protecting cool weather crops that produce for much of the winter.
My pictures barely begin to show what’s going on there, so here’s a short video that shows the garden and gives some history of Eva and her garden. And here’s a blog post about Eva, chef Didi Emmons, and Wild Flavors – the cookbook that Didi wrote about cooking from Eva’s garden. And if you’re thinking this post is a bit off-topic, remember that Eva’s garden is where Chico and Mozzie played.