Green Sharlene

The Promise of Spring

Spring is upon us and some exciting things are about to bloom at Dancing Tomato Caffé. It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, because…well, like everyone else, life gets in the way and I have a jam-packed schedule. But I feel very fortunate to be doing what we love and serving our guests fresh food and products sourced from local farms.  

One of the most exciting things on the horizon is our plan for the DTCulinary Garden. That’s right, we’re going to have our own garden right on the grounds of the Dancing Tomato Caffé! Living so close to America’s Farm to Fork capital—we’re only 40 miles from Sacramento—and being inspired by restaurants that have their own gardens, like The French Laundry and locally-operated Pasquini’s, I thought we should give it a go. The time is right to dig in and do a bit of culinary re-landscaping. It will be wonderful to source our own herbs and other ingredients fresh from our garden.

The idea of having our own culinary garden came about when we lived in Davis. My wonderful friend and mentor, the late Dorothy Peterson, started a Garden in the Classroom project that eventually became Davis Farm to School. Kevin and I played a part in developing composting at the schools and it’s been my dream to bring the Davis Farm to School model and healthy eating and composting to the Yuba-Sutter schools now that we live here. Our DTCulinary Garden will serve as a field trip destination where we hope to host second graders to start with, doing a tomato curriculum and harvesting garden goodies to build their own pizzas during the experience.

Over the years, I’ve cultivated relationships with local farmers and found that they’re eager to share their knowledge and what they’ve learned. They are happy to work with us and get their products in our entrees. This area is truly where so much of our food comes from, and it’s so exciting to see people catch on to the importance of eating fresh and local. I’m the first to admit I’m a complete beginner when it comes to farming, but I really can’t wait to get my hands dirty. I’m eager to learn the whole process and see how it all fits together, from the ground onto our plates.

We’ve sketched out the initial plan for the DTCulinary Garden, starting with herbs—and tomatoes of course. I can’t wait to break ground and turn the vision into a reality. We plan to make it beautiful and utilitarian and we’ll put a bench in the garden so it can be a little Zen space for our hardworking crew to take their breaks. It feels like the time is right to launch the next phase of the Dancing Tomato Caffé and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day.

Green Sharlene