Posts in Vintage Garden Gal Reviews
Alice Waters at Chino's Farm

We all came to get a glimpse of pioneer, visionary, advocate, and chef Alice Waters, and join in the celebration of her new book, 40 Years of Chez Panisse. It was held at the Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe on Sunday, December 11, 2011. Chino Farm is owned and still farmed by the Japanese immigrant Chino family since 1952. Nearly fifty acres in size, the family has an outstanding reputation for raising select seasonal fruit and vegetables, highly sought after by the general public and talented restaurant chefs alike.

Alice Waters has had a special and enduring relationship with the Chino family and farm over four decades, early on buying weekly seasonal produce for her acclaimed restaurant, Chez Panisse. It was fitting that she would be signing her new book at San Diego's most famous farm stand.

Just as our culture had Steve Jobs with his visionary genius in technology, we have had Alice Waters with her visionary genius of sustainable food, and the first to tell us that farm-to-table and eating locally is the best choice in our food. Her message has remained the same, you reap the most taste from your food, not necessarily by how it is cooked or prepared, but how it is grown and harvested in relation to its optimum environment.

40 Years of Chez Panisse is organized by decade and is a true retrospective of Alice's  famous restaurant, Chez Panisse. This is not a cookbook. Instead, it is a readable and fascinating personal tribute of the four decades that Alice Waters and Chez Panisse has served as a beacon of great food and sustainable farming practices, with the help of her many friends that have shared this journey with her. Thank you Alice Waters.

The Chino Farm is located at 6123 Calzada del Bosque, Del Mar, CA 92014. Call for hours, (tel) (858) 756-3184.

Please share if you have been to Chez Panisse. Please share how you have been influenced and inspired by Alice Waters.

Holiday Gifts for the Gardener

Wearing Dianne B. Garden Shoes at DDM Harvest 2009 Best Garden Boots from The Best @ Dianne B. Garden Boots. Tired of the standard Wellies? My dear friend, Debra Prinzing had the skinny when I asked about her great gardening shoes. She was right. These Panther Print Garden Boots ($74) are garden chic, comfortable, and durable. Did I say French, too? I always get compliments on them. Boots are also available in Olive Green ($64). Tip: I ordered a whole size larger, than my normal shoe size.

French Woven Baskets by The French Basketeer. Beautiful, authentic French baskets and totes. Prices vary by different shapes and sizes. They are beautiful! Available online, and Sundays 9am-1pm at the Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market.

Books! My dear  friend, cookbook author, and speaker, Carole Bloom, has another hit with her new book, Intensely Chocolate. More on Carole, and her new chocolate cookbook next month, as I must share with you her "Milk Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bar" recipe that I recently made!  Edible landscaping pioneer, Roslind Creasy has a "hot" new book out, Edible Landscaping, pushing us to continue to explore the endless possibilities of edible and garden together.  I also recommend many more incredible books on VintageGardenGal's home page, right side bar!

Cobra Head Weeder & Cultivating Tool. My dear friend, Anneliese Valdes, and her family out of Wisconsin, make a wonderful must-have gardener's tool, The Cobra Head ($24.95). Created by her father, the Cobra Head concept was invented from a five-tined old fashion cultivator. I use my Cobra Head all the time. It is easy on your hands and wrist, and glides through soil. Check out other fine products for gardeners on their website, Cobra Head.

Zingerman's Olive Oil Food Club. ($125.00). Most gardeners are terrific cooks. What better gift for them than rare olive oils from around the world. Think spring mesclun salads, roasted home-grown vegetables, and dipping with artisan fresh-baked bread. Zingerman's Rare Olive Oil Food Club. Coined "Best Food Club" by the Wall Street Journal in 2007. You have the option of different monthly installments.

Succulents Galore. Author, speaker, and painter,Debra Lee Baldwin, has opened an online store, Debra Lee Baldwin with "everything succulents" from key chains to mouse pads, to her paintings. We all need to add a few more succulents in our life!

Garden Gifts For The Holidays

Nuccio's Bella Rossa Camellia, Photo Courtesy of Monrovia Giving a gift is really an art. Match your gift with who is actually receiving this gift, taking into consideration some of their interests, hobbies, favorites, colors, and personality. Here are some "garden gift" suggestions for the gardeners in your life.

A Rain Barrel. Give a gift that is green, an urn that collects rain water. Gardener's Supply Company has several types of urns and sizes to chose from. Terra Cotta Urn, Flat-Back Rain Barrel and English Rain Barrels

A Chic Farmer's Market Bag.Check out eco-chic Harlow Bags. Choose from multiple colors and designs, all which are named after a Hollywood legend of the past, Audrey, Ava, Katherine, and more. Each style comes in three different sizes--tote, grocery, and farmer's market. Who says one can't be stylish buying fresh fruit and vegetables at your local farmer's market.

Gardeners Hand Products. Crabtree & Evelyn, a delightful selection of hand products to pamper your hands after a day of "guerilla gardening."

New Organic Gardening Book. Pat Welsh's Southern California Organic Gardening (3rd Edition): Month by Month

Hand-crafted Garden Tool. Red Pig Tools, Oregon-based mail order tool maker of beautiful garden tools, the old fashion way. Choose from several categories for the type of tool you want for digging, harvesting, hoeing, weeding, and planting. These tools delight.

Live Plants & Trees. The innovative plant craftsmen at Monrovia helped me compile a holiday plant wishlist especially for you. Check these out on their website, and for a local retailer near you. Marge Miller Camellia #1500 (retails $60-$80), a new cascading Australian variety in a pretty pink color. Nuccio's Bella Rossa Camellia #1725 (retails $39-$49) pictured above, with crimson flowers that have a long bloom time. Barb-b-que Rosemary #2130 (retails $9-$12), use this straight rosemary as a skewer, perfect for the chef on your gift list. One of my personal favorites, and another Monrovia recommendation are the "Tabletop Topiaries" (retails $25-$35). I have three "Little Olive (Ollie) Topiaries" on my table in my outside garden vignette. This time of year, Monrovia also offers a terrific selection of "live" Christmas trees, too. Last year I wrote about my live Monrovia tree in Holiday Green.

Goldfinch Bird Feeder. For the gardener who loves birds. If you have never had a goldfinch bird feeder,Birdscapes® 736 Upside Down Goldfinch Feeder, 3 lb capacity you are in for a treat. Goldfinch are a little ray of sunshine in your garden, and are fascinating to watch as they eat upsided down.

Books Galore. Check out my amazon store favorites, to the right. These are some of my favorites that I have written about over this past year.

These are just a few "garden gift" suggestions  for the holidays. What is the best garden gift you have ever received?  What gifts do you like to give to the gardeners in your life?

VintageGardenGal Reviews Ethel Gloves

Gardening With Ethel Gloves The creative folks at Ethel Gloves approached me, and asked if I might want to review their gloves, and ultimately share my thoughts with you. Upon accepting their offer, I was sent a complimentary pair of Ethel Gloves. It is my intention to present a fair, unbiased, and informative review for you.

I had never heard of Ethel Gloves before, but in researching their website, they are widely distributed. I like their philosophy of gloves created for women gardeners, which focus on fashion, function, and protection. Their product packaging alone was enough to woo one over, clever and beautifully designed.

My initial reaction when I put my new Ethel Gloves on was similar to wearing my winter leather car-driving gloves...classy. Instantly I felt fashionable in my garden gloves, something I've never experienced before. I have a small hand, and received a size small, which fit my hand nicely. The gloves come in S, M, and L. The glove conforms to your hand easily and has reinforced finger tips and palm surface for protection. An elasticized cuff, keeps your gloves comfortably in place. So fashion was good, nice fit, and many styles to choose from.

Putting on my Ethel Gloves, I started my hands-on gardening practices. I was pleasantly surprised at the great hand dexterity in holding tools, clipping plants, and best of all, creating my vintage container designs. In my designs I'm working with chop sticks, tiny spaces, intricate placing of plants, and usually without the aid of my garden gloves, but Ethel Gloves are like a second comfortable skin and worked well throughout my designs. So function, was very good.

I consider myself a bit of a "guerrilla gardener". In one week I helped move a wood pile, trimmed and mulched over 30 rose bushes, and tended to my black berry bushes, wearing my new Ethel Gloves. For these heavy duty chores where thorns and splinters lurk, I could have used a little more protection from my Ethel Gloves. So protection was only fair. Please note, Ethel Gloves does have a specific "rose glove" available. However, we all have a wardrobe of clothes and shoes for specific activities and functions. If you are an avid gardener, why not have a wardrobe of garden gloves to choose from as well.

The Ethel Gloves shown above are the Gala model, priced at $20.00, black with contrasting grey fleur-de-lis pattern, and black palm. This glove is machine washable. For more information on Ethel Gloves, please go to Ethel Gloves.