Coleman Valley Road, Occidental, November 5, 2011—A BIG PARTY for a special birthday of an old friend and colleague tonight, a blustery cold rainy night in the dark countryside, with a very warm assembly of friends in a barn out toward the coast. Since the venue was the Occidental Art and Ecology Center, you can be sure the food was tasty, nourishing, and politically correct — and local. We had: Spitfire roasted pork with applesauce from Llano Seco Ranch; Petaluma gold bean with rosemary from Tierra Vegetables; Roasted Hubbard and Kobocha squash with maple garden, Kale with olive oil, and mixed green salad with Meyer lemon vinaigrette, from the OAEC garden; and blue green cornbread with Spring Hill butter, from Tierra. This was after the appetizers: deep-fried potato croquettes; prosciutto, apple and soft cheese on toast; radishes; canapés; with a glass of sparkling wine with a spoonful of elderberry syrup — delicious.
Had I given a toast I'd have said this: the other day someone asked me point-blank to list the three most important values to me: answer quick. Attentiveness, reflection, enjoyment, I responded, perhaps because subconsciously I was already thinking about the qualities this remarkable woman embodies. And she expresses those values in the Two Humble Virtues: generosity and gratitude. She'd invited eighty or so of us, and we ate and drank, talked and sang, danced and celebrated; for Community is at the heart of her great gifts to her world.
White, rosé, and red wines, mostly French and Spanish — too much going on to take notes!