Sunday, June 26, 2011

Seabreeze Farm to Table with Jason Mraz

“Farm-to-table” is a dining concept to use what is local, hopefully at peak season, just picked…and cook it in a traditional or maybe a creative way.  Today we gathered at Seabreeze Farms in coastal San Diego for a FTT brunch to help the Farm raise money to drill a well; the water bill now runs about 3 grand per month.  Ouch!  The food and décor was handled; I was asked to assemble various donated items for silent auction.  I will do a post soon on how to do up a gift basket, but here are a few pics of what I did this morning.  I used whatever was donated, then filled out the two dozen baskets by running around the 2 acre farm collecting various natural items I thought would catch the eye of potential bidders, in this basket, a massage gift certificate and incense rounded out with orange boughs and lavender cuttings~


As I wanted to feature the auction items and the produce of the farm, I opted for simple baskets and neutral raffia bows.  I showed Julia how to finish the tulle on the first one and let her do the rest while I got back to assembly~


I use two kinds of tulle instead of cellophane wrap; you can see through it, the tulle can be reused, it’s pretty, and infinitely better than plastic.  In this case a single gift certificate became a basket with tomatoes and sunflowers from the farm’s cutting garden; it’s all in a French Basketeer child size palm & lambskin basket~


My favorite auction item was a dinner for six at your home, cooked by Chef Gordon, styled by yours truly, with produce from Raquel and her Rancho Santa Fe Market.  I pulled a cabbage and onions from the garden below,  added in some fresh chamomile flowers and other produce I found; this was an especially pretty basket~


When the baskets were finished, I was able to take a more leisurely tour of the farm, with my camera.  A view of the floral cutting garden~


Right next to the flowers you find the chicken coop.  Raised beds held greens; a wire grid on top prevented the greens from being completely eaten by the girls, while le coq strutted by~


Up the road a ways there is a second coop, for the chickens that are free-ranging it around the farm; they were off in the bushes as I investigated their home; I had only had one mimosa at this point, I promise, but for some reason I angled the photo rather poorly!~


There were a few broody girls in the main coop;


A compost pile is also in the coop area; as you can guess, we had mimosas with brunch, from the farm’s oranges~


Every inch of this farm is given to growing something.  And wow, what a variety.  From high on the hill you can see the ocean, and it’s a very idyllic location.


But it is of course a serious working farm.  There are three men who work full-time to care for the chickens, a horse, a goat, and rows and rows of veggies, flowers, grapes, herbs, several greenhouses…here some carrots~


The farm practices some “vertical growing” which uses planters; this is supposed to give you more planted space than a simple row; the drip irrigation starts at the top and works its way down; another efficiency~


All of the plants are started from seed in a greenhouse; I wasn’t familiar with the material being used to start the plants; it looked like mostly mica~


There were so many amazing people who came together for this event.  An hour before, we were all scurrying around to get our portion finished.  Our Chef, Gordon Smith was the picture of calm despite preparing for a meal for 100; he is one of the founders of Slow Food San Diego and a very gracious man indeed~


Everything we ate was from the farm with the exception of the cheese in the frittata and the bubbly in the mimosas.  Gorgeous salads~


Oh, and we had constant entertainment, from the moment we arrived, including Dawn Mitschele, one of the most beautiful voices and talented songwriters; Dawn was one of the organizers of the brunch through her Love Nation Project, which supports health and healing through music in San Diego and the world~


The very talented & spiritual Ariah Firelfly~


We had a talk by the President of Slow Food San Diego, Scott Murray.  Scott’s talk was brief but to the point: there are more small farms in San Diego County than anywhere else in the country.  Yet 95% of what is grown here gets trucked somewhere else, while 95% of what we eat travels an average of 1,200 miles to get to us.  There is something wrong with these numbers, right?  Scott and Raquel, our Rancho Santa Fe market manager~


The final set of the day was by local resident, part-time avocado grower & two-time Grammy winner Jason Mraz~

Jason is a low-key, unassuming type….but when he got to that mic he really turned on that star power….amazing amazing performer & vocalist….I am officially now a huge fan!!!  Jason with Raquel and her daughter Julia~


The cool thing….who won that auction item, dinner at your home prepared by Gordon, Raquel & me….Jason Mraz….we are going to collaborate to prepare an extra special experience for Jason & his guests~


As he was trying to figure out how to get his auction basket of veggies home, I offered a nice XL Moroccan basket that I have been using lately as a personal.  Well, ok I confess.  I ran over this basket in my driveway some time ago and it got up into the wheel well.  And survived, perfectly.  It’s still a super basket, not to mention sturdy, I’ve just not wanted to part with it.  It arrived holding my gift-basket-supplies but left with Jason and his produce basket.  Another case of someone finding the basket suited for them~


So long to the beautiful farm, for now~


There will be more farm to table events soon~


I’m waiting for the final numbers, but I am sure the event was a huge success for Seabreeze; what an amazing collaboration of people getting together for great reasons!


  1. Congratulations Andrea, what a great event and the farm is just astoundingly beautiful. Your baskets must have been very enticing to the bidders!

    It is so special to get the tour. I love that you support the local growers and merchants in Southern California!!

    Art by Karena

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  2. Once again, you've outdone yourself! What an incredible event for so many reasons. Farm to table is just catching on here in CT. We weren't able to attend last year but I'm hoping to make this year. They are teaming up with local vineyards in hopes of making the event larger.

    The auctions baskets are just beautiful with your eye for natural packaging. I'm such a softy for anything that appeals to the eye ~ this gets me in trouble :)

    Looking forward to my return trip to your coast and all the fresh goodies and markets.


  3. Hi Andrea~ Really lovely event. Loved all the photos and the story about your moroccan basket. I wish I lived close enough to attend!

  4. What a fabulous way to spend the day and a very worthwhile cause to be sure. I was in San Diego on Sunday! The entire day with the beautiful surroundings, obviously delicious food, your baskets AND JASON MRAZ is enough to make a girl green with envy.

  5. Well done, Andrea! Sustainable farming and eating fresh is getting back to common sense! When I hear instances like trucking fresh food out and bringing other food in it makes me think we all gone a bit crazy!
    Your basket designs are gorgeous and helped to make the contents even more desireable. I noticed one of our glorious market baskets, didn't I.
    Looks like a well planned, day of fun and hopefully financial support and arwareness!

  6. Thanks for sharing your photos! LOVE the baskets and the way you tied them with tulle and added value to them with all the fresh produce and flowers! Great Job!

  7. Wow. By this time I expected a rather festive entry regarding Bastille Day!

    Very good on the Blackberry Rosemary syrup, though. Most delicious!