Parker's Pumpkin Patch to Point Reyes Passage
- randy salenfriend
We took the boy to get his pumpkin on Saturday. Even though Kathleen had grown some small ones in the garden,there's something about selecting the perfect specimen from the Pumpkin Patch and so we set off to the rolling hills of west Marin and the Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch.
We spotted the winner in no time and then took a fun little hayride in a wagon drawn by a tractor. Upon checking out, near the front counter are bins of some beautiful, local organic produce. Early girl tomatoes, red chard, apples, chiles etc. On the counter next to the register was a display of cheese, Point Reyes Farmstead Blue. Lightbulb goes off. I ask "isn't Cowgirl Creamery nearby"?
We set off for the short jaunt to Point Reyes and a few minutes later, there we were in front of Tomales Bay Foods/Cowgirl Creamery. Shangri-La for food, no doubt. Parker was particularly taken by the open view cheese-making area while Mom & Dad reconnoitered for the perfect picnic spread.
We chose a baguette of Artisan sourdough,(the bread bin was picked clean by then)two cheeses, some fabulous cold-smoked salmon and bottled water. (no wine alas, long drive, kid in car).
The cheeses were Matos Family St. George and the Point Reyes Farmstead Blue seen at Nicasio Valley Farms. Some may remember the St. George from the Chowhounds picnic, firm buttery and resembling a young cheddar. The Point Reyes Blue is quite simply a revelation. Possibly the freshest cheese I have ever tasted, made by the Giacomini family. Although there is much to be said for aged blue, this was something quite different but excellent in its own right.
We found a picnic table overlooking the lawn and chowed away. We could have dallied all day, tasting more cheese, marvelling at the varieties of potatoes, creamers,finns etc. and nibbling away but alas, the city beckoned. All in all, a splendid outing. Highly recommended.
You are so right about the Point Reyes Farmstead Blue Cheese, it is the best. They can usually be found at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market on Saturday morninings in San Francisco, and they'll give you a free sample. By the way, the next time you're in Point Reyes Station be sure to visit the Bovine Bakery they have the best bearclaws and lots of other great baked goods.