Chefs know food best, and Chef Holly has the insider’s knowledge of where to find the truly farm to table farms and restaurants. So we recently took an insider’s peek at one of Yolo county’s local farm. Windmill Farm and Vineyard produces premium olive oils, wine and much more for their restaurant and catering service in Woodland. We visited Windmill Farm and Vineyard which produces the boutique ingredients for nearly everything on Chef John Gamboni’s culinary designs. The olive trees, herbs, citrus, and grape vines serve as a medly of ingredients for the distinctive creations served at the restaurant Maria Cantina in Woodland, as well as Black Pine catering. Chef John has the palette of the vineyard and the farm, for his truly farm to table menus.
Windmill Farms and Vineyard lies where there are endless miles of rolling hills. The hills seem to emerge out of the flatlands of Woodland. It was a stunner to see the topography change, at the entrance to the vineyard. We were greeted by Brett, the general manager of Yolo Eats, who described the concept and philosophy of the The Windmill Farm, “We wanted to get back to our roots, with a boutique production farm, to focus on individual quality, of every export.”
And it all started with moving mountains. The idea was to create “ Wine country right in your backyard” Brett described. The landscape, “undulates” to use Brett’s word, with peaks and valleys, and rows of beautifully situated grape vines and olive trees. It took the vision of making mountains out of this leveled farmland, to create the acres of rolling vineyards. As far as your eye can see, the hills draw out directly into the expanse of the skyline. “Where am I?!” Holly delightfully and aptly exclaimed as we walked up onto the terrace, perched upon the hillside; it felt like we were standing in the middle of a Napa Valley wine chateau. The windmill spins in the distance, and there is a lake, which connects to a reservoir behind the hills. Truly, a feat in landscape design, where there were initially no hills or valleys, they were created.
Sergio the manager of the farm and vineyard described to us the delicate nature of growing nearly everything from 18 varietals of grapes from Spain, Italy and France, to specialty olives as well as the many fruit trees; pomegranates, figs, and apricots. The olive trees produce a award winning oil that we were able to sample, and was among the same batch that was just shipped to an international olive oil competition. It is the purity of ingredients, the olive oil that goes directly from the Windmill farm and straight into Chef John’s recipes, that is emblematic of farm fresh to table food, and sustainability.
The vineyard is available for private weddings and events, where the food is cooked right on site. It is certainly a spectacular scene, and literally, mountains were moved to create the landscape of Windmill Farm and Vineyard http://www.windmillfarmandvineyard.com/.