July 27, 2016

The Mugnaini Cooking School Garden

By Andrea Mugnaini

What does your garden grow?

Nearly every class at the Mugnaini Cooking School in Alexander Valley will include a short walk, baskets in hand, to the garden behind the big red barn.

There you will find our modest garden growing in the open space between vineyards. Even though the 30 acres on my ranch is dedicated to several wine varietals, I am especially delighted that the same vegetables and herbs we enjoy in our cooking program in Tuscany, also thrive in California!

Sonoma County has an interesting history of agriculture enhanced by the variety of microclimates found here. With plenty of rainfall, generous sunshine and summertime heat, there is a lot more than wine grapes that proliferate in the area.

Each year, in March and April, seeds are germinated for our May planting. My source is Seeds From Italy (www.growitalian.com). I think it is pretty special that a vineyard that showcases Italian wood fired ovens is also a prime location for Italian sourced vegetables.

Spilling out of raised beds and Italian terra cotta vases, you will find a seasonal display of lettuces, chard, kale, squash blossoms, eggplant, tomatoes and more waiting for your next culinary adventure.

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