It all started with a trip to the Sonoma Farmers’ Market on Friday, where our friends Melinda and Robert picked up fresh bread, salad greens, asparagus, strawberries, and eggs. Everyone who lives around here wants to cook and eat “primary foods,” grown or raised by local specialists in, say, lamb, poultry or heirloom vegetables.
I was in charge of the flowers for the table. At the French Garden Farm booth I picked up a big bunch of Snowball viburnums (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’) mixed with calla lilies and pussy willows. Across the way at Oak Hill Farm, the ranunculus (I bought two bunches of the pink ones) and mixed purple and pink stocks caught my eye.
And what would a local arrangement be without wisteria? All around Sonoma Country, the wisteria are blooming. It’s a trademark of the region… everywhere you look, pergolas, walls and fences are draped with long, hanging clusters of lavender wisteria blooms.
My quick search (two husbands were in the car) for two perfect containers started at Cost Plus in Napa and ended in the Target in the same shopping center. No wonder they call it Tar-jhay. I conditioned the flowers by scrubbing the pitchers well, filling them with tepid water in which a crushed aspirin tablet and a teaspoon of sugar were dissolved, and cutting the stems at an angle under water. The flowers were arranged the somewhat haphazard style that always looks good: tall stems in the center, colorful blooms in the middle, and the wisteria (cut at the last minute) drooping over the rims.
Melinda planned the menu days ago and set the table last night. We went to bed early so the Catholics in the group could get up at 5:00 a.m. for outdoor Sunrise Mass at Cline Vineyards.
As soon as everyone got back, Julius whisked the eggs, Matt and Eric readied the chocolate croissants and expertly cooked the scrambled eggs, Robert made the coffee, and guests Linda and Tom joined the party.
Also from Sonoma Farmers’ Market: fixings for tonight’s Easter dinner, which will feature Greek salad, risotto with asparagus, and grilled butterflied leg of lamb, which is marinating in rosemary from Melinda’s garden right now. And a most marvelous orange cake for dessert. See the recipe under Food from the Garden.