When I get in my car, my only hope is to reach my destination as quickly as possible, whether that destination is ten minutes away or two hours. Though I consider myself a careful driver – looking both ways, triple checking mirrors, and maintaining a safe speed – internally my heart is racing, externally my hands tightly grip the steering wheel, and inevitably, I start bemoaning traffic. Pedestrians become irritating obstacles and the trees, flowers, and families on the sidewalk are ignored, even when I’m sitting at a stoplight. I just want to get there – wherever – quickly.
Shortly before lunch at Schoolyard Farms' summer camp, Courtney Leeds and Brooke Hieserich decided to shake things up for a few minutes. The ten elementary-school-aged campers had just finished a snack of celery and tahini, in keeping with the day’s theme of stalks and leaves, and were energetically restless. In the field across from the farm’s raised bed gardens, Courtney and her farm intern, Nick Pfeil, had spent the morning broadfork-tilling rock hard soil in preparation for winter squash, and they desperately needed water and a gentler task. Brooke passed out tiny gardening gloves adorned with roses and told her campers that it was time to be farmers and help clean up three raised beds that were well past their prime. The beds, full of lettuce, greens, and herbs, had gone to seed in the hot sun and needed to be entirely removed.
Standing inside a cool warehouse, surrounded by rack upon rack of oak and steel barrels in various stages of fermentation, Drew Herman was willing to let me taste as much wine as I wanted. We’d already sipped several still-in-process pinot noirs, with countless tastes reflecting the many variables at play: grapes, yeast strains, toast of the oak barrel, and more. We sampled pinot noirs fermented with two different variants of a Swiss clone called Wädenswil; we sampled wines at different stages of fermentation; we sampled wine from new barrels.