thanks to blythe over at orange county daily photo, i learned about Villa Romano Green Farms in san clemente. words are almost inadequate to describe what we found at this little spot situated on a bank of dirt over a golf course parking lot, tucked in the hills behind my sleepy little hometown. it's such a gem, a diamond in the rough, really... i think the pictures we took really tell their story. (iphone photos, so excuse the quality).
VR Green Farms is a teeny tiny little farm located on the grounds of the bella collina golf course in rancho san clemente. in an attempt to bring some old world italian flavor to orange county, this farm is cultivating old-world foods like sicilian tomatoes, italian romaine lettuces, and a true bounty of other selections.
so much going on in this picture. on the plate is a garlic plant that was roasting in an open air fire pit. you peel the layers off and eat the delicious garlicky goodness inside. YUM. that little brown roll? fresh fig and honey bread. the breads were baked that morning and delivered while we were standing there. they have honey - so good. mango honey, sage honey, and in the jar here, lemon curd honey. it was so sweet - it was really like candy. and all that you see here? it was being generously doled out by this very nice man.
this is farmer nic. this is a man who clearly loves food and loves italy. what a great combo! ;) we could have stayed here all day and talked about cooking and traveling all day long. he clearly has a passion that is infectious. oh, if only we could all find that kind of passion. he finds wonderful baked goods, fresh olive oil, those amazing honeys, and in a unique twist, heirloom seeds from all over italy.
golden beets that i brought home and added to a root vegetable mixture in the crockpot. loved the rustic wine crates that held a lot of the food.
flowering arugula - it was beautiful and had a sort of nutty flavor.
sweet organic carrots and fennel (actually not my favorite food) alongside the long garlic plants we ate from the fire.
the rain started coming and we got this shot of the farm from a distance. it may not look like much, but they are growing and really, it's the hospitality and the aromas and the flavors that lure you in.
VR Green Farms offers a weekly basket CSA type program. each basket includes 10-12 different fruits and vegetables, along with one of the freshly baked bread products for $25/week. they will also send you on your way with recipes to help you enjoy your goodies. (they also offer a section of recipes on their website.) they also make all of their surplus veggies, along with a great selection of breads and other items, available at the farm on saturdays.
and last, but certainly not least, VR Green Farms offers cooking classes, food and cultural events, and even kid's classes (complete with pizza tasting).
i look forward to visiting VR Green Farms again (and again and again)! i can't wait for their tomatoes to come into season. oh, and did i mention ARTICHOKES?? yep, i saw them growing over on a hill above their stone patio. i. can't. wait. if you are in OC, i'd highly recommend that you pay them a visit.
200 Avenida de la Pata, San Clemente, CA 92673.