Archive for the ‘Michael Pollan’ Category

Joel Salatin at Tara Firma Farms

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In Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan introduced us to Joel Salatin, a farmer who’s been practicing a complex form of rotational grazing in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. In the past few years Joel has become a folk hero in certain circles of farmers seeking to challenge the conventional agribusiness model. We read as much as we could about Joel’s Polyface Farm, and got to wondering how his methods would translate to Sonoma County’s different climate. I have to admit, I sort of stalked Joel’s schedule for a while, spying a little item that read “private farm consultation- Sonoma March 17”. After some detective work, I discovered that Joel would be coming to TaraFirma Farms in Petaluma, and got invited to a reception and talk at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Marin.

PART 1: Reception and Lecture part 1

PART 2:  Lecture part 2

The following day, we were fortunate enough to tag along as Joel walked the farm with Craig and Tara Smith, giving his observations of how well they were following his ideas. Joel was incredibly generous and patient with hundreds of questions, from the big picture ideas, down to the minutiae of caring for newly-hatched chicks. After you’ve absorbed this inspiring talk from the evening,  hear Joel’s critique of Tara Firma Farms in the next segment.

PART 3: The Onsite  Consultation


Written by Paul Berg

March 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Chuck Williams

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Chuck and EmmaMichael Pollan’ s article in the NYTimes last Sunday about how we love cooking shows on TV but don’t cook anymore got me thinking about Chuck Williams. Pollan introduces his article talking about the new movie about Julia Child “Julie & Julia” ( I hope to see it tonight), and the revolution she started in American cooking with the publication of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in 1961. peugeot-pewter-millMy impression of that period of American culinary history is seen from the hardware angle, relating to the other simultaneous revolution started by Chuck Williams, the founder of Williams-Sonoma stores and catalogs. Williams was a cohort of Child in the early 60’s, and from his hardware store in Sonoma introduced copper pots, slicers, roasters and appliances to San Francisco ladies who were just getting caught up in the French cooking craze. During my stint as Williams-Sonoma’s main photographer from 1994 to 2004, I had the opportunity to hear plenty of Chuck lore and work along side him on several occasions. Pollan takes a jab at Williams-Sonoma as the place we go to get outfitted for our weekend BBQ adventures, but I think he’s missing the mark on our cooking demise. pierre-the-pig How can we talk about local food and sustainability if people aren’t cooking? The produce for sale at farmers’ markets proliferating around the country requires food prep and cooking. Here in Sonoma county there are plenty of foodies carrying on the fascination with real food in the footsteps of Luther Burbank, MFK Fisher and Julia Child.


Written by Paul Berg

August 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm