Magazine article Sunset

We Had a Dream ... the Staff of Sunset Shows How You Can Eat Almost Entirely from Your Own Land. Here's What We Explored, Learned, and Created for an End-of-Summer Dinner in Our Backyard

Magazine article Sunset

We Had a Dream ... the Staff of Sunset Shows How You Can Eat Almost Entirely from Your Own Land. Here's What We Explored, Learned, and Created for an End-of-Summer Dinner in Our Backyard

Article excerpt

On a late-summer evening, in the middle of the garden, a group of us are having dinner. The cucumbers come from vines sprawled a few feet away. The eggs inside the little baked squashes are courtesy of the six hens clucking at the garden's far end. The tomatoes were picked an hour ago. Everything we're eating tonight, from the wine in our glasses to the honey in the sorbet, we made or grew ourselves, right here.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

We're longtime fans of the local eating movement, which champions getting food grown as close as possible to where you live. About a year ago, we took this to its logical conclusion: Instead of a 100-mile or 50-mile diet, how about a one-block diet? We'd raise everything at Sunset, in a backyard-size plot, for a late-summer feast (and a lot of cooking beyond).

First, we dreamed up the menu; then we planted fruits and vegetables (see list opposite). We needed fat for cooking, but what to use? The giant old olive trees on our property held the answer in their branches. A group of staffers, dubbed Team Olive Oil, started investigating how to press our olives for oil.

As for what to drink, a pair of grapevines in the garden gave us the idea. Team Wine drove into the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains, picked 500 pounds of Syrah grapes, and crushed them in a Sunset parking lot. …

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