The more I get out and walk, but more I love morning light. Here are some shots from a recent walk.
Oh! Before we start, I have to shout out to Sarah Deragon of Portraits to the People for her ‘iphoneography 101′ class! Her info and guidance was like a sweet salve on this frustrated photographer’s iphone. Thank you, Sarah!
I’m so excited to share with you my first Color in the City pen pal, Isabelle Boucq,
who sent me a glimpse of her neighborhood, the Sentier, in Paris!
I met Isabelle Boucq, an accomplished writer, at a unique little house party in Berkeley (thank you, David!) where she showcased several California musicians who contributed to a movie which she also worked on called California Dream by Cameron Hughes. We’ve been corresponding every since, so I asked her to send me a brief description of the part of Paris she calls home along with a few photos. I added a color palette, of course, and can’t wait to check out her arrondissement myself! ‘Til then, here’s what she sent me about her Color in the City worthy life….
The Sentier, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, is not an area where you will bump into many tourists. Known as the garment district since the 19th century (several scenes from Balzac’s novels are set in the area), it is a succession of wholesale stores displaying the coming season’s fashion.
The neighborhood is perpetually out of sync, showcasing warm coats and heavy sweaters in the summer and light dresses and capris in the heart of winter.
For a while in the 90s, it became known as the Silicon Sentier, a desirable area for French start-ups attracted by the telecommunication infrastructure originally set up for the nearby Bourse, the stock exchange, in Palais Brongniart.
Cheap rent for large spaces increasingly vacated by sewing workshops also helped attract high-tech companies including Yahoo. Despite a slow decline, the neighborhood is still a lively hub with delivery trucks regularly backing up traffic in its network of narrow streets, some of them named for French military victories in Egypt in the 1790s (rue du Caire, rue d’Alexandrie, rue d’Aboukir where Napoleon briefly lived). Pakistani men stand on street corners and squares waiting to get hired to do odd jobs.
This year, peachy, rosy colors are the dominant colors in the windows of the Sentier.
Isabelle Boucq studied journalism at the University of Oregon, obtaining a master’s there before the digital revolution.
For the past 15+ years, she has written for French and American publications about high tech, business and travel among other topics. With her husband and two sons, she lives alternatively in Paris and in California.
I’m making a list of places and things I’d like to see with Color in the City. Actually, it’s more like I’m gathering them, there’s so much information to grab from the internet. I saw this post today in one of my favorite travel blogs, Untapped Cities (click the image to go to the site- it’s awesome!)…
France has always been on my list of countries to visit and of course, Paris is a priority. But I remember taking French classes in Middle and High School daydreaming about Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez… La Cote D’Azur (the French Riviera, as we say it). I love being near the water, and learning today about the influence of romantic Nice on Henri Matisse, well, that just makes it obvious now where I need to go.
Paintings like this have directly influenced my color aesthetics and pattern style- thank you, Henri!
Saturday I mozied over to Ebb Tide Cafe in Half Moon Bay with my friend, Mladen (awesome morning!) for hot coffee, warm conversation, and a beautiful view.
The road from my town on the Bay to Mladen’s neighborhood by the Ocean is only about 14 miles. But it’s a 2-lane road dotted with pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms. So rather than sweat the Pumpkin hunting traffic to get home, I stayed in town for awhile taking in Half Moon Bay’s beautiful surroundings and quirky architecture. Take a look…
When we first pulled up to True Grass Farms, in Valley Ford near Sebastepol, California, the first thing we noticed- let's be honest- SMELLED, was this gorgeous paella bubbling away over an open fire...
True Grass headquarters is this humble abode where the owners live, work, tour, and entertain... it's sun faded and time worn, but nowhere near shabby.
It's a comfy and inviting space for visitors interesting in learning more about what and how we eat and how caring for our land and animals contributes to that experience
Guido, who’s family has owned this land since 1867, didn’t come from a family of farmers, but being a young idealist (bravo!) he was drawn to the challenge- the resourcefulness, creativity, engineering, patience, learning- of building a sustainable relationship between the land, the animals, and the people you feed. He chose mainly to raise grass fed Wagyu (Wa- Japanese, Gyu- beef) cattle (along with pigs and chickens too).
Resident Cook and Rustler, Matt, shared his creative resourcefulness with a delicious lunch of fresh garden greens, a spread of salami, prociutto, paella, and buttermilk panne cotta... sooo good
I especially enjoyed seeing this little building, the Meat Smith (I called it the meat market), a charming little homemade shelter where business and purchases are handled...
You know I love that it's made AND decorated from salvaged goods and things found right here on the land...
A sense of humor goes a long way where the work can be hard.
Well, easier for some than others.
mmm, lunch! Hard to see but there's one piglet sitting on top of another to get to his meal- I've probably done that before
(the Wagyu cattle were grazing out in a field out of view, so we didn’t see them)
As we spent the afternoon hanging out with the animals, Consuelo, the sow, noticed Even and sauntered over for a good backscratchin'. Evan started a community garden in Brooklyn before deciding to move out here where he puts his farming AND marketing skills to use on a big scale.
My friend, Nona, and several others got in on the act...
Consuela didn't mind
True Grass Farms faithful canine, Iris, needed something to do so she set her sight on herding this pour chicken... for like 30 minutes! Ever try so hard to get someone to do what you want? I have... now I feel bad
And with a few final words...
The paella is ready
Besides eating though, we had work to do! There was a blind taste test with four kinds of beef and a map of beef cuts to identify. (I followed more Evans lead and stayed focused on the chicken in the paella- go Evan go!)
Holly, who spends most of her time rustling cattle with the rest of 'em, also has a knack for adding a beautiful and feminine touch to True Grass. I'm bummed I didn't get more pictures of her but she was always behind the scenes helping make everything and everyone look good. They all made the day and their work look effortless.
There's nothing better than spending a beautiful day with good friends, delicious foods and passionate people.
Guido and the gang at True Grass Farms look to replicate Nature when it comes to keeping balance with the land, water, animals- everything. He said, “Nature is the best teacher”. Such simple words for such a wise and wide statement.
Give 'em a ring, plan a tour, and go enjoy yourself. You'll see your food, your land, and your people in a whole new way. Thank you, Guido, Matt, Evan, and Holly!! And thank you, Nona, and the San Francisco Professional Food Society letting me tag along on such gorgeous day.
Learn more about True Grass Farms and find the Farmer’s markets where you can find them and their meats…