What a surprise and joy to see permaculturist Erik Ohlsen's smiling face grace the cover of the June 30 issue ("Thought Processes"). I met Erik and Penny Livingstone-Stark seven years ago after my husband and I bought an incredible seven-acre property on a ridge in western Sonoma County with redwoods and a panoramic view of vineyards and mountains. Originally an old apple orchard, the trees had been cut down 20 years ago and there had been no attempt to control erosion. With most of the top soil washed away, it was a degraded ecosystem badly in need of healing.
As former biology professors, my husband and I knew we needed to restore the ecosystem to its former glory but didn't have the practical know-how to do it. That's when Erik and Penny stepped in to introduce us to permaculture and regenerative design. Together we transformed our property into Sunrise Ridge Gardens, a food forest now five years old. Erik implemented the design that transformed our land and, in turn, the land transformed us. We are now part of this thriving, cutting-edge community and even offer courses and retreats to those wanting to reconnect with the natural world. It is a gem!
Thank you for the informative article and putting a spotlight on one of our local heroes.
I was delighted to read of your recognition of the Australian winter truffles ("Black Diamonds," June 23). I am the Australian chef who actually introduced the truffles to such chefs as Jesse at Madrona, Cyrus and others as well at the French Laundry, Mina, Post Ranch Inn and ChezTJ. This year, our harvest is even better. What we have found extremely valuable is the short transit time to get the truffles here so they can be served at their peak. They fly straight out of the ground (pretty much) to LAX, are cleared and repacked there and shipped straight to the restaurant without ever being touched since their initial packaging in Australia. I would be happy to take any enquiries from chefs or retailers interested in purchasing truffles and lead them to the source.
Regarding Suzanne Daly's "Bread of Brittany" (June 9): A great article! I hope I can get up there someday soon to partake.
The only minor error, and perhaps you've already heard from a horde of Celtophiles: "bilig" is perhaps Breton? It certainly is a Celtic language, but no modern people actually speak a language called "Celtic," though they most assuredly speak a "Celtic" language: Breton, Gaelige, Gaidhal, etc.
An Old Friend!
After a couple of years out of the area, I recently moved back, and it was good to pick up an issue of the North Bay Bohemian again. It was like finding an old friend. I enjoyed David Templeton's "Reel Deal" (June 23). Is Brett Ascarelli still with you? I always enjoyed her writing, and her photography always had a profound quality to it.
Keep up the good work.
Shucks, Tim, do we love you. The beautiful and lovely, talented and brilliant Brett Ascarelli left us some three years ago to move to Sweden, where she is currently awaiting the award of her MFA in experience design (we don't know what that is, either). She's just landed a job at Radio Sweden and lives in Stockholm where, she recently reported, a bottle of V. Sattui sits on her kitchen table.