Raclette, the delicious melty cheese delight that we served up at the SF Underground Market back in June, & will be serving up again at the next market on July 24th (fist pump fist pump), traditionally is served with cornichon. Cornichon are typically found in micro bottles coming to us from France, which is not all too useful or environmentally friendly for a serious raclette operation. Challenge? I accept.
The next best option after said micro bottles from France was a bulk offering (yes!)...coming from...India (no! nothing against India...but that's stinking FAR). So, the search began for a farm growing miniature sized cucumbers ready for moi to pickle them into cornichon. Still...no luck. Time to move to plan C, the do it yourself method. Plant. Harvest. Pickle. FUN!
Cucumbers young'ins being lovers of the sun & heat are not likely thrive in the foggy & sometimes blustery San Francisco summer. Hmmm. Lucky enough, Oliver's family has a small outfit in the sunny Central Valley! Hughson, to be exact. (Pronounced like Houston, without the "t"...just in case you were curious.) The Dameron family graciously agreed to let us use a plot of their beautiful soil & even asked Neighbor Dave to come over & "disk the soil" (from what I can tell this means to get it ready...you know...mix things up a bit). Neighbor Dave went above & beyond & actually tilled & removed weeds & such, so by the time Oliver & I arrived, our cucumber garden was pretty much ready for planting! (Neighbor Dave, I don't even know you, but I think you're pretty awesome & I see some delicious cheese in your future.)
From there it was pretty simple, "farming light" I like to call it. We marked some nice & even rows 4 ft apart, created square-ish mounds about 2 inches high & about 4 inches apart, & planted 6 seeds in each mound. By then it was 90 degrees out & my SF blood was baffled. (Yes, I am well aware that the country is in an insane heat wave...but SF seems to maintain a blissful breeze & temps hovering around 70.) The rest of the day went something like this...lounge on couch, eat, cold beer, pool, couch, pool, eat, cold beer. Ahhh...good old fashioned summer day. I remember these!
Sun kissed & exhausted Oliver & I head back the fog. 5 days later we received word that we have babies...of the two-leaf variety (though with 90 miles in between us, something tells me this may have to be a joint custody arrangement). To be continued...
Heaps of curds of thanks to Sam, Gail and the Dameron family farm for allowing us to use their beautiful land for this project, sharing years of farming knowledge, & for nurturing our little seeds to two-leaf status. This mission would not be possible without you. And to Neighbor Dave...wherever you are, this curd is for you! Also, hats off to all you farmers out there, even "farming light" had me exhausted. You amaze me!