The French Laundry Winter Vegetable Garden

While recently relaxing in the small town of Yountville in Napa Valley, California…aka “Kellerville” by some funny foodies, we enjoyed watching the vegetables grow in Chef Thomas Keller’s gardens which are directly across the road from his famed French Laundry Restaurant.  While we did not go to the French Laundry for a meal, we did enjoy one of his other restaurants in town…Bouchon Bistro (twice)…He also has a fun restaurant called Ad Hoc too…we aim to go there on the Monday nights they serve their famous fried chicken.  We missed it this time…as it is served every other Monday (shucks).

His gardens are inspiring….simple and beautifully managed (of course, what else would you expect from this renowned chef).  I get a kick out of seeing what’s growing, then guessing how it will be served that night in the restaurants.  It seems Romanesco Cauliflower was certainly on the menu in some form as there were rows and rows of it, ready for picking.

The French Laundry Gardens...simple and stunning

The French Laundry Gardens…simple and stunning

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The produce in the Napa Valley is stunning, prevalent, and truly most flavorful.  We enjoyed the best salads on this trip.  Both my husband and I came home having lost a few pounds as we ordered fresh salads and fish at almost every meal which hit the spot for us with flavor and seasonality.  The produce takes prime location on most menus in the valley…it should as it is sooooooo good.

I came home to see how my little lettuces, baby kale, and fresh dill were doing in pots outside our back door…they looked pretty good too…

Most restaurants in this area have some kind of garden outside their building where they are able to grow their own herbs and more.  It’s nice knowing the source of the ingredients we consumed.

No problem getting your five fruits and veggies a day in this  “produce basket” geography…that and a little wine…then a finish with a nice cup of tea (which they do right!) is perfect.



  1. What a wonderful looking place. That sort of thing, seeing the vegetables, etc. that are grown for use in the restaurant, is pretty rare here (no doubt due to the climate, in part), but I love the idea of it. I can see the attraction of the Napa Valley, it strikes me as the sort of place that could make your spirit soar. Your lettuces are looking wonderful, I still have a vivid memory of your tomatoes, which made my mouth water last year.

    • Yes, we are so lucky to have “growing weather” just about year round in California…just have to watch out for a little frost now and then…there is nothing like picking vegetables daily for your consumption mmmm

  2. You forgot to mention the BIG exception to fish was dinner at Press. We shared the Beef for Two. What a great meal.

    • That’s right…it was a meatlovers delight…a trio of beef, all perfectly cooked, with again, awesome veggies…and a lovely cabernet…wish I was there now