Nothing in the world compares to the taste of fruit and vegetables, plucked from a sustainably farmed garden, and nibbled on—while standing in the garden. A just-picked strawberry. A just-snipped stalk of asparagus. A beet pulled out of the ground. Heck, even the little bit of dirt you can’t quite get off the beet is tasty.
The gardens at Chalk Hill are cultivated by two all-star gardeners. Brad Agerter, the Estate Culinary Garden Manager, who, incredibly, has spent 13 years working the beds. Joining him is Scott Pavlick, the Assistant Garden Manager, who has been dusting Chalk Hill dirt off his boots for four years.
Spread across the estate are three sections of gardens: two upper sections, one with four beds, another with eight beds, and a lower section with more beds and fruit trees.
The fruits and vegetables harvested from these gardens go to the winery, as well as to Chalkboard restaurant in downtown Healdsburg. With any excess fruits and vegetables, Brad and Scott distribute it however they can locally, and to area food banks. What they can’t use is composted and turned into fresh hummus, which is then spread back into the gardens providing rich nutrients to replenish the soils. But the whole point is to get as much of this fresh produce to Chef Alec Graham and his team so that it ends up on your plate.
“We hope that people come to Chalk Hill to experience the utter freshness our garden provides,” says Agerter. “We are entirely organic, and we replenish our soils with our own cover cropping and compost. We farm according to what is seasonal and it’s very different here than say nearby Petaluma or the Sonoma Coast. It’s quite warm here at Chalk Hill, and while we do experience some fog, it isn’t saturated marine influence.”
So, just what is growing in the gardens now, in the spring of 2021? Let me take you on a personal tour.
Chalk Hill’s new Senior Winemaker, Michael Beaulac is no stranger to crafting world-class Chardonnay right alongside Pinot Noir and the classic red Bordeaux varieties that Napa has transformed and conquered…