Want to get even farther afield? Head up the 101 about 90 minutes past the Golden Gate Bridge, and you’ll find yourself in Healdsburg, a smaller, more charming cousin to those well-known wine-country towns of Napa and Sonoma. A great spot for bike riding, day hikes, and of course, wine tasting, Healdsburg has also become a dining destination in its own right. A standout is Shed, a marketplace and restaurant that houses a fermentation bar and cures it own meats. Here you’ll find the best selection of artisan products made in this area and an extensive home goods, kitchenware, and gardening section. And in a surprise to no one, the rustic farm-to-table menu at the restaurant is accompanied by an awesome wine list featuring some of our favorite local producers like Leo Steen, Scribe, and Preston, an organic winery and farm at the far end of the Dry Creek Valley.
In our experience, the words “instant” and “delicious” rarely go together. The exception? When someone else puts in the time and effort, and you get the immediate reward. That’s the beauty of flavor dusts, basically, tricked-out versions of those onion and garlic powders languishing in your cabinet. Dehydrator-and-smoker-wielding chefs have been cooking with these super-concentrated powders for years. But now, thanks to Chef Perry Hoffman, the culinary director at celebrated Sonoma County restaurant Shed, home cooks can harness the powder as well.
This year, Shed started bottling and selling the same powders that Hoffman cooks with at the restaurant: flavors like purple saurkraut, Niçoise olive, and green garlic; in other words, this is not your standard spice rack.
“Powders may have begun in the world of fine dining as a flavor enhancer, but they’re really everyday tools for the kitchen,” Hoffman says.
His charred eggplant dust is basically a Genie in a bottle: Stir it into a bit of olive oil and yogurt, and you’re suddenly tasting baba ganoush. That onion powder, made by slowly smoking yellow onions over applewood chips, is the building block of a perfect grill marinade. Stir the tarragon-caper dust into butter and rub on roast chicken, or add the shiitake powder to stock for an umami boost.
If using flavor dusts turns into a bit of a habit, you could consider making them yourself. But we think there’s nothing wrong with keeping a little “instant” in your routine.
Shed, a restaurant and market in Healdsburg, Calif., now sells its wares online. Along with kitchen goods, garden tools and pantry foods, the company offers nine colorful seasoning powders, some made from ingredients grown on the Shed farm. Dust the powders on poached fish, soups or deviled eggs, or use them to season sauces and dips. The green garlic powder is musky, niçoise olive is crumbly and assertive, and smoked onion harbors a sweet edge. While the shiitake mushroom powder is bland, the jade-green Padrón pepper powder is vegetal with a kick — dynamite in the place of salt on the rim of a margarita glass: Shed Powders, $15 each, healdsburgshed.com.
Psst. You, sir. Over here. Yes, you. Step this way. Come a little closer. There, we’re alone. Now then, can I interest you in a little magic dust? Wait, it’s not what you’re thinking. This is the good stuff. Homegrown even.
Look at this pinkish one. Know what this is? That’s purple sauerkraut that’s been dehydrated and turned into this intensely flavored seasoning. No, you don’t sniff it. Sprinkle a little on your scrambled eggs or, better yet, put it atop a pan-fried steak or grilled fish. Delicious.
Or look at this one: charred eggplant powder. I’m thinking a sprinkle of this over your babaganouj would be extraordinary. Or how about this tarragon-caper powder? I like a little of this on top of deviled eggs. It’s like a secret weapon. People have no idea where all that flavor is coming from.
I’d like to take credit for these, but this is the work of chef Perry Hoffmann and the good folks at Shed in Healdsburg. They’ve developed a whole line of the powders, seasoned salts and other kitchen pantry items. I’m fond of the green salt—bay leaves, thyme, parsley, rosemary and Jacobsen salt spread around the rim of a bloody Mary. It’s a great way to take a little Sonoma County with you wherever you go.
While it doesn’t fit inside my trench coat here, Shed also makes delicious pickled vegetables like carrots and chile peppers, savory shiitake mushrooms, eggplant conserve and even pickled kale. There’s also a line of fruit preserves and shrubs. What’s a shrub? It’s made with very ripe fruit and herbs and spiked with vinegar to preserve it. They’re great as a base for cocktails or a little sparkling water for a DIY soda. Just the thing after enjoying a rib-eye steak dusted with a little purple sauerkraut powder. 25 North St., Healdsburg. 707.431.7433.—S.H.
If you’re familiar with SHED in downtown Healdsburg, then you know how incredible EVERYTHING is. Farm-fresh local produce, beautiful kitchen ware, pantry items and all those wonderful meals prepared on site. And what makes everything so delicious? A talented team + extra touches of ingredients developed and used inside their kitchen. So for the first time SHED is bottling them up so you can bring these flavors home with you. The new Pantry line is a collection of spices, powders, salt blends, peppers, pickles, preserves and shrubs—all inspired by what’s used everyday at SHED Cafe.
I recently joined a luncheon with the SHED team, including co-owner Cindy Daniel and Executive Chef Perry Hoffman. We learned more about how this line came together and experienced the flavors in some Spring-inspired drinks and dishes. In addition to educating folks on good farming, good cooking and good eating, Cindy and Perry wanted to show ways of preserving seasonal bounty and flavors through canning, drying, pickling and fermenting. It’s been a dream of theirs and now the new products are available in-store and online.
All images by Leslie Santarina.
Healdsburg SHED defines itself as a modern grange. It’s that vibrant and creative link of land to table that inspired this cafe/shop/community gathering space. You’ll find beautiful kitchen tools designed to last a lifetime; uniquely local, small batch provisions for a well-stocked pantry and, of course, the inspiration and information you need to journey confidently into the realm of innovative kitchen artistry.
Everything is so well curated and so beautifully presented that one could easily find oneself entertaining multiple food fantasies. For example, the combination of a perfectly crafted mushroom foraging knife, Meyer lemon olive oil, and a gleaming copper risotto pot could inspire you to greatness. If that’s the case, you might also consider taking the “Foraging in the Wild” workshop offered by Shed’s culinary director, Chef Perry Hoffman.
But you could just as easily fall in with any of their other seasonal workshops, including one on making your own shrub drinks and one on herbal wellness. And, of course, beautifully illustrated cookbooks abound, including one next to the Japanese donabe clay smoker that explains the specific cooking techniques you may have discovered at the Single Thread Restaurant.
Driving north on Highway 101, it’s easy to forget that you are still in the heart of one of the most fruitful winegrowing regions in the world. You pass industrial parks, sleepy towns, old gas stations and tumbling hills dotted with those famous happy cows—but just beyond the roadside scenery is a vast patchwork of some of the most fertile agricultural land in the world, marked by a variety of geographic characteristics. Mountainous terrain is heated by the sun during the day, and cooled by coastal winds at night. Fog lingers in valleys full of rich, rocky soil quenched seasonally by the Russian River. (more…)
If you’re a Michelin-starred wunderkind, it might seem like a risk to swap a fancy Napa restaurant for a glass-fronted barn in a town once best known for its farmers’ parade. But not to Perry Hoff man, who recently made the move from the Étoile restaurant at the Domaine Chandon winery to SHED, a Healdsburg barn with a general store, restaurant and a food lab fed by its own 30-acre farm.
“I didn’t think it was a risky move at all,” says Hoffman, whose grandparents owned Napa icon The French Laundry. “What it came down to was ingredients — smaller producers growing harder-to-fi nd heirloom varieties. The small two- to 10-acre farms of Sonoma are producing some of the most How Healdsburg, a once-sleepy farmer’s town in Sonoma County, became the farm-to-table capital of America amazing vegetables in the world. If you have good soil in Napa, you plant grapes; if you have good soil in Sonoma, you can do both.”
Hoffman is not the only chef to head for Healdsburg, which has a host of new locavore eateries, including the much-hyped new SingleThread (see sidebar). But behind the hype is simple nature. The small farms provide some of the best produce in America.
The 10,000-square-foot SHED, for its part, feels like a curated homage to the good life — from laser-engraved rolling pins in the store to the deli’s shiso-infused sea salt and grains, all freshly milled on site.
In the café, Hoffman gives the local bounty an international twist: The heirloom tomato salad harbors a surprise of kimchi and sour gherkins, and roasted lamb shoulder gets paired with sunfl ower seed mole.
Hoffman also looks for the best local suppliers. “It’s all about supporting neighboring businesses,” he says. “Instead of writing a check to a big corporation, we are able to support local livelihoods.”
Cindy Daniel also felt some apprehension from the community 3½ years ago when she opened Shed, a restaurant and gourmet mercantile. A 20-year resident who moved from San Francisco to start a 16-acre farm here, she felt that the town had grown too wine-centric. She wanted to focus on its agriculture.
Shed’s concept seems to be paying off, with weekends crowded with tourists and weekdays bustling with locals, who come to sip kombucha at the fermentation bar, buy house-milled flour, peruse French cheese knives or dig into a dish of halibut in smoked tomato broth. The upstairs event space has hosted 91 community groups. Shed just added 16 dining seats and increased hours to seven days a week. It also started a new take-away service. Each day after 4 p.m., Chef Perry Hoffman brings out just-cooked porchetta or roast chicken that can be purchased to bring home.
Hoffman, former chef of Etoile at Domain Chandon in Yountville, is excited to be cooking at such a different venue. “I came from fine dining and cooking for destination diners,” he says. “I will never forget my first day here in this beautiful modern building, when a farmer in filthy jeans with shears in his pocket sat down with his wife and baby for coffee. Their bill was $12. You would never see that in Napa because the farms don’t exist there. It was important for me to see that and to keep that going.”
Sipping the rose-pink iced strawberry and tarragon shrub at the Fermentation Bar at SHED in Healdsburg, California, I wonder what America’s pioneer farmers would have made of this modern interpretation of their thirst-quenching soft drink. The seltzer bubbles prickle my mouth, releasing pleasantly vinegary strawberry notes with a peppery hint of tarragon. It tastes of summer without the sweet sickliness of a soda pop.
Doug Lipton and his wife, Cindy Daniel, moved to Healdsburg, California almost 20 years ago to start a farm. In January of this year, Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article, Is Shed the Best Restaurant in Sonoma County? – quite an honor in an area known for some of the best restaurants in the country. What an amazing journey they have been on. SHED is Doug’s and Cindy’s local food-focused modern grange – hosting a market, cafe and fermentation bar. It is the expression of their hard work and commitment to bringing together the local community of ranchers, fishermen, artisan producers, backyard gardeners, long-time farmers, professional chefs, home cooks, food crafters, educators and enthusiastic learners – all with a passion for food and farming.
Today we are excited to talk to Doug Lipton about SHED and what they are doing in Healdsburg 20 years later.
SHED’s Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton were invited guests on this historic visit to Cuba to share their support and their knowledge of organic farming.
SHED’s executive chef Perry Hoffman made you want to lace up your boots and head out into the sunshine to forage for some wild foods, check out this VIDEO shot of Chef Hoffman and Edible Marin & Wine Country’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Gibson Thomas on the trail of nature’s bounty in Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley.
When you are learning how to forage for wild foodstuffs, you are learning to learn. That is, you are learning (or remembering) to be curious and observant. Every day is different, every piece of land holds its own ecology, every season follows its own pace…
No other restaurant in Sonoma so gloriously embraces the agrarian history of the county as the Shed in Healdsburg… Chef Perry Hoffman…creates combinations that define the season. In winter, his onion soup, glazed with cheese and crunchy croutons, looks like a rock formation strewn with tiny yellow and white flowers. He roasts poussin and serves it with the head and feet attached, graphically telescoping his farm-to-table approach… Michael Bauer, chief restaurant critic
Michael Bauer, the restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle bestowed SHED’s Cafe with three-stars and noted it is the best restaurant in Sonoma. “I’ve never seen combinations that visually depict the bounty in such a vibrant, respectful way….The Shed celebrates its location in a way that no other place duplicates. It feels like the most authentic and beautifully conceived restaurant in Sonoma County right now.”
Food: ★ ★ ★½
Service: ★ ★
Atmosphere: ★ ★ ★
Shed holds immense appeal for the out-of-towners who flock to Healdsburg on weekends for wine tasting, charming bed and breakfasts, and farm-to-table dining. What better way to immerse oneself in agrarian life than within Shed’s manicured, denim-stuffed walls? Serving as a hub for Sonoma County’s many-spoked agrarian community — manifests in Shed’s retail outlet, its event programming and its ingredient sourcing for the restaurant….Healdsburg Shed is, for a certain type of person, a wonderland of aesthetic and gastronomic pleasures — one that simultaneously gives a visitor the feeling that she is becoming a more responsible citizen…Roll your eyes all you want. Here’s the thing: Everything at Shed is really, really good.
No place in Sonoma — or the Bay Area for that matter — uses such beautiful produce as Perry Hoffman, who took over the kitchen of this impressive business last fall. He may serve whole sand dabs on a cutting board with a colorful array of baby vegetables, and whole roasted poussin with its feet and head still attached, splayed on a bed of sauteed greens and surrounded by edible flowers. The food has a fresh yet rustic sensibility you won’t find elsewhere.
One of the (many) high notes of my dinner at SHED last weekend was a sturdy slice of pecan spice cake, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s one of those wallflower cakes that won’t win any beauty pageants, and that’s part of its appeal. When a cake appears with zero frills, it’s a good sign that its greatest attributes lie within. Such was the case with this cake, which was generously stocked with pecans and all sorts of warming spices.
The folks at SHED are passionate about the connection between food and farming…SHED has become more than just a restaurant: it is a community center for education, sharing and celebrating fresh, wholesome food.
A video story on October’s Japan Month and Toshiya Kotorii, a Tokyo soba master who collaborated with Sonoko Sakai, a Los Angeles Japanese cooking teacher and author who studied under him for a soba bar pop-up series in SHED.
If you live in Sonoma County, you are no stranger to the concept of “buy local,” but…what does it take for Sonoma County’s small farmers to get their products into these stores? And what does “local” actually mean?
What once was old is new again … again. Shrubs—Colonial-era drinks made from vinegar, crushed fruit, and sugar—are trending as a light and refreshing sweet-tart solution to summer’s heat.
Shed occupies what is possibly the most elegant pre-engineered metal garage we’ve ever seen: It’s equipped with all kinds of innovations for efficiency and sustainability, like photovoltaic panels, elegant exposed wood, and wide garage doors that can be opened up for ventilation on hot days.
Farmers’ advocate “Follow the Rooster” campaign named SHED the top Sonoma County business that is selling and buying local products, joining CSAs, or hosting farm-to-table dinners.
It’s hard to know where to start, because I want to start with everything and be sure I miss nothing.Do I pause at the coffee/juice bar for an immersion-drip, or maybe a fresh beet/carrot/ginger/lemon juice? Or do I go nose first into the tin buckets of roses and bluebells? Oh, but here’s the deli counter. Hmm, smoked trout mousse. Pickled smelt. Apricot chutney. Honey hazelnut pate. Perhaps I can swing by the milling room for a bag of just now (like-five-minutes-ago) stone-milled heirloom grains.
In Sonoma…pioneering it all is SHED, a grange hall, fermentation bar, and marketplace housed in an airy, two-story steel and glass flex space that won a James Beard Award in 2014 for its architecture. Next month, as a tribute to the region’s bounty of organic and heirloom produce, SHED will launch a monthly farmers market tour, coupled with lunch in their garden.
I stepped into Shed with coffee on the brain. The enormous, creekside building in Healdsburg, California, is something of a culinary bazaar, an ever-changing marketplace of Sonoma County’s many gustatory offerings.
Our vision was to create a place where the beauty and aliveness of the complete food cycle—the growing, preparing, and eating —would become visible, revealing and reinforcing the path from farm to table, and back to farm.
I walked in for breakfast, and somehow managed to stay through until lunch — this place will do that to you. Coffee bar, pastry shop, to-go counter, fresh produce grocery store, kitchen & home store, and a cafe all under one creative roof.
When Cindy Daniel opened Shed nearly two years ago, her aim was for it to be more than a restaurant. “We wanted to make a true expression of the whole food cycle,” she explained of her 21st-century barn in Sonoma County. Part store, part café, part events center, the nearly 10,000-square-foot space is all that—plus a fermentation bar (of course) for wine, kombucha, and more. (Get some of our favorite recipes from Shed.) …Daniel has stocked Shed with beautiful and functional items she deems essential to being a better cook, gardener, and, yes, eater, whether it’s the little black dress of cast-iron skillets, the handiest gardening shovel, or just-milled rye flour from a nearby farm.
(The story was a group collaboration with recipes written by our culinary director Miles Thompson and Gillian Helquist in the fermentation bar, with beautiful images by our friends Taylor Peden and Jen Munkvold (Peden+Munk) and food styling by our own SHED-ite, Lora Zarubin.)
Retail and restaurant complexes come to the fore. Food & Wine was kind enough to shine a light on SHED’s innovative concept in this thoughtful roundup of mixed-use establishments.
In this insightful interview, the Chronicle‘s Inside Scoop writer Carey Sweet checks in with SHED co-owner Cindy Daniel on the completion of SHED’s first year and the thrill of the James Beard Award nomination.
We love this lifestyle feature on the rise of young farmers and the importance of the old-fashioned Grange and the new-fashioned Grange Movement. Raising new farmers is so important!
Jeff Cox, who reviews restaurants for our local daily paper, here dons a national cap to cogently explore SHED’s mission, with a special emphasis on what we’re trying to do with our Grange concept.
We’re proud to be mentioned with our neighbor, Chalkboard, in Condé Nast Traveler‘s foodie roundup, and yes: Healdsburg is undoubtedly a foodie paradise!
In this insightful interview, the Chronicle‘s Inside Scoop writer Carey Sweet checks in with SHED co-owner Cindy Daniel on the completion of SHED’s first year and the thrill of the James Beard Award nomination.
We’re grateful to Modern Farmer for really underscoring our mission and the vibrancy of the SHED community in this article.
We are proud to have won a 2014 James Beard Award for our restaurant design. Before the final decisions were announced, Eater National gave a sneak peek at all the nominees. We were certainly in great company!
The 10,000-square-foot Healdsburg Shed brings farming, gardening, cooking, and eating together in one glass-walled building. It distills Northern California’s food and wine scenes–with everything from a wood-oven cafe to a fermentation bar with kombucha on tap; from a spot selling local grains (milled on-site) and hand-forged garden tools to workshops, talks, and film screenings. Shed also does Sunday Suppers, a monthly dinner series with local winemakers, farmers, and chefs.
Learn to make the components of our popular mezze plate! 7X7 gets the lowdown on how we compose each part of it, from the sweet potato hummus to our proprietary dukkah to our quinoa and tzakziki.