Artisan Producers, Chefs, Cooking, Farming, Foodshed, Healdsburg, HomeFarm, Modern Grange, Nonprofits

2015: Hitting Our Groove

Was 2015 the year we hit our groove? It certainly feels like it.

2015 was the year that we welcomed new Culinary Director Perry Hoffman to our kitchen, launched dinner service, and saw a gratifying response from diners and critics alike.

It was the year that we devoted the entire month of October to learning about and immersing ourselves in the art, food, and culture of Japan.


It was another year of Biodynamic agriculture education, of the Brave New Music series, of celebrating the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and of happily hosting site-specific works from the UPside Dance Company in our Grange.

We were fortunate to have such master chefs as Sonoko Sakai, Mamiko Nishiyama, Kyle McConnaughton, Ali Bouzari, Dan Felder, Russell Moore, Alison Hopelain, Nancy Singleton Hachisu, Steven Satterfield, and Thomas McNaughton come cook with us and teach us in 2015.


We hosted communal knitting nights with master crafters on hand to assist, and a communal reading night in which we pulled out our extensive library collection of books on food and agriculture to share. We lit the Grange with candles and had a meditative walk to honor the winter solstice; we filled the Grange with cushions and turned it into an ad hoc zazen for meditation.

We learned to dye cloth using natural materials and dived deeply into the re-emergence of locally grown indigo and its uses.


We ran a cooking class series just for kids and took groups to our beloved Healdsburg Farmers’ Market before feeding them a hearty family-style lunch made from the goodies found there.

We had in-depth beekeeping classes and another workshop on pollinators of all types. (We also built and donated an Insect House that school children love!) We celebrated apples and soil. We learned to make books and about spoon carving.


Frances Moore Lappé spoke to us of hope and foresight. Nicolette Hahn Niman and other experts taught about the importance of raising grass while raising beef. Master ceramicist Shiro Otani made an exclusive U.S. appearance with his wheel to demonstrate the ancient craft he has so gracefully modernized.

We made hot sauce and chocolate, crafted galettes, Shrubs and Shims, and cut enough fresh soba noodles for a (very) small village. We made yogurt and cheese — and sneaked back to taste more.

We showed films about the politics of food, the metaphor of gleaning, the life of the farm. We devoted an entire day to the intricacies of crafting a successful Thanksgiving meal, celebrated the work of the Famers Guild, and helped build the ranks of the North Coast Grain Alliance. West Coast Live returned for two live broadcasts that highlighted some of our favorite local thinkers, activists, and artists and filled our seats to bursting.


Most of all: We gave thanks.

We continue to give thanks. With nearly 80 events enlivening our Grange and retail spaces in 2015, we are thankful to the community that gathers around us, the experts who enlighten us, and the farmers and chefs who feed us. We are thankful to you.

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With full hearts, we thank everyone who reads our newsletter, checks this blog, comes into our store, sips something good at our Fermentation Bar, buys a bunch of our flowers, hangs out at our Coffee Bar, grabs a bite at the Café, and lingers over something special in our retail hall. Together, this community of supporters, learners, eaters, producers, and growers has made 2015 a truly special year for us.

Here’s to an even more spectacular 2016 for all!

With peace and love,

Healdsburg SHED

Chefs, Cooking

There and Here: Dashi

As part of our special ‘There and Here’ October programming celebrating the food, people, artisans, and traditions of Japan, we invited Mamiko Nishiyama, the proprietor of Tokyo’s Yagicho-Honten dashi shop, to spend time with us at our Healdsburg store.


Artisan Producers, Chefs, Cooking

Sensei Says

Even if you know no other Japanese, the word for teacher is something you’ll probably never forget. This week and next, we’re honoring the sensei in the SHED Grange, as we bring in teacher Sonoko Sakai and friends to teach us how to bring the art of Japanese cooking into our own kitchens.

Sonoko is a writer, former film producer, and champion of Japanese traditional cooking who has come from Los Angeles to be our chief organizer, translator, and guide into a world of umami. She is also our connection to Mamiko Nishiyama, owner of Yagicho Honten, one of the oldest and most famous dashi shops in Tokyo, and Toshiya Kotorii, trained soba master and graduate of the Tsukiji Soba Academy. Along with California rice grower Robin Koda, who will provide her family’s heirloom rice for our workshop menus, and Mariko Grady, who is coming to teach later in the month and whose fermented foods grace our larder shelves, we are indeed in capable hands.

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Sunday’s workshop will be an exploration of dashi and the Japanese Pantry. The shelves of the SHED pantry are filling up with Japanese dried goods such as rice, dried seaweed, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sweet rice, and katsuobushi. Learn how to use them to their fullest potential with Sonoko and Mamiko, and then sit down to a lunch of traditional Japanese food including Sweet Rice with Shiitake, Scallops, Pork, and Hijiki, Sardine Dashi Miso Soup, Handa Somen Noodles and Tamba Black Beans.

Yagicho Honten, Mamiko’s family shop, was established as a katsuobushi wholesaler in 1737 Tokyo, in the second year of Genbun in the reign of Yoshimune Tokugawa, the 8th Shogun of the Edo bakufu. This is all to say that that Mamiko Nichiyama knows her dashi, as do her parents, and her parents’ parents. Dashi stock, the foundation for all Japanese cooking, is made of dried and shaved flakes of katsuobushi and other marine and agricultural products such as dried kombu and shiitake mushrooms. Mamiko’s shop provides these essential ingredients to chefs and artisans in Michelin-starred restaurants and fine retail stores. We’re honored to count ourselves among them.


_DSC6571According to the lore of Japanese cooks, it takes three years to perfect the subtle art of blending buckwheat flour into perfect proportion with wheat flour to make true soba. Once you’ve got that down, rolling and cutting the dough is an education onto itself. The buckwheat plant is not a true grain, so it is naturally gluten-free, making it’s flour nearly impossible to form into noodles. The physically taxing, repetitive motion of rolling and cutting the noodles into uniform size is both a workout and meditation.

Next Saturday’s soba workshop will be co-taught by Sonoko and Toshiya Kotorii, both graduates of the Tsukiji Soba Academy, near the famed Tokyo fish market of the same name. After his apprenticeship at the Academy, Toshiya worked in the fast-paced world of the stand-up soba bar before becoming a teacher himself. He currently shares his love of soba with locals and visitors alike throughout the Tokyo area. Toshiya is bringing fresh, new-crop buckwheat straight from Japan just for the workshop (the buckwheat was harvested, threshed, dried, and milled specifically for making soba, and contains 20% wheat flour, as tradition dictates). After the workshop, participants will dine on soba served in hot brothy soup and chilled with dipping sauce. Join us for the afternoon and revel in the simple art of making the perfect, slurpable noodle.

Space for both of these workshops are limited, so please book your ticket today for a chance to learn from the masters.

Chefs, Cooking, Modern Grange

Vegetables and Their Secrets

On a sweltering August afternoon, farmers, vacationers, brides-to-be, and home cooks gathered in the SHED Grange on Sunday to glean bits of vegetable wisdom from Chef Steven Satterfield, author of Root to Leaf and chef-owner of Atlanta’s acclaimed restaurant Miller Union. Interspersed with tastes from his book prepared by the SHED kitchen, Steven made his way through a bountiful table of summer produce and gave words of wisdom for selecting, preparing, and cooking vegetables. Among such gems were how to select chilies that naturally impart a sriracha flavor, the difference between green onions and yellow onions, how to get an eggplant perfectly charred on the outside and creamy on the inside, and the secret to preparing perfect pole beans.  Take a peek and take away some vegetable secrets of your own.


With their edible tops and stems, beets are a great example of cooking root to leaf. In fact, beets were first cultivated for their greens, much like their cousin, spinach. Steven loves the flavor combination of beets and nuts.


Annie Plating

Chef Annie plating the country ham and melon dish using musk, charentais, and sensation melons from Russian River Farm and S Wallace Edwards & Sons – Surryano Ham, a Good Food Award winner and a favorite of Steven’s which we carry in the SHED Larder.



Steven’s recipe for roasted vegetables featuring okra takes advantage of this versatile, crisp, sweet, complexly flavored vegetable, a Southern staple whose mucilaginousness is under appreciated in the rest of the county. It’s one of his favorite vegetables.



Steven explains the geometry of the onion in terms of its North Pole, South Pole, and Equator, a nifty trick when navigating the natural curves of a vegetable with a straight blade.



A cold glass of Red Car rose proved the perfect pairing to the Southern menu on a hot summer afternoon. We carry Red Car’s lovely vegetable friendly wines in the SHED Pantry.



Miss the event? We’ve got a signed copy of Steven’s book with your name on it, full of great advice for vegetable lovers and omnivores alike.



Thanks to photographer Karen Preuss for capturing and sharing these images.