Among the many beautiful and wondrous things to do in Napa, one of the frequently overlooked attractions are the green and vibrant culinary vegetable and fruit gardens throughout the Valley. While some of these gardens are on private properties or on vineyards, many are open for the public to admire and absorb. Just think, the dinner you’re eating in the Valley tonight could have easily been sourced from the garden upfront! Here are a few gardens to visit:
Along the quaint 29 Hwy outside of Yountville resides Brix, a wine country classic restaurant with a renewed focus on farm-to-table dining. A few steps from the dining patio in the back, you’ll see raised and in-ground garden beds and strawberries, French beans, potatoes and onions depending on the time of year you’re visiting. Directly behind the garden are the Mayacamus Mountains as the backdrop, which make for a picturesque photo opportunity.
Mustards Grill had a garden long before it became popular and trendy to have one. Cindy Pawlcyn, owner of Mustards, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and Go Fish, has long been drawing seasonal inspiration for her menus by sharing freshly picked produce. Among the 2 fully planted acres are raised garden boxes full of vegetables, flowers and herbs. This garden supports 20% of the restaurants produce year-round. In the summer, the colors of marigolds, zinnias, zucchini blossoms border lush green beds of potatoes, beans and tomatoes.
“A lot of guests really enjoy walking through the gardens, before or after their meals and seeing what a pepper or a tomato looks like growing on the vine,” says Cindy. “I’ve had people confuse the two simply because they’re not exposed to what they look like. It’s nice that people get to walk through the gardens and see how tomatoes, cucumbers and squash grow.”
Through a windy road in Rutherford, Frogs Leap Winery offers guided tours for their winery and seated tastings on their wrap-around porch that overlooks the market gardens and Mayacamas Mountains to the west. Let the landscape take your breathe away as you are surrounded by vibrant colors and greenery. Look for the peach trees, chickens and the red barn. You’ll feel as if you’re strolling through a dear friends garden. Spend a few hours here enjoying the view, the wine and their sense of humor!
Long Meadow Ranch in Rutherford Gardens produces vegetables for local businesses and locals alike. Produce harvested can be found at the St Helena Farmers Market every Friday. The garden produces a rich collection of vegetables, with special emphasis on heirloom tomatoes. Additionally, they grow potatoes, chard, basil and seasonal produce. Though the Rutherford Gardens is not open to the public, visitors can easily visit the Farmstead restaurant to experience their produce, wines and olive oil.
One garden not to be missed is the French Laundry‘s Garden located directly across the street from the restaurant. The 2-acre immaculately manicured garden is easy to find in a quiet part of Yountville where vegetables are neatly planted in rows. Little placards line the edge of the vegetable bed to help visitors identify different varieties of vegetables and produce. If you’re lucky, say hello to culinary gardener Tucker Taylor who manages all garden production exclusively for the French Laundry, Bouchon and Ad Hoc.
The Trefethen Winery offers tours of their historic winery, a National Historic Landmark, which includes a tour and tasting of current wines. Enjoy their large garden the surrounds the vineyard property. Trefethen was also the first winery in Napa to offer cooking classes that combined cooking, entertaining and fresh produce. Katie Trefethen’s garden, which is a destination and resource for garden enthusiasts has been featured in numerous books and publications. Their love for gardening and agriculture is a true reflection of their property.
7377 St Helena Highway
Napa, CA 94558
7399 St Helena Hwy
Yountville, CA 94558
Frogs Leap Winery
8815 Conn Creek Rd
Rutherford, CA 94573
Long Meadow Ranch & Farmstead
738 Main St
St Helena, CA 94574
6640 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
1160 Oak Knoll Ave
Napa, CA 94558