Friday, October 12, 2018

San Diego Grown Dinner

The San Diego County Farm Bureau hosted their biannual San Diego Grown Dinner at Orfila Winery and Be Wise Ranch on the most perfect fall day - sunny skies, a slight breeze, and mild temps welcomed over 200 guests as they enjoyed savory appetizers, sipped on cider, beer and wine, listened to live mariochi music, sampled tasty olive oil, visited the boutonniere bar and finally settled in for a feast among the veggies!

Once again, we partnered with the Farm Bureau and created protea d├ęcor for the event. We flowered the Orfila Winery entrance with wreaths and garlands, decorated the cocktail tables with posies, garnished the bar and buffets with handtied bouquets. In addition, we hosted a boutonniere bar where guests could take a floral accessory of their choice to go or make their own.

Chef Michael Ground of the Patio Group and his talented team prepared a three-course farm-to-table feast with a bounty from the county. Guests enjoyed a selection of fresh, fall fruits and vegetables along with grilled and smoked beef, barbeque chicken, sausage and a host of sweet treats! Each course was paired with fine wines from Rancho Guejito, Edwards and Orfila Vineyards.
Here’s a peek at the menu:

Dinner entertainment not only included a colorful mariachi group, the Farm Bureau ‘conveniently’ arranged the launching of the SpaceX satellite which lite up the night sky like an explosion of fireworks radiating beams of light.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

In the Field: Protea Aurea

Protea aurea’s most distinctive feature is undoubtedly the shuttlecock-shaped flower heads, measuring about 3 to 5” long, forming from a multitude of small flowers clusters ... hence the common name Shuttlecock sugarbush. Aurea starts to flower in early fall when little else is blooming in the field. Leaves are oval and egg-shaped at the base. They are grey-green, soft and velvety when young. This is to protect the delicate soft leaves from drying out in the sun and from being eaten by wild animals. After the first year, the leaves harden and develop a waxy coating. The hairs disappear, and a smooth leaf surface remains.

The flowers bloom at the top of branches. Buds are cylindrical and when tightly closed resemble a candle. The outer bracts are cream-colored at the tip of the flower changing to green-brown at the base of the flower. When the bud begins to open, the bracts expand outwards and bend outwards. This exposes the many flowers within which stand straight up.

Until recently, Protea aurea has had a very small distribution range and was only found in the Southern Cape. It was first discovered in 1940 and not found again until 1965. The name, aurea, means golden and it is thought that this name was given in error after seeing a dried bloom, as the flower heads fade to a dull yellow when dry.

Aurea is serotinous, meaning the seeds are held within the dried flower heads on the plant for a long period of time. This protects the seed from being eaten by predators. When there is a fire, the mother plant is abolished, and the flower heads burst open and release the seeds. The seeds fall to the ground and germinate prolifically after the first winter rains.