By Eddie Brisendine
I love summer. I know, it’s too hot in Ramona, but to me summer means farm stands and winery visits. Being the husband of a personal chef allows me to make many of these visits.
I recently tagged along with my wife on her food adventures. Our first stop was down the road at La Finquita Winery on Vista Ramona Road. Owners Mario and Diana Bergeron were hosting a wine pairing. Guests were treated to five wine and food combinations including a Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a spicy creole shrimp and spinach salad, and a Petite Syrah paired with caprese skewers.
Then it was off to the farm stands. We are truly blessed to have so many great options to buy locally grown fresh produce. For this trip we started at Connelly Farms on Telford Road. Owner Neil Connelly always has a great variety of fruits and vegtables on hand. Then it was on to Connelly Gardens on Steffy Lane. Connelly Gardens is owned by Neil’s brother, Tim, who on this day had a nice selection of tomatoes, squash, melons, onions and more.
On our normal Saturday run, we would also stop by San Diego Organic Farm on Hanson Lane, Killer Tomatoes on Pamo Road and Grebar Farms on Pile Street. There is also the farmers market that’s held in the Kmart shopping center.
After our mini vegetable tour, we headed out of Connelly Garden’s gate and drove straight across the street to Lenora Winery. We were greeted by owner Eric Metz and treated to tastes of several of his wines including a 2008 Cabernet Sauvigon, a 2008 Grenache and a 2007 Petite Syrah Angelica, a wonderful dessert wine that tasted great with a few pieces of chocolate.
Our last stop of the day was at Turtle Rock Ridge Winery on Woods Hill Lane. Owners Ian Vaux and Laurie Wagner were there to greet us with their usual smiles and talked about their chilled wine tasting flight that includes a Chardonnay, a Viognier, a Rhone Region Grenache, Sangria, and a chilled glass of their delightful Chocolate Turtle Dessert Wine. There is also a sixth taste that you can pick yourself. “You’ll be able to revisit one of the previous wines, or select a wine off the other list. It’s your choice to make” said Laurie.
So for those hot summer days and nights, stop by and have a chilled glass with Ian and Laurie, and make sure you stop by and support our farm stands.
Eddie Brisendine, a Ramona resident and 1982 Ramona High School graduate, is a connoisseur of food and wine.