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Playing Tourist: A FREE Napa Valley Experience

As a Napa Valley native, I know that eating and drinking are two of the top reasons people from around the world flock to the place I call home. When people think of the Napa Valley it’s usually something like: World class wines! Michelin-starred restaurants! Celebrity sightings! But these things can add up at the end of the day. And what about when you’re not eating, drinking and searching for celebs? I know, although rare, such times do exist in the Napa Valley.

Well, guys, I’ve got a fun and free Napa Valley experience for you. Oh yes. Free. And not like some crappy Cracker Jack toy. 


Earlier this month, Chef and I went out for a celebratory dinner at Redd Wood in Yountville. Per usual, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs which resulted in one very, very uncomfortably stuffed couple. We decided to walk around the quaint town in an effort to not explode from overeating. After a short and very slow walk down Washington Street, we found ourselves at The French Laundry.


No, not to eat even more food! Rather, we were at the gardens which supply the restaurant with all sorts herbs, veggies, fruit, and more!


This 3 acre garden is free to visit and open to the public to walk around. It also provides produce for The French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery and Ad hoc Restaurant.


Chef and I wandered up and down the aisles of the garden trying to guess what each plant was before reading the signage. We spotted some chickens in a super huge coop which we assumed were used for eggs and (very male) goats, to which we began guessing why they were there. For the record, I said  the goats might be used for weed control and Chef declined to comment.


If you follow me on my Instagram (the only right answer is that you do), you’ve probably seen that I really, really love farm-fresh eggs. I’ve picked some up from a friend in town who honestly just likes having chickens and sees the eggs as a benefit. She even let me visit her fluffy little hens one time!


The goats refused to cooperate for my photo shoot. 20140724-164254-60174083.jpg

Strictly focused on the business of eating. Not that I can judge.20140724-164555-60355823.jpg

I know, enough of the goat pictures.

So we finally moved on to the bees! Another line item on my “someday” wish list. Chickens and bees, along with all of the horses, dogs, and cats ever. But now isn’t the time to discuss this..20140724-164627-60387320.jpg

I thought it was so cool that Thomas Keller made these gardens to accessible to the public. It was sort of like taking a peek into the kitchen of The French Laundry, but without imposing on all of the chefs and kitchen staff. I’ve heard many stories of people running into Mr. Keller while perusing the gardens, but we weren’t so lucky. We did, however, see a some people picnicking on a bench near the gardens. Had we not been so full, I would have suggested a Bouchon macaron and a glass of wine on the bench.

While I’m still waiting on my first French Laundry dining experience (ahem…), it was very cool to see exactly where the produce used in my future meal would come from. So, I highly suggest you consider checking this garden out while in between wine tastings, walking off dinner, or waiting on your French Laundry ressie.

About In Natalie's Shoes

I’m a twenty-something food fanatic. By day, I’m working for a non-profit, by night I’m dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess, creating adorable crafts to gift and engineering delicious home cooked meals for the fabulous dinner parties I’ll one day throw. I love to travel, locally, regionally… heck, even internationally, I don’t discriminate too much when it comes to a new destination. I am a little obsessed with taking photos of the food I eat, whether I make it or pay to eat it. It is my firm belief that a girl can never have enough purses or too many shoes. I plan to fill this lovely little blog with my adventures in food, travel, and craftiness. I hope you enjoy!

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  1. Pingback: Friday Five | In Natalie's Shoes

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