Category Archives: restaurant

Osteria Stellina-A Point Reyes Restaurant Grows it Too


Chef/owner Christian Caiazzo at his old Pt Reyes farm.

A trip to Pt Reyes is always about landscape. The rugged wind swept fields, the farms, the ocean, it’s always the experience of the place that you remember. Osteria Stellina is about place too but the experience is more on the savory side. 80-90% of the food on the menu is grown nearby. From Bill Nimans organic, pasture-raised beef to local cheeses, oysters from Drake’s Bay, and specialty crops like broccolini from Fresh Run Farms, everything featured on the menu is local. Chef Christian Caiazzo is so serious about local he’s taken it to the next level, growing food for the restaurant at a farm nearby.  He began growing  produce back in 2010 just a year after he opened his restaurant and the reason  he started is probably not what you’d expect. Osteria Stellina was producing a lot of vegetable scraps and there was no service to recycle the trimmings. He ended up taking it home and composting it himself. Not long afterwards he had some excellent soil amendments,  and growing greens on the quarter acre behind his house near Pt Reyes seemed like the natural next step. When I visited his restaurant and farm last year for a Wall Street Journal restaurant review,  I was impressed with the beautiful organic vegetables.

Since then the farm has moved to West Petaluma where the weather is better and the farm is bigger: tomatoes, peppers eggplants can grow during the summer as well as greens. During the growing season up to 35-40% of the fresh produce comes from the farm, with food delivered fresh 4 to 5 times a week. He works closely with farmer Molly Myerson and they are able to experiment. This year they had amazing luck with sunchokes; he uses them in soups, purées and roasts them. On the other hand, the 1500 strawberries they planted this year did not produce nearly the amount they hoped for. They also raise quail  for eggs and meat and hope to start experimenting with shiitakes and oyster mushrooms. So next time you’re in Pt Reyes taste it, as well as see it. Support a local restaurant and farm with some seriously  delicious food at Osteria Stellina.





The old farm was just a couple of miles from the Pt Reyes restaurant. 

Bastille Cafe Rooftop Garden


Check out this rooftop garden above Bastille Café in Seattle’s Ballard District. It’s one of the most deluxe that I got to visit while working on Backyard Roots. With 4800 square feet of growing space the building had to be retrofitted to hold the weight. But the garden provides a lot of produce: in the summer 50-100% of the restaurant’s greens come right off the roof.

Colin McCrate of  Seattle Urban Farm Company designed the clever planting boxes that have shade covers built right in. They can be raised or lowered depending on the weather. He worked closely with chef Jason Stoneburner to figure out produce that’s interesting and fast growing.

You can visit the roof top garden June to September and have a cocktail too. Tours happen every Wednesday at 5pm and the $15 price includes a drink made with rooftop herbs. Learn how to grow produce like a pro from Colin and his partner with their new book, Food Grown Right in Your Backyard.


Colin McCrate works on the roof top garden. Marigolds (right photo) help deter aphids.


The planting boxes have shade covers that can be hooked open to allow more light.



Chef Jason Stoneburner picks deers tongue lettuce.