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.