Flourish Magazine

Flourish Fall 2013

Flourish Magazine, the North Bay's Guide to Sustainable Living. Serving Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties and sharing the stories of local people working towards sustainable living, organic foods and eco-conscious lifestyles.

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/175158

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Page 46 of 55

B eaches and redwoods aren't the only thing drawing crowds to West Marin these days. Foodies from around the country are flocking to the pristine landscape around Point Reyes National Seashore to savor the lo- cal bounty — from grass-fed meats to award-winning farmstead cheese and everything in between. Eager to help them in their quest is East Bay native Elizabeth Hill, whose West Marin Food & Farm Tours helps visitors explore the small farms and artisan food producers at the forefront of West Marin's culinary renaissance. West Marin Food & Farm Tours is the first culinary adventure business to bring patrons to local producers. Each tour offers an opportunity to discover some of the region's best examples of sustainable agriculture in action, paired with tastes of locally produced food and wine. The seed idea to start a tour company sprouted in the spring of 2012 after Hill, a certified Natural Chef, UC Master Gardener, and educator, invited a few culinary school friends to spend a weekend in Inverness. She treated them to cheese, wine, and oyster tastings at her favorite spots while sharing her insider's knowledge of the local food culture. The outing was an instant hit. "It dawned on me that this would be a perfect business," Hill recalls, "and no one else was doing anything like it." She rallied support from the local community, bought a van, and created five unique themed experiences for her guests to choose from. Her first tours kicked off last August, and bookings have steadily increased since. Hill's affection for West Marin traces back to childhood summers and weekends spent at her family's Inverness retreat where she fondly recalls foraging wild huckleberries for her grandmother's tarts. "I always knew I wanted to make West Marin my home," she says in hindsight. "Living and working here is a dream come true." Since exploring West Marin's food scene is my own idea of heaven, I join Hill's "Taste of West Marin" excursion, which spotlights seven noteworthy local food producers. Historic Point Reyes Station is already bustling when I arrive for the Sunday morning tour. Hill, dressed in jeans and a crisp white chef's jacket sporting her business logo, greets me warmly as I step through the screen door at Tomales Bay Foods--home to Cowgirl Creamery and our start point for the day. She motions me to join my fellow tour companions seated around a rustic wood farm table nearby. Above us, a viewing window offers a glimpse into the creamery's cheese making room. An inviting platter of fresh baked pastries from nearby Bovine Bakery sets the stage as first-name introductions are exchanged. We bond over pieces of Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Ham & Cheese Croissant, and Summer Berry Scone as Hill delivers an informal overview of West Marin's rich agricultural history, local landmarks, and geography. As we finish off the pastry, she visits the in-house cheese counter and returns with an assortment of Cowgirl Creamery's awardwinning artisan cheeses, each handmade with organic milk from Elizabeth Hill serves tastes of grass-fed goat and lamb burgers to her tour group. FALL 2013 • FLOURISH 47

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