The first time I heard about the Sebastopol Berry Farm, was last summer at the Petaluma Pie Company. I was talking with the one of the co-owner’s, Angelo Sacerdote, about all things pie related and I mentioned that my favorite pie was Boysenberry. He said…” Then you have to go out to the Sebastopol Berry Farm. That very week was the season for boysenberries and they were fresh picked and ready to be purchased at the tiny road side stand out on Ross Station Road. We headed straight there and bought my favorite berry. Well that was my first visit and I frequent the farm stand when they are open.
In 1986 Sabina and Tarcicio Vigil purchased a part of the Green Valley farm, the oldest blueberry farm in California. Green Valley Farm started planting blueberries in 1940. For the last 26 years the Vigil family has dedicated themselves to growing the most flavorful berries you will find. You should definitely call ahead if going out to the farm stand, just to make sure they are open. Alternatively, they also sell at many farmers market…so you can get your berry fix throughout Sonoma, Napa and surrounding environs. They grow strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries and blueberries. They also grow many varieties of specialty berries such as Oallie blackberries, Marion blackberries, orange raspberries, golden raspberries, black raspberries and purple raspberries. These orange raspberries are what I found when I visited their stand at the Original Santa Rosa Farmers Market on Wednesday because the farm stand was not open this week.
These delicate little multi-hued gems did not need any cooking…they were just begging to be carefully strewn across a scrumptious layer of chocolate encased in a crispy tart shell. So I made a semi-sweet chocolate ganache and some simple tart shells and delighted my “chocoholic” husband. This recipe is inspired by the wonderful book Bittersweet by Alice Medrich. I have adjusted the recipe slightly.
For the Crust
4 oz unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
For the crust, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Mix in the flour until just blended. divide into 7 or 8 pieces. Press each one into a 4-inch tart shell, with a removable bottom. They will be very thin. Place pans on a sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes until the crusts are a deep golden brown.
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg, lightly beaten
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Add chocolate chips and whisk until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the egg. When crusts are ready remove from the oven pour the ganache mixture into the tarts. Turn off the oven, but return the chocolate tartlets to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the filling looks like it is beginning to set around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.
Just before serving scatter the berries across the top. This tart needs no accompaniment except for maybe a glass of ice-cold milk!
Sebastopol Berry Farm
9201 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol, California
Farmer’s Market schedule