Until the fire-ravaged Manresa is rebuilt, you can enjoy the world-renowned restaurant's high-end produce at home.
Love Apple Farms, the exclusive produce grower for Manresa, on Tuesday morning announced it is offering a temporary CSA (community-supported agriculture) program to sell that produce to fans of the Los Gatos restaurant and its farm partner.
"Some of you for years have been asking for a CSA, but as you know, all of our carefully and lovingly grown produce goes to chef David Kinch," wrote Cynthia Sandberg, the founder and owner of Love Apple Farms, on her website. "This is an opportunity to partake in vegetables that have been fine-tuned with varieties specifically chosen for their flavor, grown on a biodynamic certified farm."
A fire caused extensive damage to Kinch's Manresa on Monday, just as Love Apple Farms' namesake produce -- more than 60 varieties of heirloom tomatoes -- and other summer specialties are ripening. Sandberg and her crew grow about 300 cultivars of vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers annually for Manresa on the Santa Cruz Mountains property.
In an email, Sandberg said lots of brainstorming had gone on since the fire about what to do with the volume of produce. Selling to other chefs could "displace" other Bay Area farmers, so she decided against that option.
A four-week membership will cost $39 per week. Box pickups are scheduled for Wednesdays only -- starting this week -- from noon to 7 p.m. The first month's worth of CSA box memberships sold out within just a few hours Tuesday, so Love Apple added options for subscribing for the following two months (www.growbetterveggies.com).
If you miss out on the box options, members of the public still may purchase produce from the Love Apple Farms' stand, open Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends at 2317 Vine Hill Road, Santa Cruz. The farm is also holding how-to garden skills workshops this Sunday, July 13, and Aug. 24.
Box produce will vary and change from week to week, depending on what's ripe. Currently being grown are the aforementioned 60 varieties of tomatoes, plus Sun Jewel and Charentais melons, peppers, eggplants, onions, tomatillos, beans, squash, mizuna, chrysanthemum greens, radishes, beets, turnips, arugula, basil, carrots, cucumbers, ground cherries, kale, leeks, sorrel, celeriac and sunchokes, the website says.
"Not all items can be in every box, so expect to be surprised," Sandberg wrote. "Absolutely no GMOs, synthetic chemicals, or harm to the environment or your soul."
The CSA will operate on a month-by-month basis until the Michelin-starred Manresa reopens, she said. To order a CSA box membership, go this Love Apple web page: www.growbetterveggies.com/growbetterveggies/csa.html.
The partnership between Kinch and Sandberg has been featured in a documentary, "The Farmer and the Chef," by filmmaker Michael T. Whalen. The movie, and its subjects, were featured at the 2014 Cinequest film festival.
Follow Eat Drink Play blogger Linda Zavoral at Twitter.com/buh_byeTravel or contact her at 408-920-5960.