French Laundry reservations are notoriously hard to get, and if you do get in you will pay a bundle for your good meal. But if you enjoy gardens you can still visit the restaurant’s dedicated vegetable and herb garden, which is free and open to all. It’s located right across the street from the restaurant in Yountville.
It’s a pretty no-nonsense working garden. The layout is posted on a signpost across from the restaurant on Washington Street.
You might see workers shelling beans, harvesting crops, or working in the garden.
Chickens are kept in a tidy pen, where they are provided with a nice secure house and a patio umbrella.
Bees are kept as well in a couple of locations.
Many crops are grown in a large but simply constructed greenhouse.
Among the plants grown in the greenhouse are a large number of tomatoes (many more are grown outdoors). I was interested by the French Laundry Garden technique of growing their greenhouse tomatoes, which maximizes vertical space while minimizing horizontal sprawl. (Notice the string and plastic clips at lower right in this photo.) I will discuss this in a subsequent post.
Spaces between the gardens are covered with grass (which I found a little odd, but must provide on-going employment for the weeders). The garden is completely flat and easy to navigate even for those with mobility issues. So have a visit. You can sit and take in the scene on one of the benches and tables provided.