As I mentioned in my last blog post, one of my favorite gardens in the world is the one at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Framed by mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, the gardens feature row after row of vegetables surrounded by an abundance of colorful flowers -- both for their beauty and for the environment they provide the beneficial insects. Unfortunately, I failed to provide a picture, which I have remedied here (right). But on this last trip, I also visited Sweetwater Farm, high atop a mountain in Big Sur. The visit was part of a workshop called "The Land of Milk and Honey," where we learned to make cheese, bread and honey. Liam McDermott led the bread-making, with Esalen cookbook author Charlie Cascio showing us how to make cheese and honey, both of which he does on his mountain-top farm.
During our week, Charlie told us the story of how he spent a year apprenticing with a goat shepherd and cheese-maker in the Alps of France in the early 1970s. It was after that experience that he slowly began the process of creating Sweetwater, buying the nearly inaccessible land in the early 1980s and slowly but surely taking that land and turning it into a small-scale goat cheese, egg and honey operation. The quality of his products is so good that local restaurants in Big Sur and Carmel buy everything he produces. (Internships on his and other farms are available through WOOLF: Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
You only have to meet Charlie (left, on his farm) and see the smile on his face to realize that while it took a long time he was able to realize the dream that was born 40 years ago on a mountaintop in the Alps. It's an important reminder to all of us to keep noting those moments in our lives that bring us happiness and never give up on those dreams.