Weekend at Wingshadows

We had the pleasure of spending some time this weekend reconnecting with our first, and our pivotal, farm partners, Lynne and Bruce at Wingshadows Hacienda in Warner Springs.

Five years ago, it was Wingshadows’ commitment to growing food for us, that first allowed us to consistently serve myriad local produce and pastured chicken eggs. And as more and more people of North Park and San Diego decided to eat at the Linkery over the year, that allowed Lynne and Bruce to grow their farm into a diverse wonderland of delicious food.

Pastured chicken eggs are what they first provided us; but now it’s lettuce, delfina cilantro, beets, onions, garlic; fava beans, snow peas, hot peppers; apricots, peaches, nectarines; golden figs; summer squash and tomatoes; winter squash; honey from the farm trees and the buckwheat on the hills. And more.

Whenever I visit Wingshadows, I want to take all of North Park up to the farm and say, look, here’s the farm you created when you decided to eat this way! Except that would shortchange the amount of work Lynne and Bruce put into it, too.

In addition to enjoying the food, the quiet, and the company of Lynne and Bruce, we also savored San Diego’s backcountry and its stories and its families. Most of whom have lived there since the 1800s (the whites) or far longer than that (the five tribal groups that called this area home). To spend time in these mountains really lets one appreciate the depth of the history where we live, and how meaningful a rural way of life is, even here in San Diego where we often barely acknowledge that it’s possible, let alone important.

Among the many projects Wingshadows is working on for you: year-round potatoes. We want to serve only locally-grown, incredibly delicious French fries, all the time!

Bruce’s family, a couple generations back, had kept bees, and Bruce still had the bee boxes. So when we went looking for local honey, he was able to set up an operation to provide it. Now, most of our honey comes from Wingshadows, especially during the season when buckwheat is flowering all over Warner Springs. (The rest is also local, but from a dedicated honey guy.)

And about the eggs. For me, organic, cage-free, free-range, none of those words is what I’m looking for in eggs: they still mean that the chickens are raised indoors. I want chickens that wander around and eat bugs. Bugs, apparently, are wonderfully nutritious, and they are what gives pastured chicken eggs their magic.

Wingshadows makes sure it has plenty of bugs, and the chickens go out every day to eat ‘em.

Bruce even takes the kitchen scraps from the Linkery and dumps them in this pile, for the birds to eat bugs from — and, in the process, make their own contribution to the compost.

By choosing to eat at the Linkery, and to eat this food from Warner Springs, you’re keeping alive not just a vibrant farm, but a thread of generations of people who have grown good food on this land, and who appreciate the possibilities the land affords us. It is something worth saving.

And savoring.