There’s nothing like growing your own fruits or vegetables. The feeling of starting them off as the tiniest seed and watching them bloom, blossom, and bud into something beautiful. Flora Farms, just outside of San Jose, is just that. It went from being a desolate dessert into something so beautiful and so full of life.
I had Flora Farms on my list of things to do for very long time and today I finally made the trip there. We made a noon reservation, which I highly recommend doing because it gets very busy. The second we stepped out of the car, we were immersed into a lush oasis. Bumble bees buzzed around sunflowers and children laughed as they fed the turtles and koi fish in the pond. There was life and beauty everywhere we looked. We were seated at a quaint table for too, overlooking a garden full of spinach, lavender, rosemary, and sweet basil. As started our lunch of with a fresh pressed beet, kale, green apple, ginger, and cucumber juice, an old black lab with a peppered snout came to join us for lunch, partly, we think, because we had such a lovely spot, but the other part, most likely, to escape the four screaming children.
We had every intention, to prolong our lunch for as long as possible. So as we slowly sipped our fresh juice and nibbled on some sumptuous freshly baked bread, we ordered a white bean and pumpkin seed dip that came with flat bread, crispy Guanciale, and a garlic roti. We were torn between that and the chilled cucumber and almond soup with lemon cream. First course down and it was time for some cocktails. I opted for the lavender vodka martini and my boyfriend got the smokey mezcal hibiscus margarita. I’m not a big a fan of mezcal, tequila’s smokier flavored cousin, but if you enjoy a good mezcal then he highly recommends it. Flora Farm’s cocktails were exactly how craft cocktails should be. They were the art child of a skilled mixologist. There was even a mystery cocktail that I never figured out the name of. It looked like an elaborate version of a Bloody Mary but it was a gorgeously looking meal in itself that was overflowing with citrus and vegetables.
Finally, we were peckish enough to order some lunch. The decision wasn’t easy and there was definitely more than one internal debate on what to order. They had a tantalizing array of brick oven pizzas like the pizza fresca with house lemon ricotta and freshly picked thyme or the thinly sliced potato, rosemary, cage free farm egg pizza, and clouds of fresh mozzarella. But today, was a day for fresh veggies and the ratatouille vegetable sandwich is exactly was I was looking for. It was stuffed with roasted eggplant, bell peppers, almonds, tomatoes, and lathered with a chile ancho spread with a side of farm fresh greens. My boyfriend singled out the catch of the day, which was red snapper that came with an array of seasonal vegetables like purple cauliflower and carrots and was topped off with corn vinaigrette and arugula. His was definitely the more flavorful of the two, but they ratatouille sandwich was nothing to scoff at. Every single meal that came out of the kitchen looked delectable. At Flora Farms, the greens are greener, the fruits are sweeter, and the meat is juicier. One of my favorite things about Flora Farms was how they raised their animals. They all roam free, without hormones or antibiotics and fed purslane, amaranth, and even fresh mangoes in the summer.
With our bellies full, we took a walk around the property. On the edge of the restaurant is a little market with beautiful arrays of fresh vegetables and a little bakery with devilish sweets like homemade éclairs, cinnamon rolls, and pecan sticky buns.
It’s a perfect place to bring the family, or come alone and sit by the pond with your favorite novel. There are even a few local artesian shops on the property just in case you need to kill some time before your reservation. Spending the day at Flora Farms was everything I hoped it would be and more. The atmosphere of the restaurant is as light and airy as freshly baked nut bread and you can’t help but smile at the bouquets of sunflowers patiently waiting at each table.