Clif Notes

An Evening with Legendary Climber Ron Kauk

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Thursday, February 2, 2012

On January 19th, Velo Vino welcomed World-Renown Rock Climber Ron Kauk for a fun evening of rock talk which included a moving documentary (Return To Balance: A Climber’s Journey) examining the life of this incredible climbing legend. Ron shared insights and stories of his life of climbing in Yosemite to include his connection with the natural world and his dedication to preserving it. Gary Erickson (Clif Bar and Clif Family Winery Founder) hosted the event and provided an incredible narrative on the experiences him and Ron have shared on the rocks while forging a life-long friendship bounded by many of the same spiritual and planetary beliefs that guide their love and enjoyment of the active life style. Bruce Regalia (Clif Family Winery Winemaker) provided insights on the Climber Limited Release Bordeaux style wine that is a fan favorite and whose label encapsulates Ron navigating a historic pitch in Yosemite Valley called “Heaven.”

Approximately 100 attendees (many from the NorCal rock climbing community) enjoyed food provided by Azteca Market and Taqueria to include an assortment of Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley mountain mixes and yummy Clif Family Wines by the glass. The evening concluded with a question and answer session and Ron and Gary kindly volunteered their time to sign DVD’s, books and a commemorative poster of the Climber Limited Release wine label featuring Ron.

Moving Day.....

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Monday, November 28, 2011

Things have been buzzing up on the Farm in the last month. We have tilled under the garden and planted some cover crops for the winter. Colby has been busy planning next spring’s additional garden space layout, a swath of “bee food”, as well as figuring what we will plant for 2012 CSA.

Another exciting development is the attention we are giving to the bees on the Farm. We have a new beekeeper, Rob Keller, of Napa Valley Bee Company. Check out his blog at He has a great way with words and an incredible passion for bees. He came out and inspected our existing hives only to discover that two of the hives were from a hive he had split one Easter while at a friend’s house. He was very happy to see how these hives had done and is excited to follow them, as they are “great stock”. Rob has a wonderful attitude towards beekeeping that works well with Clif Family Farm’s philosophy. Of course, we are interested in procuring honey, but we are first and foremost interested in healthy bees. He believes in the sharing of knowledge and experience in order to improve the bee situation throughout the county. Upon inspection, Rob discovered that our bees would do better in a sunnier location. Although it is hot in Pope Valley in the summer, their spot was too shady and damp for the winter. Their hive boxes are insulated so the heat is not as much of an issue as the dampness. In order to move the hives we needed to move them first to a location at least 3 miles away for the bees to reset their GPS…or you can move them about a foot per day! If you try to just move them a few hundred yards away, they will return to the old spot and swarm until they run out of energy. Interesting critters!

So we decided to move them down to the Farm at the Montessori School, where Rob teaches, for about 10 days to let them adjust and then move them back to their new home on the Farm. We have some photos of their transport and new temporary home. I was interested to understand how they adjust and Rob had me stand back and watch them. As soon as we removed the burlap that was put in the hives for transport, the bees started to come out of the hive to figure out where they were. They fly in gradually larger circles around the hive until they acclimate. We plan to move them back to their new spot at the Farm next week so they can winter in the sun!

Holiday Open House

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Sunday, November 20, 2011

Food Alliance Certification

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Sunday, November 6, 2011

In September, Clif Family Farm became Food Alliance Certified. We are very excited about this certification as it brings us another step along the way to fulfilling our sustainability mission - to craft unique, regional wine and foods using practices that care for the earth; to support growers who use sustainable, organic farming methods; and to contribute to a more vibrant, healthy food community.

Food Alliance is a comprehensive third-party certification that focuses on the following critical elements of sustainability in the agriculture and food industry:

· Providing safe and fair working conditions
· Provide healthy, humane care for livestock
· Reduce pesticide use and toxicity
· Conserve soil and water resources
· Protect and enhance wildlife habitat
· Continually improve management practices

Food Alliance certifies more than 320 operations and six million acres throughout Northern California. At Clif Family Farm, the certification includes our vegetable gardens and fruit orchard, allowing us to offer the local community the first CCOF organic certified and Food Alliance certified CSA box in Northern California.

For more information about Food Alliance, visit their web site at

Seed Saving 101 at Clif Family Winery

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Friday, September 30, 2011

Clif Family Foundation supports an organization called “Seed Matters”, which advocates for the protection and improvement of organic seed to ensure healthy, nutritious, and productive crops to feed people now and in the future. This led us to hold a Seed Saving Workshop as our CSA program comes to an end for the season.
We spent a wonderful Tuesday evening at Velo Vino soaking up all of Colby Eierman’s knowledge of seed saving, storage, and cultivation, as well as benefitting the Napa Local Food Advisory Council. Colby is truly a fount? of information when it comes to horticulture.
Of course, whenever we do any event here in Napa Valley food and wine are vital! We had a tasty selection of nibbles made from vegetables from Clif Family Farm. The evening would not be complete without a selection of delicious Napa Valley Reserve Wines! Most of the group started with the Rte. Blanc Sauvignon Blanc and then moved on to either kit’s killer cab or our Climber Limited Release Bordeaux Blend. A good time was had by all, and we learned so much at the same time!
For valuable information, please visit the following sites:
Fun Recipes
Chop several tomatoes - preferably an assortment of color. Finely chop two cloves of garlic & add to the tomatoes. Snip several basil leaves & add. Sprinkle with sea salt, (I like the course kind)
Gently mix all ingredients with a generous pour of olive oil and a smaller portion of balsamic vinegar (about one part olive oil, to a one half vinegar) It is really to each person's taste, so adjust accordingly
Slice a baguette. Toast in the oven to crisp. Once the bread cools, spread a thin layer of goat cheese, the creamier style the better. Top with tomato mixture & garnish with some additional basil slivers
Let the bruschetta sit for a few minutes before serving so the bread underneath gets a chance to soften a bit and the flavors meld together.
Potato Foccacia/Flatbread
Pizza dough- Trader Joe’s has great refrigerated dough for those who do not have the time or patience to make their own..a practical solution!
1-2 lbs of small potatoes thinly sliced(you can layer them as much as you like), fingerlings, baby red potato
Good handful of fresh rosemary chopped
3-4 cloves Garlic Chopped
Clif Family Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fleur de sel and pepper.
Spread pizza dough out on floured baking sheet. Spread out sliced potatoes on pizza dough, layering if you want more potatoes. Sprinkle with chopped garlic and rosemary. Drizzle with EVOO. Salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees until golden and bottom is crispy.

Native Plant Restoration Project

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Thursday, September 29, 2011

This past spring we embarked on a native plant restoration project at Clif Family Farm. As we planned the development of the new gardens at the farm, we looked at ways that we could support the larger ecological system and implement activities that made good farming sense. By removing non-natives and replanting with endemic selections, we are able to create a habitat for populations of beneficial insects that actually help keep our agricultural crops healthy. Our honey bees will also have more pollen and nectar to forage as these new plantings take root.

We decided that we did not want to leave the propagation of these native plants to someone else. We actually collected seeds and cuttings from native species growing on the farm and propagated these so that we could get the most appropriate subspecies for our restoration efforts.

Our propagation efforts began in the spring and we now have healthy, vibrant plants that we are planting in areas around our gardens and fruit orchard. Some of the plants that we propagated include California Rose, California Honeysuckle, Spice Bush, Red Fescue, Yarrow, Mock Orange, Monkey Flower, Creeping Sage and Coyote Mint.

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