Sprigs and Sprouts makes new ‘room’ for good taste
I recently attended a “tasting” that was truly unique, tasteful and educational.
Something new has been added to our valley with a Gourmet Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Room. Linda Bailey and Ruth Elkins, owners of Sprigs and Sprouts Lavender and Produce Farm, decided it made sense to find natural and flavorful tasting ingredients to pair with all that local goodness.
After extensive research, studying and soul searching, they created the valley’s first (that I know of) tasting room filled with over 50 varieties of amazing balsamic vinegars and olive oils.
When you walk into the room, you feel like you have entered an upscale wine tasting room. Look again you will see it is not wine in those bottles, but something like a fine wine that adds flavor to just about every food there is, as Bailey and Elkins proved to me.
These two ladies, a retired a medical transcriptionist and a multi-faceted lady, became friends and co-workers and chased a dream about gardening and good food from Mississippi to Palisade, where they opened Sprigs and Sprouts. Seeing what they have accomplished in three short years — they raise a variety of produce crops, grow lavender and create lavender products and operate their store — proves dreams do come true.
It has taken hard work, long hours and dedication to maintaining and improving the integrity of their environment and learning from the experts. That’s how we come to their latest accomplishment: The Fine Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars Tasting Room.
You taste and learn. Their Balsamic vinegars are imported from Modena, Italy, where they were aged in wooden casks. The olive oils are imported from around the world. All are cold pressed and unfiltered.
The olive oils and balsamic vinegars are cold infused in small batches. They don’t need refrigeration. Simply store in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or cupboard.
Tip: Be sure to pick up a $2 drizzler to go in the bottle after you remove the cork. It works like a charm and has a cap to maintain the freshness of the “true” flavors.
My first taste experience at this tasting room was a delicious brownie made with Blood Orange Olive Oil: OMG!
Next, I tried some pumpkin pie with a small dip of ice cream on top drizzled with Pumpkin Pie Balsamic Vinegar. To taste is to believe and a believer they made of me.
I’ve drizzled baked acorn and butternut squash with this vinegar and I’m trying baked apples and thinking a pumpkin/squash soup would pair up with it as well.
Once you taste these balsamic vinegars and olive oils, the ideas will come.
At the tasting, I also had:
■ Asian Pear Spinach Salad with White Sesame Ginger Balsamic.
■ Grilled roma tomatoes with Basil Olive Oil topped with Parmesan and sweet basil leaf drizzled with Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar.
■ Fried green tomatoes drizzled with Garlic Cilantro Balsamic.
■ Broccoli and Basmati Rice Salad with Blood Orange Oil and White Sesame Ginger Balsamic Vinegar.
■ Vanilla ice cream pared with White Coconut Lime Balsamic and White Pineapple Balsamic paired with Blood Orange Olive Oil.
■ Sautéed potatoes and red onion in Zesty Onion Olive Oil with Italian Herb Olive Oil and 25-Star Dark Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle.
■ Bread dipped in Peach Balsamic, White Jalapeno Lime Balsamic (a favorite), Roasted Chili Olive Oil, Chipotle Olive Oil, Italian Herb Olive Oil and Zesty Onion Olive Oil.
■ I also tried Persian Lime Olive Oil, Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, White Truffle and Garlic Olive Oil and White Honey Ginger Balsamic.
There are additional items arriving on Sprigs and Sprouts shelves and it will be interesting to see what varieties they dream of next.