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Now that the summer months are here, we met with Rose Jimenez, our Director of Marketing, to talk about all things Pizza. “There is something about summer and the freedom that comes with it that is just perfect for a pizza night,” says Rose. As a parent she often finds herself trying to find ways to generate some fun for her kids. She explained the summer hours for the kids allow for a lot of creativity.

“I love to invite another family over for a pizza party night,” says Rose. “My youngest enjoys laying out the ingredients in his own fashion during the set up.” Rose loves seeing her children take part in the set up and in the role as a host. Her kids are proud when showing their friend’s their own rolling pins and talking about what toppings they prefer.

Toppings Approved by Rose’s Children

Rose’s youngest son is a huge fan of olives. He will cover his pizza in them and often enjoys a pesto sauce. He likes to add salami to the pizza regardless if it’s made with pesto or marinara sauce. On the other hand, her oldest is a fan of the “Hawaiian style pizza” with loads of pineapple and ham.

Rose’s Pick for Toppings

While visiting the original café, Costeaux On The Go or Costeaux Petaluma, Rose enjoys asking guests who purchase Costeaux pizza dough what kinds of pizza they make at home. A year ago one of the regulars at Costeaux On the Go shared a pizza recipe with Rose and she just had to try it out. It included salmon, capers and crème fraiche. “I was blown away by the idea and had to try it at home,” says Rose. “I really enjoyed the combination. That is what is so great about pizza, the fact that you can make the simplest combinations or go wild with toppings.”

Find Costeaux Pizza Dough Near You

Costeaux Pizza Dough is available at all Oliver’s locations and at Big John’s Market in Healdsburg. You can also find it frozen at the following Costeaux locations:

  • Costeaux French Bakery – Downtown Healdsburg
  • Costeaux On The Go – Next to the Sonoma County Airport
  • Costeaux Petaluma – At the Petaluma Hotel

As a High School Senior, Heather Lardizabal committed to an internship at Costeaux French Bakery. One would not have been surprised about her direction given her high school track. As a Piner High School Student, she enjoyed culinary classes by Mr. Rose and Ms. McCabe. In fact, she was constantly talking other teachers into letting her spend more time in the culinary classroom. She was active in the culinary competitions through FCCLA . Her passion for baking drove her to state and national levels. It was in high school where a counselor pitched the idea of an internship through the CTE Foundation. The CTE Foundation has partnered with Costeaux French Bakery through the years. Inspiring tomorrow’s workforce, CTE Foundation fosters partnerships among educators, employers and donors to innovate the education-to-career experience.

“I wanted to bake since I was in elementary school,” says Heather. “I watched so many cooking shows and learned food is a universal language. It just brings people happiness.”

During her internship, Heather spent her time at the Baking Centre. She learned about Tia Maria by Costeaux. Eventually, she took a role as a Guest Service Associate at Tia Maria. This month, she took the opportunity to manage the Costeaux location inside Big John’s Market. There she can continue to challenge herself crafting culinary delights.

“Thankfully, I didn’t leave Costeaux,” says Heather.  “I’ve gone really far and I’ve learned a lot!”

Graduation Planning Advice

“When I think about graduation celebrations, I think about black and gold hats,” says Heather. “For me, Champagne Cake is a really good way to celebrate a graduate. You have to go gold and chocolate, it screams celebration.”

At Big John’s Market you can give the team a call to put anything on hold. Your graduation celebrations are important, and the team can make sure everything will be just right. Whether you are seeking a graduation gift like the classy, popular macaroon boxes or for a dessert to serve guests, the team can take care of you.

Heather’s Favorite 

Taking on the role at Costeaux inside of Big John’s Market has given Heather the chance to make custom cupcakes. It is a perfect project for Heather because she used to pipe frosting in her free time for fun. She liked that it was visually pleasing and the repetition of the act. “Truly, it’s been interesting experimenting on what is eye catching with cupcakes in the case,” says Heather. Stop by and say hello to Heather the next time you are in Big John’s Market! Ask her about her latest cupcake creations.

When Chef Jorge Flores took over the kitchen at Costeaux, he was passionate about local produce and building the vendor list.  “I knew I wanted to work with Preston Farms when I started at Costeaux because of their assortment and quality of their products,” says Chef Jorge. He has memories of visiting Preston Farms at the Farmers Market and tasting samples in his previous roles. In fact, he thinks it was the strawberries that led him to starting a wholesale account five years ago. “They are really well known for their strawberries,” says Chef Jorge. “Some of the best I’ve ever had in my life. They care so much about what they produce, it’s a small farm and they have great results. You find that sweet spot with a producer and you just run with it.”

Our Preston Farms Partner
On a cool, crisp Spring morning Chef Jorge Flores visited Preston Farms in the Dry Creek Valley. Farmer Kristin Morrison greeted Chef Jorge with an update on the farm, she is on her 10th growing season there now. She had just taken a break from picking strawberries on the certified organic farm. While on of the farm cats trailed along, Kristin led Chef through the property, along the berries to the green house where various starters were thriving.

“I love working with Chef Jorge because he is so knowledgeable on working with the flavors,” says Farmer Kristin.  “I grow it and he knows what to do with it.”

Preston Farms Fava Beans

One might describe Chef Jorge’s reaction to the rest of the tour as looking like a “kid in a candy shop.” He enjoyed trying the fresh strawberries, hearing about the “you-pick” programs they offer in different seasons and started getting creative with menu ideas on the spot as soon as he noticed the fava beans. Fried fava beans are looking like an addition to the special’s menu soon.

Eventually, the conversation turned toward community involvement. Farmer Kristin and Chef Jorge shared their current opportunities where they work with students of all ages in the kitchen and on the farm. Needless to say, their great minds quickly started looking at ways to collaborate in the future.

Farmer Kristin Morrison
In her role, she is constantly planning a season ahead. She works backwards to grow plant starters on time, make appropriate timelines to plant into the ground, and trestle if needed. She has goals to fulfill wholesale delivery needs, the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and to stock their own Farm Stand.

Farmer Kristin, Chef Jorge and Farmer Assistant Mariah

“I get most excited about tomatoes!” says Farmer Kristin. “I start working on them in February. Eventually, I plant them in the ground to work towards placing on trestles in May, with a goal to have them ripe for use in July.”

Ironically, Chef Jorge is also a fan. “Tomatoes are my favorite produce,” says Chef Jorge “You can use them in a lot of things. It takes those perfect ingredients that Preston Farms supplies to make a great dish.”

About Preston Farms
Lou Preston purchased the property in 1974 where he kept vineyards to UC Davis standards and continued to learn more. He learned about organic farming and the benefits of biodynamic gardening. Eventually, he became interested in native California plants and the history of the region with pears, prunes, and peaches. As Farmer Kristin says, “Through a perfect storm of wanting to make this change and Lou being a visionary, it all came together.” Lou continues to be passionate about the gardens and knows Farmer Kristin is continuing the legacy.

Preston Farms can also be found at the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. There they sell starters, and a nice mix of fruits, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers.

Enjoy the Preston Farms Experience
The drive itself to the property is not far from Costeaux bakery and cafe. However, it offers a windy retreat with a calming view. Preston Farms is open 10-4 year-round. It’s a short escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a farm stand visit and wine tasting. Preston Farms has various vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and cut flowers. During the week, you can visit and enjoy a game of bocce by the picnic tables. On the weekends, you can find a good mix at the well-stocked Farm Stand including shelf-stable items like Preston Farms Polenta.

Recently, Chef Jorge was at a loss of words trying to describe the polenta. “I tried their polenta for the first time last week and it’s…amazing!”

Spring is here, Sonoma County, and that means it’s time to trade stuffy dining rooms for the great outdoors! Picnics are the perfect way to celebrate the season, and Sierra at Costeaux Petaluma and Cynthia at Tia Maria are here to convince you why.

Sharing the Love (and the Food)

One of the best things about picnics, according to Sierra, is the shared experience. A potluck picnic lets everyone contribute a little something, showcasing their culinary talents and spreading the prep work around. It’s a fantastic opportunity to support local businesses too! Think of all those amazing cheese shops, bakeries, and specialty stores you can visit to create a gourmet spread.

More Than Just a Meal

Picnics are about so much more than just the food, though. Sierra says the whole effort of putting together a beautiful spread, like a charcuterie board, shows you put thought and care into the experience. And Cynthia highlights the change of scenery. Eating outdoors, maybe even on the ground, can feel refreshingly grounded and different from a typical meal.

Location, Location, Location!

The possibilities for your picnic location are endless! Spread out a blanket at the beach, take the kids to the park, or simply enjoy your own backyard.

Craving Inspiration?

Feeling stumped on what to bring? Sierra and Cynthia have some fantastic ideas!

  • Last-minute beach picnic: Pistachio Pasta Salad from Costeaux sounds like a winner!
  • Backyard picnic with friends: A delicious fruit tart is a crowd-pleaser.
  • Picnic with your goddaughter: A Parisian sandwich is perfect for sharing.

Picnics with Cynthia: Simple Delights

Cynthia keeps her picnics classic with sandwiches, coffee, and chips. Her secret weapon? The Parisian sandwich. These pre-made delights are perfect for picnics because they’re easy to transport and won’t get soggy. Pair it with a refreshing Coke for a no-fuss lunch.

Grab a blanket, pack a basket, and get ready to embrace the sunshine! Picnics are a delicious, and delightful way to connect with friends and family while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.