The johnnie-o team headed down to Bluebird Canyon farms with John’s brother Bill O’Donnell for an Oktoberfest to remember. In between the copper-red, full-bodied malty spiced and dry Bavarian Märzen Beers and some of Bill’s traditional recipes we even got to take some photos for the fall catalog.
If you’ve never heard of an experimental, urban organic farm, don’t feel badly. Laguna Beach residents Scott Tenney and his wife Mariella may have invented it. The two have created Bluebird Canyon Farm, a certified organic biodynamic urban farm. They want to see this site as an example of what is possible, to benefit and enjoy it as an urban homestead but also want to make it available to others in the community to also benefit from the things they are learning.
The experimental farm provides for their family and the community with local organic produce and supports a field-to-table program with local restaurants. It seasonally blossoms with a variety of organic produce, heirloom hens and hybridized bees. With an apiary that houses nine beehives! In addition to the raw honey they harvest from the beehives, Scott and Mariella also enjoy fresh eggs from their 17 hens. And, in true Bluebird Canyon Farms’ style, these are not just ordinary backyard chickens—they’re heirloom black copper marans, one of the rarest breeds in the U.S.
The stunning farm has the look and feel of traditional Laguna, which is disappearing to developers these days. Today, the two-bedroom Bluebird Canyon Lodge reflects a Bavarian heritage with spruce floors, cedar walls and a quartz fireplace and bar that give it a distinctly rustic feel. The lodge was used as the site of Transition Laguna Beach’s annual Harvest Celebration last year.
After all the farm work was done Bill hit the outdoor kitchen and whipped up a beautiful Oktoberfest feast for all of us, including Knödel poached or boiled potato (or even bread) dumplings usually drenched in gravy, served with meat. It provided the ultimate solution to soaking up a boozy belly. Also Schweinsbraten, one of the most common Bavarian entrees. Thick, juicy slabs of pork are served with savory gravy a complimented with Sauerkraut and Knödel.
Cheers to a bountiful Oktoberfest!