After a nice…lazy…sleep in morning, we finally threw some clothes on and drove around to check out the area. This place was a 5 minute walk to the beach and there was a cute little village area as well as random restaurants and cafe’s nearby. We needed to get groceries for the week, so set out for a place called Ricardoes Tomatoes (www.ricardoes.com) . It consisted of several huge greenhouses which are known for their juicy red tomatoes and ripe strawberries. Since they are all grown through hydroponics (only water and nutrients…no soil needed) and inside a greenhouse, they are in season all year round. As we pulled into the driveway, we saw they also had a cafe and little store selling their goods as well as other local specialties.
We sat down and ordered a salad and bruschetta and then looked around the store at all the different jams, honey, tomato sauces and salsa etc.. They also grew different kinds of lettuce which looked perfect and still had their roots attached…so like a flower, as long as we put it in a vase of water at home it would last much longer than usual. We decided we really couldn’t resist the strawberries. They handed us each a pair of scissors and a bucket and pointed to one of the greenhouses.
We heard massive bees nearby which they obviously use to pollinate their strawberries as well as jar the honey. Once inside, we saw rows and rows of red strawberries growing out of pipes full of water. We spent a good half hour cutting our berries and plopping them into the bucket until it was overflowing. We bought tons of tomatoes, a salsa, some lettuce and a few other things and got back in the car.
As we started driving, we realized…this too is a small wine area and we were very close to a winery. Who are we not to stop at a winery? It’s almost like our duty at this point, so we pulled into the driveway of Cassegrain (www.cassegrainwines.com.au) . We did some wine tasting and learned about the cool climate wines of the area. We bought a bottle and then stopped at the grocery and butcher. We picked up the remaining groceries we needed as well as some meat and were back at our place.
We made a yummy pasta with the juicy red tomatoes from today as well as the fresh sausage from the butcher. We accompanied that with a healthy salad made with the lettuce we had just purchased and drizzled it with the balsamic and olive oil we had gotten direct from a local farmer. We of course opened a bottle of wine we had picked up at a winery along the way and sat down to enjoy our feast for the evening.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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