Life's little intersections can reveal deep connections, and sharing a meal is one of the most common ways that happens. A friend visiting from the east coast, John "Taiko Man" Ko introduced me to his drumming friend who invited us to dinner and then, the next thing, I'm learning all about my local community's history and eating amazing food.
Hideaki Nishikura, a baker at Wild Flour Bread, took our intrepid New Yorker and me, along with a doting grandmother and a giggling son, on a personal tour of his hometown, Sebastopol. I feel privileged to have this insider's peek into a little known community and hope to inspire a few of you to take the trek north to visit the town during this time when autumn's colors and flavors are at their peak.
Sebastopol was named after a battle site in Ukraine, during a time when our young nation sympathized a bit more with the Russians than the English. From the mid-19th to mid-20th century, the surrounding farms and orchards depended on the town for all their needs, and to this day, the area is known as the leading producer of the world's supply of Gravenstein apples. Tourism and art play increasingly important roles as small towns learn to survive in the big-box era, but fortunately, a strong sense of place and community make Sebastopol a wonderful place to live for young families.