Down to Earth: Meal of a Lifetime

| October/November 2003

Ron Zimmerman looks at the world through a different set of glasses than most people, but his way of looking is refreshing. After many years in the corporate world, he moved to France and studied cooking in some of France’s finest restaurants.

Eventually, Ron and his wife, Carrie Van Dyck, moved back to Ron’s hometown of Seattle. His mother was selling herbs, literally from a wheelbarrow at the side of the road. Ron, knowing that good food and herbs are nearly inseparable, expanded the existing business and opened a small retail herb nursery on his parents’ land. Then he converted some existing buildings into a restaurant, and The Herbfarm was born.

Very quickly, the restaurant blossomed into something remarkable. Reservations quickly became hard to come by. It wasn’t unusual to wait a year or more for a reservation.

They served lunch and dinner, both for a set price with a set menu. Lunch was $65 per person and took two hours. Dinner was $165 per person, which included four hours of eating and nine courses of food with seven wines.

The Herbfarm is now housed in the winery district of northeast Seattle, in completely new surroundings. The old building on the family farm burned a few years back, and this was the first I’d seen of the new location.

Dinner at The Herbfarm is unlike anything you will ever experience anywhere. This isn’t the kind of meal, or experience, that you dash into and expect to eat and leave quickly. The Herbfarm’s tantalizing experience allows guests to savor the flavors of the freshest herbs and vegetables grown by the restaurant staff and picked just minutes before cooking.

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