Califonia Bountiful

Giving thanks

Couple grows and serves food at new restaurant.

You may remember Matthew and Terces Englehart from our story a few years ago. They're the owners of the small but popular chain of restaurants in the Bay Area called Café Gratitude.

You may also remember Café Gratitude because the menu was particularly unique—nothing but raw food was served there. And in a town where being different is embraced, the idea was a success and so the couple recently opened another eclectic restaurant in San Francisco called Gracias Madre. The name of the restaurant has special meaning for the couple. Its literal translation is "thank you, mother" in Spanish, and Matthew and Terces say it is both an ode to mothers everywhere and to Mother Earth.

The Engleharts have also branched out when it comes to where they get the majority of their produce. In addition to supporting farmers across the state—from New Natives of Watsonville to Rivenrock Farms in Nipomo—the couple now has one more place to source farm-fresh ingredients: their own farm.

Located in the hills of Vacaville, about 60 miles east of San Francisco, the couple's new farm and home is aptly named Be Love Farm, and you don't need the myriad signs talking about love—or even Matthew's tattoo that has the farm's name permanently displayed on his forearm—to see how much this couple is loving what they do for a living now. They have planted almost anything and everything they could think of to see what would work and how they could use it on the menus of all of their restaurants. And their switch from cooking food to growing food has been eye opening for both.

"I've learned in farming that your failures and successes are there for everyone to see," Matthew said. "As long as you see it as an ongoing experiment, you'll be OK. But if your ego gets tied up in it, it can be difficult. You have to have some humility because Mother Nature is definitely in charge out here."

Whether cooking for family and friends at their farm or for customers at their restaurants, the couple is grateful to be able to bring the best food they can to people all across Northern California.

"I'm always amazed when I get up and start working on the farm," Terces said. "I always see something I've never seen before even though I walk the land every day. I'm always amazed and thankful."

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