Everyone asks me what my story is, and quite frankly, if you had asked this question just a year ago it would have been a very, very different story.

I grew up in Central California where my family farmed, and still farms, almonds. We lived just about two miles from my Grandparent’s ranch in Ceres, where I spent five-days-a-week (and sometimes more) as a kid running in the orchard or riding on the forklift with my Nonu. It is here where my love for fresh from-the-farm ingredients first began.

Besides their forty acres of almonds, Nonu and Nana had a small plot of land that surrounded their farmhouse where they planted an array of fruits and vegetables. Depending on the season, you could find everything from zucchini, eggplant, fava beans, tomatoes, and oregano to peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, and cherries.

Being able to plant, pick, prepare, and plate this fresh produce was essentially the beginning of my culinary quest. I didn’t know it back then, but those fresh flavors would create a palate that I would eventually be able to build upon as an adult. So here I am… after twelve years of living in Southern California as a professional musician, I’ve headed back home to the Central Valley with my fantastic (and extremely supportive) husband and find myself pursuing a food-filled fantasy.

Please join me on this tasty adventure of fresh, family-inspired recipes.

Buon Appetito,

Cotta’s Almond Orchard
Cotta’s Barn
Cotta’s Steers
Cotta’s Almonds