Sebastopol is not a town that is accustomed to, let’s say, a lot of change. The biggest thing that happened here last year is the record store — that had been there for something like 60 years — closed and The Uncarved Block, a store named for the Taoist principle of Pu that exclusively sells hunks of base minerals, expanded (yes expanded, because one storefront simply was not enough) into the space. Just to give you an idea.
But in 2013, a lot of new energy will come to the Western Sonoma town — being pulled and organized by the force of The Barlow, a culinary center similar to Napa’s Oxbow Market. In March, the first tenant opened his doors in the former apple factory. At his tasting room, Greg La Follette's Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are available to visitors for the first time.
While he won’t be making his wine there, others are, including classic Sonoma Pinot producer Kosta Browne and Pax Mahl’s quirkier Wind Gap. Also bringing the sweet smell of fermentation to the center is Woodfour Brewing Company, Warped Brewing Company and Spirit Works Distillery.
The region's many small farmers will be well-represented by cooperatives Farmers Exchange of Earthly Delights, or F.E.E.D., the Sebastopol Farmers Market and the Community Market.
The center isn’t going full yuppie, though. Aubergine Vintage Market, The Tibetan Gallery and Studio (where a Tibetan master artist will teach classes on thangka or traditional Buddhist scroll paintings) and CeraLuna, featuring “the wearable art of Waxing Moon Batiks” (made from organic cotton) will preserve the Sebastopol spirit.
Tenants will be opening for business throughout the summer of 2013. For more information and a complete list, visit www.thebarlow.net