Our recent story about Napa at a crossroads -- and the efforts to revive Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts -- brought back some fond memories for one reader. Mel Raab and his wife, Jan, visited Copia a few years ago on their first visit to Napa, and their garden has never looked the same. Here, he recalls that magical night when he became a mulberry farmer -- and his hopes for Copia's revival:
Copia's gardeners were startled by the dark red dripping down my arm, but all I wanted was more information on the tree I had just been standing under.
Here's how the night started:
As we pulled up into Copia's lot, we eyed grapes on haphazard vines clawing their way up the surrounding fence. If this is what passed for weeds in Napa, we couldn't imagine what Copia's gardens would hold. We noticed the manicured gardens fronting the two tracts near Copia's main building. The weather was inviting and the gardens vivid, so before going deeper indoors to Copia's formal exhibits, we stepped among the careful plantings.