Blue Barn Provisions

Blue Barn Provisions - Photo by Caitlin Thompson-1.jpg copy
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Christine Wehr - Photo by Caitlin Thompson-17

Blue Barn Provisions is located at 3400 Carson Ct., Placerville, CA 95667. It is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.

 

There is a new roadside attraction on Highway 50: Blue Barn Provisions, a gourmet market and eatery whose eponymous blue barn seems destined to become an area landmark. Offering local beers, ciders, wines, and picnic fare, Blue Barn Provisions is the ideal introduction to apple hill and wine country. Christine Wehr, who owns Blue Barn with her husband, Edouard Wehr, sees it as a “welcome center for the area, a first stop before visiting farms, wineries, or going off on other adventures.”

 

Christine, a fourth-generation Placerville native, and Edouard have operated a catering business for 25 years, serving clients from Tahoe to the Bay Area. They began looking for a space to start a different kind of business in the foothills, one that would draw from several of their many passions: outdoor recreation, design, cuisine, and the bucolic Apple Hill community. “With our background in catering, we felt like we were gifted something that we wanted to gift back to the community, something needed and appreciated,” Christine explains. “It is about the food and beverages, but it’s rewarding to feel like we are filling a need in the community where something is missing.”

 

When they found the barn—which, at that point, was still a rustic red—they knew that they had found something special. “It almost felt like it was custom made for us,” Christine says. The barn has lived a few different lives: First as a tractor barn built in 1960, then as a nursery and later a tasting room for Via Romano Winery. Finally, when Christine and Edouard acquired it, they painted the barn blue, “because every other barn is red,” Christine recounts.

 

The color of the barn isn’t its only unique quality. Edouard, a talented woodworker, created custom seating for the outdoor space. The inside is decorated with antiques, which the couple collected at local shops. A rolling garage door creates “an indoor-outdoor feel”, and a communal table constructed from a single enormous piece of wood serves as “the focal point of the main room.” The total effect is a carefully calibrated celebration of place: “We are in the foothills, so there is a farm motif, but also a little bit of a mountain motif in there.”

 

The refurbished and repurposed barn is an example of an architectural practice sometimes called adaptive reuse, which preserves our cultural heritage while adding vibrant new elements to the familiar contours of a community. In a community like Apple Hill, where a sense of place is everything, design strategies like adaptive reuse can return a building to civic life by enhancing, rather than changing or replacing, its essential character.

 

To complement its unique aesthetic, Blue Barn Provisions boasts a carefully curated menu of gourmet foods and local beer and wine. The menu represents a synthesis of the couple’s tastes and backgrounds: “My husband is more meat and potatoes, and I’m more healthful,” Christine explains. “He has a French culinary background while mine is in healthy food; I think we meld those together really well.” Their drink selection is decided as much by geography as by gastronomy, as most of their wines come from wineries within a five-mile radius.

 

Through partnerships with neighboring businesses, they’ve created a set of offerings that exemplify the offerings of the region, a kind of sample platter of local fare. This dovetails with their larger goal to be a community gathering place, a hub for locals and an ideal first and last stop for visitors. “The thought process was creating community space post-Covid,” Christine explains. “We wanted to make a place where people will feel comfortable gathering. We just want to round out the whole experience of the area.” So far, the community they are hoping to serve and represent has responded exactly as they hoped: “It’s been so rewarding to see people’s reaction when they walk in. There is a great feeling of welcoming from the community.”