Having survived two super busy weekends starting with Butter & Egg and culminating with Easter, reasonable Petalumans might be eyeing this Sunday as the perfect do-nothing, lounge-around the house kind of day, but they’d be wrong.
That's because this Sunday is Blossoms, Bees and Barnyard Babies: the Sonoma County Farm Trails’ Spring Farm Tour.
Are you looking for a local farm where to buy fresh produce? Would you like to show your children how bees make honey? Have you ever wondered exactly what that little farm down the road is up to? Now is your chance.
The people that you’ll meet at each stop are passionate about what they are raising, like Deborah Walton of Canvas Ranch, located west of Petaluma.
“We are a county rich in farmlands, beautiful pastures, and ancient orchards – and families literally starving because they are so disconnected from real food,” Walton said.
Walton’s place out on Tomales Road is a family farm that specializes in culinary and medicinal herbs, vegetables, Asian pears, lavender and Araucana chicken eggs. Not to mention that it's a rare opportunity to cuddle adorable newborn Olde English Babydoll lambs.
A $25 pass per vehicle gets you a cotton sack of snacks for the road plus “farm-bucks” for on-site purchases. You’ll also get a road map to dozens of farms, ranches and artisan producers of gourmet yumminess with stops in Forestville, Healdsburg, Penngrove, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Windsor and Valley Ford.
You couldn’t possibly visit every site in one day. But the good news is, the lion’s share of farms are in and around Petaluma, making it a no brainer way to spend a Sunday.
"I love to talk to kids and adults about their agricultural roots because once you start growing something, it makes you realize that food is precious,” said Nancy Barlas, owner of Barlas Boer Goats.
The Sunday activities at Barlas Boer Goats will include goat cheese and goat milk ice cream tastings throughout the day, and at 11am and 2pm Dawn Russell will host a “Chicken Keepers' Advice and Solutions” Q&A.
Another participant, Garden Valley Ranch Rose Garden on Pepper Road, will have a special demonstration on flower arranging and all day five gallon rose plants in pots and freshly cut garden roses for sale. This isn’t just any rose grower – Garden Valley Ranch Rose Garden was featured in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine this month.
Of course, is participating. Located out on Old Adobe Road, this is the place that grows produce for Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley.
, one of Sonoma County’s newer – and most talked about – farms will be on the route, showing off its bio-intensive farming practices. They also sell pasture-raised beef, open pasture pork, chicken and eggs by subscription with weekly, bi-monthly or monthly boxes available at several drop off points in the Bay Area.
“Farmers need to help educate the general public about where their food comes from, who grows it, and how hard the work is to do it all,” said Walton.
A great way to wind the Farm Trails Spring farm tour down is at in downtown Petaluma, where each pass holder will receive one free seed packet and one tree seedling – to get you started on your own growing adventures.