肥沃的 中央山谷 stretches some 450 miles from roughly Orland south to Bakersfield—the pancake-flat belly of California. Farms and ranches unfurl to the edge of the horizon—blooming fruit trees in spring, head-high corn and brilliant yellow sunflowers in summer, russet grapevines in fall, lush lettuces in winter.
Farm stands dot the region, especially in summer. Look for hand-painted signs proclaiming what’s fresh and in season, then pull over to buy a pint of just-picked strawberries, or perfect peaches for your picnic, or maybe a jar of local wildflower honey for a sweet souvenir. Some bigger farm stands have become year-round destinations in themselves, with petting zoos, on-site bakeries, and irresistible gift shops—and even wine-tasting rooms. Here are some worth a detour, listed north to south.
这 Yolo县的意思 stand is open only from June until November but is acclaimed for its six varieties of peaches. The ranch also grows apricots, 樱桃, 辣椒, 和更多的, 但桃子规则, with an assortment of all-peach cookbooks, t恤, 和帽子. Watch through the big window as peaches get sorted into “first,”“第二个,” and “soft” rankings (the latter is prime for cooking or canning), then pick up some local jams (like the popular Triple Berry) and honeys to take home.
这 olive orchard and farm stand in Solano County specializes in olive oils and hydrosol lavender, the latter made from the sweet-smelling herbs grown on the family farm. It also hosts regular farm-to-table diners and occasional Vintage Marketplaces, lined with local 古董 dealers and food vendors.
这 farm store and cafe is known for its fresh produce and tall fruit pies, but it’s aligned with another great 中央山谷 crop: 洛迪 葡萄酒. The store is affiliated with Michael David Winery, on the same property, which produces such Syrahs and Zinfandels as the Freakshow Red and Seven Deadly Zins.
The Lucchetti family farm has been growing peaches—now 60 varieties—和更多的 since 1947. Choose among dried fruits and 坚果, or pick up baked goods like muffins, breads, and pies. The Lucchettis also salute their Italian heritage with on-site biscotti, panini, and gelato.
这 family farm goes back four generations, and now grows 180 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Its barn-style store has a huge variety of dried fruits and 坚果, along with a wine-tasting saloon and a “Route 66” shooting gallery.
Fresno State Gibson Farm Market,弗雷斯诺
Sample the wares of tomorrow’s farmers and producers at this store stocked with goods grown and created by students and faculty at Fresno State University. 味果酱, 坚果, 咖啡, and the university’s own TailGate wine (it’s the first college in the nation to have winemaking as part of its educational plan).
Located along the Fresno County Fruit Trail, this family farm stand specializes in peaches, 李子, and nectarines—including some varieties you won’t find in your local supermarket. It’s open from June through September, also offering lots of tomatoes, Armenian cucumbers, and ornamental cut flowers. If you can’t cart away a bushel, you can at least take home some of their recipes, like those for Blushing Peach Pie and Lemon Blueberry Tea Bread.
这 store and restaurant started in Traver as a place to buy the family’s artisan cheese. Now it has four locations—also in (, 杜瑞, and Kettleman City—and offers a variety of produce and products from the 中央山谷 as well as barbecue, 古董, and an acclaimed house lemonade. Regulars love the cheese curds to go.
California Fruit Depot贝克斯菲尔德,
这 farm store outside “Bako,” as many locals call it, specializes in their own sweet navel oranges and Coachella Valley-grown Medjool dates. The stand is open year-round, but peak sweetness for the oranges starts in December and lasts well into May. You’ll also find a variety of 坚果, olives, licorice, and Jordan almonds.