5 Culinary Day Trips You Can Take from San Francisco
San Francisco is undoubtedly a well-known culinary capital. But what many visitors don't realize is that the Bay Area has so much more to offer—Northern California is the birthplace of the farm-to-table movement after all. And, no, we're not just talking about Napa, as close as it is to our hearts. Set a day in your calendar to drive out to one of these hidden culinary gems—you surely won't regret it.
Yes, the Sonoma Valley has more than just wineries—this family-owned bee farm produces an award-winning organic honey, while also maintaining more than 5,000 lavender plants, allowing the farm to go pesticide and fertilizer free. And while those romantic lavender fields are reason enough to visit, what you're really going for are the various artisanal products to stock at home, more specifically, the love child to have come out of this symbiotic relationship: the Petaluma Lavender Blossom Honey.
While Hog Island Oyster Farm is a familiar name to both locals and tourists alike, most visitors only stop at shucking their fresh bivalves. Go a step further and book an hour-long tour to see the farm's land operations—you'll see the entire process of oyster farming from cultivation to harvest and learn how the waters of Tomales Bay add to the oysters' unique flavor. Trust us: The ones you'll shuck afterward will taste that much better.
When you're visiting the scenic seaside town of Pescadero, make sure to visit this award-winning goat cheese farm. Learn each step in the production of its signature chèvre by scheduling a tour that starts by meeting the farms' herd of 200 alpine goats and ends with watching the cheese-making process in the dairy. As you're walking around the farm's edible garden, don't forget to say hi to the farm's hardworking staff—Rosie the donkey and the llamas, to name just a few.
Now, McEvoy Ranch isn't technically a secret to anyone who's visited its olive oil shop in the Ferry Building, but not everybody knows that you can actually drive out to the ranch in Petaluma. Visitors can explore the property's orchards and olive mills before sitting down to a tasting of the ranch's renowned organic virgin olive oil paired with seasonal bites from the private gardens. And, oh, it definitely doesn't hurt that the ranch makes its own wine, too.
Blink and you'll miss the strawberry fields forever. In this case, Swanton Berry Farm's two U-Pick strawberries spots just off of Pacific Coast Highway. This local hideaway is California's first organic strawberry farm, built on an honor system that trusts all visitors to leave cash in an unguarded metal box. Stop by the farm's shop afterward to pick up a farm-made jam or pie; if you're lucky, you'll even get to watch the farm's staff bake a strawberry shortcake or two through the window.
Brea Salim is an Indonesian food writer living in the Bay Area by way of NYC and New England. Follow her on Instagram at @breasalim15.
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