From the editors: Delicious destinations
June/July 2012 California Bountiful magazine
Ready for a road trip? Check out our list of farm trails.
More online: Related articles
Peach juice dripping down your chin, plump blackberries staining your fingers and teeth, sweet corn pulled from the stalk and husked for dinner—these are simple joys of summer. If you were lucky enough to grow up in a rural environment near farms or on one, harvesting food in the morning or afternoon for that evening's supper was just how you ate.
For many people now, the weekend farmers market is often the closest source of fresh-picked produce. Some have never enjoyed plucking sun-ripened fruit straight from the tree. Fortunately, you can find that experience by seeking out one of the many farm trails throughout California. These trails are mapped by county or region and list farms and ranches open to the public for tours, tastings, U-pick fruits and vegetables, and other activities such as milking a goat, stomping grapes and riding an old-fashioned wagon.
There's something magical for kids about fruits and vegetables when they are hand-picked by eager little fingers. It seems when children are involved in picking the biggest strawberries they can find or a perfectly shaped zucchini, that food tastes better. Perhaps the same could be said for us adults!
As harvest time comes around for summer fruits and vegetables, we urge you to pick up or print out a farm trail map, pack the cooler in the car and hit the road to explore where your food comes from. The only challenge might be getting the berries home to make a cobbler before the kids eat them all!
Traipse along a farm trail
No matter where you live in California, chances are there is a farm or ranch nearby where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables, ride a hay wagon or taste wine. In the article below on ag adventures, we compiled a list of more than 20 farm trail maps throughout the state where farmers and ranchers have opened their gates to visitors. To search for more agricultural activities in your area, you can also check out www.calagtour.org and www.visitcalifornia.com.