Follow a Farm Stand Trail in Northern California: Local Farm Fresh Eats from the Oregon Border to San Francisco
Calling all roadtrippers that truly savor their adventures. Northern California’s farmlands produce a bountiful array of fruits, vegetables, dairy, flowers and other selections that will delight. Grab a friend-in-food and follow your taste buds along Northern California’s farmstand trail where farm fresh eats, treats and treasures are waiting to be gobbled up. Bring your sense of adventure and your appetite.
Starting in California’s northwestern corner, Alexandre Farm is a family-owned dairy that embodies environmental stewardship. You can swing by the farm just north of Fort Dick and check out their organic practices and beautiful acreage, or head east a few miles to the Alexandre Farm Store. Open year-round Wednesday through Sunday, browse their selection of organic milk — including their new A2 organic milk that enables dairy-intolerant folks to enjoy milk again — cream and eggs as well as grass-fed beef and pastured pork.
Just a few minutes south of the dairy farm store, you’ll uncover a local favorite for organic produce: Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick. Ocean Air is committed to the seasons, so you could find yourself thumbing through green beans, cucumbers, potatoes, brussel sprouts or chard depending on the harvest. Check out their roadside delights at their farm stand every Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sunday 12-3 p.m. from June through October. November visitors can still grab some greens on Saturdays from 12-3 p.m..
Continue south for about 5 miles for a blue heaven. Blueberry Hill Farms in Crescent City delivers on fresh berries that travel well. Pack them for your Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park camping trip – it’s just a skip away – or snack as you cruise down Highway 101. Bounce in for your berry fix in late summer; the stand is subject to the harvest but is typically open July and August Monday through Saturday.
If you need your bounty conveniently amassed in one place, Del Norte County has two farmers’ markets to meet your needs. Swing by the Crescent City Harbor any Saturday 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. from June through October for local produce, meat, cheese plus homemade and artisan goods. Downtown Crescent City also features a farmers’ market Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from June through October. Meet the farmers and the locals while sampling some amazing local food.
Side Trip: Bike along Wonder Stump Road, a redwood tree-line country road in Crescent City, and stop by Blueberry Hill Farms for a mid pedal pick-me-up snack (open seasonally).
Continue south to explore the fertile fields of Humboldt County. After your beach or redwood adventure, pick up some fresh goodies to cap the day off.
Start in the northern part of the county at DeepSeeded Community Farm in Arcata. Eddie Tanner has been tilling the land for more than a decade. Wander through fields of bright flowers, grab some berries or vine-ripe tomatoes and admire the adorable piglets in their pen. DeepSeeded Community Farmstand is open seasonally Tuesdays and Fridays 2:30-6:30 p.m.
Head south about 5 miles where the flowers and the chickens run wild at Redwood Roots Farm. This diverse CSA and market garden has been harvesting fresh vegetables, flowers, herbs, and berries since 1998. Select the best purply green crown of broccoli, a head of crisp lettuce or hearty root veggies. Their stand delights the eyes and the mouth June through October Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-6 p.m.
These are just a few of the local farms around the county.
Arcata boasts one of the oldest and best Farmers’ Markets in California. Organized by the North Coast Growers’ Association Farmers’ Market, the market is open on Saturdays year-round. Wander down aisles of plants, produce, meats, oysters and crafts with local music in the air at the Arcata Plaza Market from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Farmers Markets are also held in Willow Creek and Southern Humboldt and other locations during the week from June through October all over Humboldt County.
Side Trip: Snack on fresh Pacific oysters from Humboldt Bay. Take an Oyster tour or belly-up to an Oyster bar at Humboldt Bay Provisions. Oyster-lovers will want to mark their calendar for the annual Oyster Festival every June . Off-bottom Pacific oysters were given the “Best Choice” rating by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
Lake County boasts fishing, boating, wining and dining among many things to see and do. Not so surprisingly, the region’s rich soil also means the farm stands that dot the countryside have an awesome selection, ripe for the picking.
Begin your savory safari at Edenberry Farm in Lakeport. The jellies alone are worth the journey! The stand keeps the jams, eggs, vinegars and berries stocked from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Stop by Wednesday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Pop by the Peace & Plenty farm stand in Kelseyville, California, seven days a week. Farmers Melinda Price & Simon Avery stock their honor stand daily with sun ripened seasonal fruits, veggies and hand crafted products (think organic walnut oil, soap, lavender sugar, pickles, jams and more) all lovingly grown and tended on their property. Plus, they are the largest growers of organic saffron in the United States.
Just six miles southeast is the husband-and-wife-owned Love Farms. Ron and Bibiana Love specialize in organic vegetables. Stop in on Wednesdays June through October between 1 and 5 p.m. to uncover what the season has to offer – heirloom tomatoes, summer squash and rainbow chard just to name a few.
Head south just a quick but beautiful two miles to Renker Farms’ farm stand for a funky yet rustic vibe and the freshest food. The stand is typically open daily mid-June through November 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Cut your own flower bouquets, sort through fragrant pears and peaches or select the perfect squash. And it’s definitely a fun pumpkin-picking stop for the family when the fall season hits!
No matter the month, you can always score fresh finds at the year-round Lake County Certified Farmers’ Market at the fairgrounds on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. There is also a Tuesday Morning Market running May through October at Library Park in Lakeport.
Side Trip: Hike and bike along private trails on a historic working ranch and winery in Lower Lake, California. Six Sigma Ranch & Winery has an impressive variety of hiking and biking trails — including wildflower hikes in May. The best part is ending your day lounging on the outdoor heated patio with a glass of Asbill Valley Sauvignon Blanc in hand.
Start with delicious coastal climate vegetables at Nye Ranch farm stand in Fort Bragg. Open every Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., you’ll find broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage grown using organic amendments and compost tea they brew themselves. Don’t miss the chance to stroll down beautiful flower fields to bundle your own sweet peas and poppies in the spring or snapdragons and chrysanthemums during fall.
Cruise down the coastal Highway 1 just eight miles for the fantastic Fortunate Farm in Caspar. This family farm teems with lush soil to produce heirloom vegetables and flowers. The stand is open six days a week 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed on Thursdays). You can even zen out in the garden with a yoga class or arrange for camping to appreciate the land a little more.
Next, head inland through the enchanting forests of Mendocino County to Velma’s farm stand at Filigreen Farm two miles north of Boonville. As you peruse fresh produce, olive oil and fresh flowers, you’re actually walking through history. Velma’s Farmstand is named after Velma Farrer, who worked that very land through much of the 20th century. She and her husband owned the farm and ran a farm stand that stood on the same site as the current one. Unearth something delicious June through October on Fridays 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If your trail time is limited, plan to stop by the Fort Bragg Certified Farmers Market year-round on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. Sink your teeth into fresh berries, melons, greens and squash. You’ll also find some vendors offering artisan goat cheese and meat including organic, free range beef and wild-caught local fish. From May through October, the Mendocino Certified Farmers Market is a fun lunch stop on Fridays in Downtown Mendocino.
Side Trip: View babydoll lambs mowing the grass on a Pennyroyal Farm tour in Boonville, California. These miniature sheep are an adorable attraction but we might love the artisan cheese selection and wine a wee bit more.