Wine Country beyond grapes
Sonoma Wine Country is famous for world-class wines and some of the best food in America. But winegrapes are only six percent of the total area of this diverse region that famed horticulturalist Luther Burbank called "the chosen spot of all this earth, as far as Nature is concerned." Sonoma County's farms supply the Michelin-starred restaurants of Healdsburg, the chic cafes of Yountville and the tony markets in San Francisco, just 45 minutes to the south.
One provider of fresh fruit, Dry Creek Peach and Produce in the Dry Creek Valley has just opened their farm stand at their property on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the summer. The fruit thrives in the ideal growing climate of Sonoma wine country. The peaches are left on the trees to ripen in the California sun as long as possible to maximize their sweetness and freshness, just as the farm's original owners did when they first planted more than 50 years ago.
New products like organic peach jam (quickly snapped up by top restaurants such as Alice Waters' Chez Panisse) have been introduced, and the orchard is home to more than 30 varieties of white and yellow peaches, as well as nectarines, plums, pluots, figs, persimmons and Meyer lemons.
Other new treats include Dry Creek Peach Bellini mix, Dry Creek Peach chips, peach wood for barbeques, and peach pruning wreaths. One of the best activities ever is to attend one of Gayle's wreath making classes, where those Bellinis flow, and peach snacks are savored while everyone makes their own custom designs to hang on a door or wall.
As summer wears on and the peaches start to wane, then the Gravenstein apple makes it's early return to local markets. Celebrated as an heirloom variety and listed in the "Ark of Taste" with Slow Food USA, this sweet, fragrant apple is beloved by chefs and home cooks for its versatility in pies, apple sauces, desserts or just crunched fresh..
Discover another true Sonoma County treat. The Crane Melon Barn first opened in the 1920′s after Oliver Crane developed the melon. The Crane family originally built the barn out of Redwood trees in 1868. This rustic, yet tasty look into the agricultural history of Sonoma County is great for families, foodies and friends. Swing by the Crane Melon Barn this fall for a taste of Sonoma County.
Sonoma County, located 50 kilometers from San Francisco, is America's premier wine, spa and coastal destination, featuring more than 350 wineries, over 100 organic farms, and 80 kilometers miles of stunning Pacific coast.
For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit sonomacounty.com.