One of the best ways to explore Sonoma County’s back roads is by visiting local farms. Throughout Sonoma Coast you can find family farms and artisanal growers who are creating agricultural products that reflect their own unique terroir. Sonoma County encompasses a wide variety of landscapes: from oak-studded hills to flood plains, from redwood groves to windswept beaches.
Agri-tourism is alive and well in the heartland of Sonoma County. Small farms have turned to agri-tourism as a method of supplementing income and raising awareness about rural America. Some farms have interactions with the horses, goats, and sheep, as well as tour the organic gardens that supply the farm with fresh vegetables. You may purchase freshly collected organic eggs from the farm’s own hens. Sonoma County Farm Trails, the county’s organization devoted to agri-tourism, also sponsors a special weekend extravaganza (dubbed “Weekend Along Farm Trails”) once a year.
Sonoma Cheese Tours
Achadinha Cheese Company
Jim and Donna Pacheco’s 900 goats graze year-round on verdant pastures at the Pacheco Family Dairy, with grass supplemented with alfalfa and brewers’ grain from local breweries. Donna handcrafts all cheeses and makes her own smoked summer goat sausage.
Details: 750 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma, 707-763-1025
This is the closest you will ever get to real mozzarella di bufala in most of America, since owners Craig and Audrey Ramini raise real Italian water buffalo on their bucolic ranch. Call to schedule a tour and a picnic tasting, then stay to play with the adorable baby buffalo in the pastures and “calf town.”
Details: 175 Gericke Road, Tomales, 415-690-6633
This third-generation family dairy was founded by Irish immigrant Robert McClelland, and is now operated by his son George, George’s wife Dora, and their daughter Jana. They specialize in European-style organic artisan butter. Take a farm tour (offered seasonaly, by appointment only) to watch a cow being milked and pet a calf in the nursery.
Details: 6475 Bodega Ave., Petaluma, 707-664-0452
Pugs Leap Cheese at White Whale Farm
After running their goat dairy, White Whale Farm, for several years, Anna and Dan Conner took over Pugs Leap in 2010, continuing the high-quality cheese-making tradition.
Details: 5880 Carroll Road, Petaluma, 707-876-3300
At Freestone Ranch we raise Black Angus beef with good grassland genetics on gorgeous fog-kissed hills just inland from the Pacific Ocean. We don't use antibiotics, vaccines, or growth hormones.
They're delicious because we watch the grass very carefully, and we rotate them regularly, depending on the grass, the weather, the season, and good common sense.
We sell direct, in quarters, halves, or whole steers. Individual cuts are available at Bill's Farm Basket or Andy's Produce Market in Sebastopol, CA. Our beef is harvested humanely and locally, and it's dressed locally by butcher shops with deep history in the Sonoma County community.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org call us at (707) 876-4610.