We’ve been having a really dry rainy season in the Bay Area this year. That’s not good as everyone here keeps telling one-another in the most serious of tones, though all the extra sunshine and dry days are a naughty-to-wish-for-but-who-cares-about-tomorrow winter bonus for us at the WC. We’ve been taking full advantage. Just the other day, we leisurely drove down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. It was simply gorgeous. And since the weather’s good but we’re not in the touristy part of the year, traffic’s easy and things aren’t too crowded, so you sort of feel that the World is, in fact, waiting on your every whim, but in a good way. Ah! I like it.
Well, I’m rambling here, once again.
Anyhoo, that day we had four in our group. We stopped frequently for pics of the ocean and the coast. I took a lot of ultra-close up shots with my hand-held, which I thought made the beach look like it was Martian or something. Very cool.
After our admiration of California’s natural beauty, Swanton Berry Farm was one of those random stops along the way. They’ve a really neat sign at the side of the highway introducing passers-by to the berry farm. It seems that depending on the season, visitors can go pick their own strawberries from their extensive patch. Sadly, winter wasn’t the correct one.
The inside of the little shop is super quaint, filled with colorful rustic agricultural knickknacks and signs that are so in vogue right now. They make numerous jams here. I particularly enjoyed the olallieberry though all the samples that I tried at their little tasting bar were quite yummy. We also got some of their baked tarts. Mmmm.
Swanton is union run and operated since 1983. Everything’s organically produced. According to their web site they distribute some of their products through various farmers markets. At the store itself, they trusted you to pay on your own and even make your own change. Cash only at the farm stand.
What made the experience especially memorable wasn’t the charm or the way the funds were handled (or not as the case may be) but the Swanton Berry Farm commitment to being organic and recognizing that they’re part of a larger, regional, national and even international network of food grower/producers and consumer/eaters. I think that this kind of vision is far too rare in the food-universe. They’re setting a great example for all of us. Good for you guys!
Oh, and of course, I did like the jam.