The Fresh Trail

When Sonomans say “seasonal,” they could just as well say “micro-seasonal,” because every month brings a fresh wave of farm and garden growth. The rich agricultural landscape and varied climate conditions throughout the county mean something is exploding in blossoms or reaching the peak of ripeness nearly year-round. Yet spring is the most exciting time to be in Sonoma.

In May, that usually means nibbling the first juicy apricots, plums, blackberries, blueberries and cherries, and June heralds the first crisp green beans, sweet corn, meaty eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes and summer squash.

The peaches at Dry Creek Peach & Produce begin to ripen in late May.
The peaches at Dry Creek Peach & Produce begin to ripen in late May.

Dry Creek Peach & Produce owner Gayle Okumura Sullivan welcomes the first of her succulent peaches in late May and June, although her more than 30 varieties have such short ripening windows that savvy folks sign up for email alerts to learn the exact sales dates. They race to her Healdsburg roadside stand on Yoakim Bridge Road to grab the Red Havens and Snow Bites before they disappear.

Beekeeping and honey production is in Hector Alvarez’s DNA, though the owner of Hector’s Honey Farm in Fulton is also busy tending the tomatillos, cucumbers (lemon and Armenian), summer squash, sweet red onions, garlic, blackberries and other produce he sells at farmers markets, alongside pastel-blue eggs from his Araucana chickens.

This is a great time to explore the colorfully patchworked outdoors while hiking, biking and horseback riding in meadows and on mountainsides decorated in golden fairy lanterns, gorgeously aromatic Sonoma sage, chaparral pea and trumpet-shaped redwood lilies that morph from snow-white to deep purple and burgundy over their few months in bloom. The abundant farmers markets are delicious stops for farmstead cheeses, just-baked bread and local wine.

The Sonoma County Farm Trails guide is a handy resource for those seeking boutique producers and purveyors, such as Petaluma’s Free Range Provisions & Eats (try the smashed pea and prosciutto sandwich), McEvoy Ranch (olive oil) and Petaluma Pie Co. (gooey mushroom and goat Gouda pot pie). The guide details when products are in season in Sonoma and includes notifications of special events, tastings and demonstrations. Find it at farmtrails.org/find-sonoma-grown.

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