Food Finds, CA from OR border to Monterey, off I-5 and I-101
This post is a bit different from the restaurant requests. I'm specifically not looking for these, but for food shops and factories/plants.
We'll be travelling down one highway and up the other. I'm interested in where to stop to get phenomenal takes on a particular food product. Hopefully places where we can sample and get some wares for the road.
We'll actually be coming from Seattle, so I'll post on PNW board too. I know about the Rogue Creamery in OR and Cypress Grove Creamery in CA, so I've probably got my cheeses covered.
What else? Are there places to get exceptional bread? Chocolates? Fruit? Smoked fish? Charcuterie? etc....
I feel like I've seen signs for this from the freeway before. Is it worth a stop, or is it just kitsch? If worth a stop, what products are worth what I'm assuming is a touristy type sticker price hike?
I just realized we'll be passing through Castroville and Gilroy as well. Are there good places to try foods featuring the local crops? I'm thinking casual lunch spots...
Both Olive Pit in Corning and Granzella's in Williams have endless varieties of Olives and other pickled vegetables and stuff.
Local rice was always available too. Touristy but still local stuff if you like stuffed olives.
I always have to get in a plug for Bartel's on the West side of I-5 at the North exit. Wonderful hamburger stand.
451 Sixth St, Williams, CA 95987
2156 Solano St, Corning, CA 96021
Should you have a cooler, Pedrick Road Produce in Dixon, south of Sacramento. Good produce and dried selections, but we stop on a regular basis for the flour tortillas (to die for!) and slab bacon that is sold there. It's the only bacon we buy anymore. They have a nice selection of produce, beans, grains, and dried fruits. Plus, they're local, indie and super-friendly.
since you're going to be in the Monterey Bay area, this might interest you:
and this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8756...
Santa Cruz has some good cholatiers: http://www.donnellychocolates.com/
Out in Carmel Valley you might find Earthbound Farms interesting. Or not.
If you are traveling to or from Monterey to I-5 via Hollister and Pacheco Pass Rd (most direct route) you might include a stop at Casa De Fruta produce stand, NOT the restaurant. Nothing spectacular here (tho' the garlic is pretty good). An amazing variety of summer fruits and nuts at the fruit stand. Good leg-stretching spot. Clean restrooms. No Cheetos. Coffee shop, Chevron Gas Station, steam RR, wine tasting (though not the best wines).
Near Watsonville, a few miles north of Monterey, is a little community called Corralitos. There is a market there which smokes their own meats and sausages. Corralitos Market and Sausage Company. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/688452
On the way up Highway 1 to Watsonville, just outside of Marina, is the ranch of Pezzini Farms, artichoke growers. Their large stand (big metal building) sells their artichokes in all sizes from tiny to jumbo and you can get info for shipping too. I always send a big box to my brother who lives out of state. Be sure to have some grilled artichokes during your Monterey stay. Monterey Fish Co. does them well.
just at he eastern outskirts of Watsonville is Gizdich Ranch where they sell boysenberries, raspberries and apples. Grab a whole pie to eat later or enjoy a slice at a table. Very 'ranchy"--not too slickly touristy. An area institution.
55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, CA
Corralitos Market & Sausage Co
569 Corralitos Rd, Watsonville, CA
Casa De Fruta Restaurant
10031 Pacheco Pass Hwy, Hollister, CA 95023