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visiting farms in SF Bay area

shoh5223 Apr 1, 2011 08:11 AM

Hi, my boyfriend and I are coming out to the Bay Area (from NYC) for a wedding in Sonoma and is extending our trip by a few days. We were in Napa two summers ago and greatly enjoyed Bottega, Bouchon Bakery, Schramsberg and Kelham Vineyard. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a reservation at French Laundry, but was wondering if you folks could recommend some additional places to check out? We'd love to find a working farm w. a restaurant like Blue Hill at Stone Barn to visit. We're also thinking of visiting Big Sur, so any recommendations around there would also be greatly appreciated. Thank you much!

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Bouchon Bakery
6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

  1. d
    DavidT Apr 1, 2011 09:06 AM

    For information on farms in Sonoma County, check out the Farm Trails website:


    Otherwise, go to the upper righthand corner of this page and do searches for Sonoma and any town in the county your are thinking of visiting (Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, etc.). You will find dozens and dozens of helpful suggestions already here for you to review.

    1. Ruth Lafler Apr 1, 2011 09:16 AM

      I'm not aware of any restaurant that is doing "working farm" to the extent of raising its own animals. There are quite a few restaurants that either grow their own produce or have affiliations with farms that grow produce specifically for them. Since you're going to be in the Sonoma area, you might want to check out the Vineyards Inn in Kenwood and the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville.

      Farmhouse Inn
      7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

      Vineyards Inn
      8445 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, CA 95452

      1. Robert Lauriston Apr 1, 2011 09:19 AM

        I can't think of any restaurants located on working farms. There are zoning restrictions that would make that difficult. The closest thing I can think of is the Apple Farm in Philo (Mendocino County, so would be discussed on the California board) has cooking classes.


        Out Standing in the Field organizes dinners on farms. Reports here have been mixed, which makes sense since there are so many variables.


        Vineyards Inn gets spectacular produce from its organic garden. I'm not sure if you can tour it.

        Vineyards Inn
        8445 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, CA 95452

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          wally Apr 1, 2011 10:05 AM

          Manresa has a farm, Love Apple Farm, but it is not located on the farm. Not Big Sur, but i that direction.

          Manresa Restaurant
          320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

          1. re: wally
            Robert Lauriston Apr 1, 2011 10:12 AM

            Generally, the only way to visit Love Apple Farm (Santa Cruz County, so discussed on the California board) is to sign up for a class:


        2. wolfe Apr 1, 2011 11:43 AM

          Harley Farms, pet the goats, eat the cheese, book a dinner.

          Harley Farms
          205 North St, Pescadero, CA

          11 Replies
          1. re: wolfe
            Robert Lauriston Apr 1, 2011 12:10 PM

            Harley Farms on the way to Big Sur, if you take the scenic route down 1, but you have to book months in advance.

            Harley Farms
            205 North St, Pescadero, CA

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              wally Apr 1, 2011 12:22 PM

              Big Sur is a moot point if they are coming soon, due to the slides.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                Windy Apr 1, 2011 12:57 PM

                Only the dinners are booked months in advance. The regular farm tours usually have availability.

                1. re: Windy
                  Robert Lauriston Apr 1, 2011 01:05 PM

                  Farm tours without a meal are abundant in Napa and Sonoma.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Ruth Lafler Apr 1, 2011 02:34 PM

                    Right. There are lots of restaurants that have affiliated farms, and there are lots of farms you can tour that don't have restaurants. But a restaurant that's actually on a working farm (i.e. more than just a vegetable garden). Can't think of one.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      CarrieWas218 Apr 13, 2011 11:17 AM

                      I've got one for you - although not huge, Brixin Napa has farm right on the edge of the vineyards outside their restaurant. They often give mini tours of what is growing and being pulled for various dishes. It isn't a huge farm by any means, but modest and respectable they showcase it on their website: http://www.brix.com/garden/

                      1. re: CarrieWas218
                        wolfe Apr 13, 2011 12:09 PM

                        I don't know, sounds more like a vegetable garden rather than a "Farm."

                        1. re: wolfe
                          CarrieWas218 Apr 13, 2011 01:37 PM

                          I agree, but it is better than nothing if that is the experience they are looking for and is the best thing we have to offer!

                2. re: Robert Lauriston
                  myst Apr 13, 2011 09:01 AM

                  Harley Farms has about 200 baby goats right now, so you might enjoy that..plus the cheese is vary good and Half Moon Bay area has a few nice places to eat. Right near the farm is Duarte's which is more like an old school diner with fresh pie and artichoke soup. I'm not a fan of crab salad, but their crab melt is popular with people too (I don't like mayo....).

                  Harley Farms
                  205 North St, Pescadero, CA

                  1. re: myst
                    bbulkow Apr 15, 2011 01:57 AM

                    I think the cheese is only OK. It doesn't stand up to the astonishingly great cheeses of Sonoma, and certainly not worth a 2 hour drive.

                    1. re: bbulkow
                      myst Apr 15, 2011 11:10 AM

                      I would not suggest making it the point of your trip, but if you are in the area anyway its not a bad detour and the little market in town give you a couple other options for snacks too. Some people go just to see the goats, but I don't really like the smell :b. They reported 206 kids this year.

              2. m
                MrsWheatie Apr 1, 2011 12:25 PM

                Zazu restaurant and farm in Santa Rosa

                Zazu Restaurant
                3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                1. s
                  shoh5223 Apr 13, 2011 05:17 AM

                  thanks everyone for all the wonderful suggestions. We've decided to check out Manresa in Los Gatos, skip Big Sur and just spend a few days in Half Moon Bay before heading up to Yountville for dinner at French Laundry.

                  Manresa Restaurant
                  320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                  The French Laundry
                  6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: shoh5223
                    Ruth Lafler Apr 13, 2011 09:21 AM

                    Sounds like a good plan.

                    1. re: shoh5223
                      artychokeasana Apr 15, 2011 09:22 AM

                      I recently moved to Half Moon Bay from the bay side of the Peninsula and love it here. Where are you going to stay? If you do a search on Half Moon Bay you'll find some good recommendations for food and dining-but as long as I'm typing I'll suggest dinner or lunch at Pasta Moon it's essentially produce driven California Italian food and drinks and a snack at La Costanera (actually in Montara) in the downstairs bar area or on the patio because the view is stunning.

                      Pasta Moon
                      315 Main St., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

                      La Costanera
                      8150 Cabrillo Highway, Montara, CA 94037

                      1. re: shoh5223
                        artychokeasana Apr 15, 2011 09:30 AM

                        One more thing-you might like to drive down the coast from HMB to Pie Ranch. On the 3rd Saturday of each month they have a work party day followed by a pot luck dinner and a barn dance. If you are not here on a 3rd Saturday they have a farm stand on weekends that sells produce and pie. They are a pretty cool group of people-practicing sustainable farming methods with a mission to educate urban kids about agriculture and good food.

                        Pie Ranch
                        2080 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero, CA

                      2. j
                        janeyoc Apr 14, 2011 06:18 PM

                        How about this ranch dinner hosted by a bakery?


                        Also I would check out the Cowgirl Cremery cheese tours.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: janeyoc
                          Windy Apr 14, 2011 06:33 PM

                          I love Della Fattoria, but $90 seems kind of pricey for a pizza dinner. Have you been?

                          On the other hand, their farm lodging sounds like fun and it's a good value: http://www.dellafattoria.com/ranchAcc...

                          Della Fattoria
                          141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                          1. re: Windy
                            wally Apr 14, 2011 09:27 PM

                            Rumor was that they used to cook lamb in the wood burning oven for the dinner.

                            1. re: Windy
                              Robert Lauriston Apr 15, 2011 08:42 AM

                              $90 without wine is a bit steep but it's not just pizza: "... local cheeses, Della breads, artisanal salumi, nuts and fruit to start. For the main event we bring out big platters of seasonal salads, roasted, grilled and stuffed veggies and pizzas served with grilled meats from our outdoor flat top wood-fired BBQ.To finish we serve coffee and seasonal fruit desserts made by our pastry crew at our downtown cafe."

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                Windy Apr 15, 2011 11:21 AM

                                Yes, it's a bunch of salads and pizza with unnamed grilled meats. And pastry, served family style with folding chairs.

                                If it were a $90 prix fixe in the city for that, people would laugh at them. Of course it's half what those crazy Outstanding in the Field people charge, but then, they have white tablecloths.

                          2. c
                            cvhound Apr 15, 2011 11:01 AM

                            Perhaps this would be of interest to you?


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