California farms outproduce all others in terms of food production. Yet most Californians have yet to step foot onto a farm and truly see all they have to offer. Let’s take a look at why California farm tours are worth partaking in, what the tours consist of, and where to find the top farm tours in California.
Why California Farm Tours are a Great Experience
Farm tours are a great experience for any family. An American farm is a fundamental part of this country’s heritage and farm tours are a valuable educational experience for both adults and children alike. You’ve likely driven through the rural countryside before and gazed upon many farms, ranches and orchards. However, there is so much more going on than meets the eye. By taking advantage of a California farm tour, you can get a behind-the-scenes perspective on how crops are grown, taking care of farm animals, and more!
What do California Farm Tours Consist of?
Generally, most farm tours will include:
- Strolling through gardens learning about fruits and vegetables—sometimes you will be able to harvest a fruit or vegetable to eat or take home.
- Learning how milk is made and doing it yourself by milking a cow or goat.
- Many farm tours feature petting zoos where you can interact with goats, sheep, llamas, and more.
- Seeing all sorts of birds including chickens, roosters, turkeys, geese, and ducks.
- Viewing and interacting with horses—some farms will allow you to mount and even ride the horses.
- It is common for farms that offer tours to have corn mazes—try your luck at not getting lost.
- Pick out a pumpkin for Halloween.
- Learning about farm equipment—tractors and watering systems are more interesting and complex than you may think.
- Enjoy a picnic in the beautiful California countryside.
Where the Best California Farm Tours Are
Wild Willow Farm & Education Center, San Diego County
A non-profit, education farm, Wild Willow has something for everyone from educational classes, community events, field trips and tours. Saturdays are open to the public for volunteering, exploring the farm and learning from the friendly farm staff.
Summers Past Farms, El Cajon, San Diego County
A small family business specializing in herbal farms, gardens (miniature and regular), lavender and a pumpkin patch in the fall. Classes are held in their barn for soap and other bath and skin care products on most weekends.
Tehama Trail, Tehama County
Known for olive groves and vineyards, Tehama Trail is a great destination for wine tasting. There is also a surplus of olive and olive oil farms offering tours and tastings.
Sierra Oro Farm Trail, Butte County
Similar to Tehama Trail, this county is full of wineries. It is also replete with dairy farms, olive farms and an exceptionally large chestnut farm.
Yolo County Farm Trail, Yolo County
Olives, peaches, and lavender are the focus of Yolo County Farm Trail. We highly recommend checking out an olive oil farm for a tour and tasting. The drive through this area is quite scenic as well.
Sonoma County Farm Trails, Sebastopol
Artisanal family farms and food producers are everywhere in Sebastopol. There are many farm tour options here, both guided and unguided.
Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Marin County
Marin Agricultural Land Trust is an optimal destination for those seeking farm tours north of San Francisco. Artisanal cheese production is the main highlight of this region. There are many sustainable, ethically-focused farms in Marin County in general.
Fresno County Fruit Trail, Fresno County
This trail is filled with farm stands, local food producers, and quaint country towns. We recommend visiting in the spring or summer when fruit is blossoming. That is, if you enjoy devouring pies filled with apples, plums, apricots, peaches and nectarines.
China Ranch Date Farm, Tecopa
If you find yourself near Death Valley, you may as well check out the China Ranch Date Farm. There is so much to learn about date growth and harvesting, and the free samples are always beckoning to be tasted. And don’t worry, the farm is in an oasis just south of the high-heat Death Valley.
The Flower Fields, Carlsbad, San Diego County
Are you not interested in driving east to partake in a farm tour? Consider looking at The Flower Fields, in Carlsbad, just 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego. Visit in the spring and view the 50 acres of gorgeous ranunculus (it’s a flower) with an ocean view in the background. This destination is great for San Diego natives.
California Cheese Trail
Are you a cheese fanatic? The great California Cheese Trail offers many cheese producers, with many of them offering farm tours. There are over 40 producers currently on the trail. It spans almost the entire state of California. If you find yourself at a cheese producer, consider enrolling in a cheese-making class.
Red Hawk Realty – Your Farm Tour Guide!
Have you fallen in love with the backcountry of California? If you haven’t already, check out the backcountry of San Diego. Red Hawk Realty specializes in buying and selling land in this region—we can help you find your perfect home, farm, or both!