Living in the city, it's easy to forget where our food comes from. More often than not, we buy our food at the grocery store, shrink wrapped in plastic, sourced from some far-off part of the world.
Despite these modern challenges, the Bay Area is an incredibly food-driven city. Locals pride themselves on knowing a lot about food and caring for the source of their ingredients. "Grown locally" is one of the most prized labels on Bay Area menus and food markets. Eating local is increasingly taking this to a new level. New "urban farms" have popped up starting up in the Bay Area, converting unused residential and commercial land into lush gardens for growing food and raising small livestock.
Click through the arrows above to see some of the local farmstands and farms that you can visit in and around Silicon Valley. Some of these farms offer tours and all of them sell fresh, homegrown produce and hand-crafted food. All of these farms are kid-friendly and make a fun day trip for the whole family.
Several of these farms are located along California’s Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay, south to Watsonville so they make a good stop on any Highway 1 road trip.
Looking to incorporate more healthy, local foods into your daily life? Check out this list of weekly farmers markets in San Jose or Silicon Valley. Looking for other food-related outings and experiences? Check out this guide to foodie things to do in San Jose and Silicon Valley.
Pie Ranch, Pescadero
Pie Ranch is a working organic farm and farm stand on the San Mateo County coast, south of Pescadero. While they do sell locally baked fruit pies at the farm stand, they are named for the triangular shape of their 14-acre farm property. Pie Rach has a mission to inspire sustainable food production and food system education. They host local high school students to participate in educational activities around cooking, farming, and nutrition. The farm also helps to mentor new farmers through their apprenticeship program. They also host organize volunteer opportunities and social events including a monthly barn dance
You can pick up a variety of seasonal produce and artisan food products and baked good at their farm stand. They will also give you a map and let you do a self-guided walking tour of the fields and grounds -- including their heirloom black pigs and a group of resident goats.
Pie Ranch, 2080 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero - Farmstand: 560-879-0995 - Website
Farmstand Hours: Open seven days a week, seasonal hours -- call for more information
Harley Farms Goat Dairy, Pescadero
Harley Farms Goat Dairy produces award-winning goat milk chevre, fromage blanc, ricotta, and feta cheese. They raise a herd of 200 on their historic dairy farm near downtown Pescadero.
The farm and cheese store is open year-round. The dairy organizes one-hour public farm tours that give visitors of all ages the chance to get out into the pasture and visit the animals. The tour takes you through all steps of the cheese making process from the milking room to their working farm kitchen. It’s a fun experience for kids who will get to meet the goats and learn to press and mold the cheeses. To book a tour, check their website for upcoming dates.
Travel tip: The best time to visit the farm is in the spring for the chance to meet the season's baby goats!nce to meet the season's baby goats!
Learn more about Harley Farms in this post: Visiting Harley Farms Goat Dairy.
Harley Farms Goat Dairy, 205 North Street, Pescadero, 650-879-0480 - Website
Farm & Cheese Shop Hours: Thursday through Monday, 11 am to 4 pm
Swanton Berry Farm, Davenport
This seasonal berry farm offers you-pick strawberries at their Davenport farm and you-pick strawberries, ollaliberries, and blackberries at their site in Pescadero. Both sites have farm stands where they sell ready picked berries and locally made treats. All of their produce is certified organic. The farm prides themselves on their responsible labor practices and hires only union (United Farm Workers) employees.
The Davenport site has lovely views off toward the Pacific Ocean. Both stops are right off of Highway 1 and make great stops on any drive down the San Mateo to Santa Cruz County coast.
Swanton Berry Farm, 25 Swanton Rd, Davenport - Website
Coastways Ranch U-Pick, 640 Highway 1, Pescadero.
Hours: Davenport Farmstand: Every day, 8 am to 8 pm. Coastways Ranch: Open Friday through Sunday, May to September.
Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos
This small family-owned egg farm is hidden in the hills above Aptos, California and it's worth stopping here after a trip to the beach. Glaum Ranch is 100% cage free so you can feel good about the chickens that gave your eggs.
The highlight of your visit is the quirky "egg vendor" farm-made vending machine built into the side of the barn. Enter four one dollar bills into the machine and you are treated to a seasonally changing music box style puppet show at the window and a flat of 18 white eggs. Quirky fun for kids and grownups alike.
You can also buy eggs and local food products inside their farmstand.
Glaum Egg Ranch, 3100 Valencia Road, Aptos, 831-688-3898 - Website
Farmstand Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm; Saturday, 8:00 am to 10:30 am; closed on Sunday
Taylor Street Farm, San Jose
Taylor Street Farm grew out of a university project founder Zach Lewis was doing for his urban planning Masters thesis at San Jose State University. He was studying the growth of urban farming and a local developer offered to loan him a small, undeveloped parcel of land to see if he could start a farm on it.
Fast forward a few years and the Taylor Street Farm is a thriving one-acre urban farm at the intersection of Taylor Street and the 87 freeway. The farm is run by Lewis’ nonprofit Garden To Table, a food and farming education and food policy organization that helps neighbors set up community gardens and harvesting surplus fruit from urban fruit trees to donate it to local food banks and nutrition programs.
The farm stand is open every Saturday and you can pick up seasonal fresh produce and some local artisan food products.
Taylor Street Farm, Next to the Citibank at 200 W Taylor St, San Jose - Website
Farmstand Hours: Saturday, 10 am to 1 pm (spring and summer)
Veggielution, San Jose
Veggielution is a 6-acre urban farm and farmstand in East San Jose’s Emma Prush Farm Park. The farm is an important part of the diverse East San Jose community and offers a pleasant retreat in the shadows of the 101 freeway.
The farm is dedicated to education, community, and leadership building. Executive Director Cayce Hill says, “It’s not about pounds of food produced, but rather, about the connections that are created among people and the leadership that emerges from the community.”
The farm stand is open every Saturday for you to pick up farm fresh produce and locally made foods. The farm also offers cooking classes (in English and Spanish), home gardening workshops, and volunteer experiences for all ages.
Veggielution, Emma Prusch Park, 647 South King Road, San Jose - Website
Farmstand Hours: Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm.
Other Farms & Farm Experiences
Here are some other local farms that offer farm stands, farm tours, and agricultural experiences.
Andy's Orchard: 1615 Half Road, Morgan Hill. This family-owned stonefruit farm has been growing fruit in the Santa Clara Valley for three generations. The farm runs a Country Store (open 10 am - 6 pm weekends and 10 am - 4 pm weekends) and runs tours on select dates. Check out their event calendar for more information. 408-782-7600
Full Circle Farm: 1055 Dunford Way, Sunnyvale. A local urban farm that offers farm tours, volunteer opportunities, a CSA, and a farm stand. 408-475-2531
Blue House Farm: 950 La Honda Road, San Gregorio. This Pescadero-based farm runs a farm stand open every weekend from 10 am to 5 pm. 650-879-0704
The Agricultural History Project Center & Museum: 2601 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville. This local museum documents the agricultural history of Santa Cruz County. This museum is open every 2nd Saturday of the month (for their "Saturdays on the Farm"), 11 am - 3 pm, and other days by appointment. 831-724-5898
Local agricultural festivals and events:
- The Coyote Valley Family Harvest Feast is a celebration of locally-grown food, local farms, and Silicon Valley’s agricultural roots. The event will feature cooking demonstrations, farm stands, music and entertainment from around the world, guided hikes, and food vendors. This year's theme is urban agriculture and will feature local urban farms (Veggielution and Garden To Table) offering workshops on home gardening and home-crafted food. Find out more and RSVP here: www.CoyoteValley2016.eventbrite.com.
- The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. A California-famous festival celebrating everyone's favorite fall crop, pumpkins. The event features a parade, food and culinary experiences, entertainment, kid-friendly activities, and the famous giant pumpkin weigh-off. Find out more about this popular local event here: Guide to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.