Sonoma Rustic: Free Fall Farm Tour

You're the guide as you wend your way among growers, animals, bees, beauty.

Weekend Along the Farm Trails

AUTUMN AMBLE INTO FARMLAND: Though growers are always growing and people who tend to fruit trees and vines are always tending and those who raise pigs are always raising, pretty much throughout the calendar year, there is something about the start of fall that puts a rustic-longing thought in many city dwellers' minds. Perhaps it is the signs for the pumpkin lots that start springing up on various corners, or the brisk note to the breezes, or daydreams about holiday dishes we hope to make (and where all of those ingredients hail from). The first weekend of autumn is, in short, an ideal time to wend your way around the back roads of Sonoma County, getting to know those farms and ranches and spreads that don't always make that most famous of Sonoma libations but rather oversee the growing of gourds and the care of goats and the keeping of bees. Actually, that's not the full story; vintners, of course, are a staple in the Sonoma made-from-the-land economy, so you'll definitely see some wine-growing action, too. The free Weekend Along the Farm Trails spreads out over two days, Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27, and spreads out over a good-sized chunk of the county. Excited by the idea of self-guiding your way around that "good-sized chunk" via helpful maps? You should be, because, in a word, there shall be...

PIGLETS TO ADMIRE: Need we type anything else? That should seal the deal of you heading out onto this educational, land-beautiful adventure, but there's more. You'll get acquainted with "Sonoma County's agricultural bounty" via stops at spots like creameries and nurseries. You'll also be able to pick your own apples and, wait for it, dig for your own potatoes. Classes, meet-and-greets with the growers, and food trucks shall abound throughout the region. As you head into the holidays, with more cooking on the horizon, figure this to be a fine way to connect with those who grow and make a caboodle of cuisine-starters, from vegetables to dairy products to dozens of items found on the fridge or pantry shelf. Plus, yes, there will be pumpkin patches, if you want to jump-start your jack o'lantern action. Again, all free, save the gas for your go and anything you purchase at food trucks and such along the field-rich, piglet-oinking way. And, as mentioned, it is free, but you'll want to register.

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