3 Authentic Ranch Experiences
Petaluma is the best of both worlds: a little bit city and a little bit country. The city’s reputation as a foodie destination rivals that of San Francisco, our big city neighbor to the south. When it comes to the country-side of Petaluma, local ranches offer outdoor experiences that are unmatched in variety and interest. Here are three of our top picks:
McEvoy Ranch Walkabout Tour
Describing a ranch as “refined” may sound like an oxymoron but it captures the elegant and (literally) cultivated approach that McEvoy Ranch takes as the largest producer of organic olive oil in the US.
A ranch where you’re greeted by a giant sculptural bunny sitting atop the gate? From the moment you arrive, any preconceived ideas that McEvoy is a typical ranch are upended in the best possible way.
The hour-long “Walkabout Tour” begins in the sunny tasting room and then travels through the olive orchards. Enjoy stunning vistas of the 57-acre ranch and learn about its history before returning to the tasting room for casual olive oil sampling. Then browse their charming store for Ode Natural Beauty health and wellness products – many made with McEvoy olive oil – along with stylish kitchen items, tasty tapenades, and other unique gifts.
Garden Valley Ranch Flower Foraging
Imagine the heady experience of wandering amongst 8,000 rose bushes, breathing in the intoxicating fragrance and discovering shades of blossoms ranging from blush to burgundy. While you’re roaming the five acres of roses, choose your favorites to cut and take home in a bucket provided by the Ranch. Pack a picnic, blanket, clippers, and some heavy-duty gloves (thorns…ouch!) and enjoy being transported to a field of dreams for the afternoon.
Achadinha Cheese Company Farm Tour
“Achadinha” is an unusual name for a ranch but it speaks to the cheesemaking heritage of the Pacheco family. Three generations ago, Jim’s grandfather was making cheese in Achadinha, a parish in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. Today, those same time-honored skills are used on their ranch in Petaluma to make some of the best cheese in Sonoma County.
On the 90 minute tour, visit the cheese plant, milking parlor, and the loafing barns where the girls (goats and cows) hang out, and taste cheese!