This community commentary was contributed by resident Julie Finigan Morris. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
This article previously appeared in the Mission Village Voice.
Living in San Benito County provides us with a unique opportunity to visit working farms and ranches. For many Californians, it takes hours to drive to areas where you can pick a rare Blenheim apricot fresh off the tree or wander through fields of sunflowers. Due to ongoing rules surrounding the COVID pandemic, many local farms and ranches have adjusted annual field days and farm tours, but that doesn’t mean our working landscapes aren’t open for business. The new normal is to plan ahead and make reservations. Several local farms also offer online ordering, shipping and curbside pick-up.
B&R Farms on Fairview Road in Hollister is hosting its popular U-Pick apricot events on weekends beginning June 25 and going through mid-July, 8 a.m, to 3:30 p.m. Apricot King Orchards on Westside Road sells their Blenheim apricot products at farmers markets and online, and Fairhaven Orchards on Highway 25 offers online shopping for its cherries, nuts and apricots, with curbside pick-up Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
And don’t forget two places you can reliably stock up on a variety of fruits, veggies and other farm products all season long: Downtown Hollister Certified Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays 3 p.m.-7:30 p.m. and Pinnacle Organically Grown Saturday morning farmstead 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at 400 Duncan Ave. in San Juan Bautista.
Wineries are also opening for the summer months and look forward to hosting the public for tastings and tours.
“We are currently open for outdoor reservations and are offering three experiences on the estate. Join us for a wine tasting, a picnic, or an ATV tour throughout our vineyards,” said Amy Vogt of Eden Rift Vineyards.
Tastings are exclusively outdoors, with masks and social distancing required when you are not seated at your table.
For a list of open farms, wineries and markets featuring locally-sourced foods, check out the Chamber of Commerce website at: www.savorsanbenito.com. Learn more about how SBALT is working to protect San Benito’s precious agricultural lands at www.sanbenitolandtrust.org.