North Bay Farm Adventures

Find out where your food comes from and get to know your farmer! Spend a day on the farm in and around Marin.

Pumpkin Patches Further Afield

September 19, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

While there are plenty of awesome pumpkin patches to choose from in Marin and southern Sonoma counties (see our list of those here), you can find other great places to pick up pumpkins and other Halloween and autumn treats throughout the greater Bay Area. Maybe you're headed on a road trip to the south bay, or bound for the grandparents' house in Sacramento this October—there's probably a pumpkin patch on the way. Here are a few out-of-town pumpkin patches, in Solano, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties, that we've visited at one time or another or had recommended to us.

Get Your Tickets Now for Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms

September 18, 2017

Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms In addition to producing healthy and sustainable local food, Petaluma's Tara Firma Farms also puts on fantastic family-friendly events throughout the year. This fall, their annual Pumpkins on Pikes event continues this tradition. Come on out to the farm for Halloween fun with pumpkin carving, live music, dancing, a corn maze, BBQ and more.

Pumpkins on Pikes takes place on Saturday, October 28, from 2 to 10 pm. Bring your pumpkin carving tools, blankets and coats to stay warm after dark, a sheet to cover hay bales for seating, and favorite treat for the dessert potluck. Free pumpkins for carving will be provided with admission. The carved pumpkins are placed on pikes out in the cornfield, and when the sun goes down, the pumpkins are lit. It's an amazing spectacle! A BBQ dinner will be available for purchase $10 a plate at the event.

Apple Walnut Bread is Delicious and Easy to Make

September 10, 2017

In the late summer we love to go apple picking at farms in Marin and Sonoma County. It's so much fun to choose and pick your own fruit, but sometimes you end up with more apples than you know what to do with. I've been trying to figure out different creative ways to use apples, since I hate to see any go to waste.

Fresh-baked apple walnut bread is delicious, easy to make and a great way to use up extra apples. It also makes the house smell amazing while it's baking. It's good as part of breakfast, as a snack, or even dessert. My kids love to get a slice in their lunchboxes, too.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Marin and Sonoma Pumpkin Patches 2017

September 5, 2017

Fall is almost here, and for those seeking that true Halloween pumpkin patch experience, here's our annual guide to pumpkin patches in Marin and southern Sonoma counties. Most pumpkin patches open in late September or early October.

In Marin County, Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a real on-the-farm experience and the Godmother's Pumpkin Patch at St. Vincent's is a local tradition and an exciting Halloween experience for families. For more real live farms offering pumpkin patches this season, head up north a short distance to rural Sonoma County, where you'll find them in relative abundance. We visited as many of these pumpkin patches as we could last year, and have posted links to our reviews of them below.

We've included dates and hours for pumpkin patches when available. Hours are correct as of the time of publishing, but it's still a good idea to check a pumpkin patch's website or give them a call before you go in case anything changes. As a rule, most pumpkin patches are open during the whole month of October, although a few open in late September. Pumpkin patches listed here are open through October 31 unless otherwise indicated.

U-Pick Apples and More Farm Fun at Chileno Valley Ranch

September 4, 2017

Apple picking Chileno Valley Ranch

Apple season is getting underway, so why not make a day trip to the farm and pick your own? While most of the apple farms in the North Bay are clustered around the western Sonoma County town of Sebastopol (which is famous for its apples), you can actually pick apples right here in Marin County at beautiful Chileno Valley Ranch.

Located in West Marin's Chileno Valley, this ranch offers u-pick apples on Sundays in September (or whenever the apples run out). Reservations for apple picking on Sunday, September 10 are full, but you can register for September 17 and 24 starting today (Labor Day, September 4). Owners Sally and Mike Gale also raise grass-fed beef, sheep, and chickens on the ranch, and there's a lot to see and do there for apple-picking families.

Dine in with Meal Delivery Services in Marin

August 13, 2017

Munchery meal delivery service

Like many families in Marin, we lead busy lives—so busy that sometimes important things like family meals can get lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, that's where meal delivery services come in! These local culinary life-savers provide you and your family with delicious, healthy meals as well as the opportunity to sit down together at dining table in the evening, without having to resort to fast food or some other quick solution.

Here are some of the meal delivery services that deliver to homes in Marin County. All these services deliver throughout the county (usually with the exception of West Marin) unless otherwise indicated. If we've missed your favorite, please let us know about it and we'll consider adding it to the list. With all of these services, you can place your order online via the web or a mobile app. We've personally reviewed a few of these services, so read our reviews via the links to learn more.

Hands-on Fun for Fall at Slide Ranch

August 11, 2017

Slide Ranch is a great place for family members of all ages. We tried out one of their family farm days in the past and my kids had a great time petting the sheep planting seeds, milking a goat, and making nature crafts. They offer guided tours and lots of hands-on activities, including collecting eggs from chickens, planting seeds, sampling from their organic garden, learning to make crafts and food just like the early farmers, and exploring the nearby tide pools.

Slide Ranch is located off of Shoreline Highway in Muir Beach. Below is a list of their upcoming fall events. Their programs often sell out quickly, so you need to plan ahead if you are interested in participating. Register for programs online at www.slideranch.org.

Pick Your Own Apples in the North Bay!

July 25, 2017

Apple Picking

Late summer marks the start of apple season, and plenty of the tasty and popular fruits can be found in the North Bay, especially in the area around Sebastopol in western Sonoma County. Sebastopol is the de facto apple capital of the Bay Area, and it's justifiably famous for its Gravenstein apples, a variety that you won't find grown commerically anywhere else. While it's fun to eat and cook with apples, it's even more fun (and educational) to head out into an orchard and pick them yourselves!

If you're not lucky enough to have an apple tree growing in your backyard, then head up to one of the local apple farms that offers a u-pick experience. It's a fun family outing, and prices and quality are usually bettter than you'll find in the supermarket. There's nothing quite like an afternoon on the farm, too.

Celebrate Spring with Blossoms, Bees & Barnyard Babies

April 28, 2017

Baby lambs

This spring, Sonoma County farms are abundant with seedlings and barnyard babies. Pack up the family and head out to the farm to celebrate spring and meet baby animals! Tour Sonoma County's back roads and visit the farms of your choise where you can participate in activities including farm tours, demonstrations, animal petting, games and crafts for kids, tastings, cooking demonstrations, flower arranging, and more. Many participating farms will offer snacks, lunches, and fantastic sites for a spring family picnic. Farm stands will be offer for fresh-from-the-source produce and products for sale.

Explore Windrush Farm for Family Fun

April 3, 2017

Windrush Farm

This weekend we had the chance to take a tour of Windrush Farm outside Petaluma. This working farm, sited on 25 rolling acres of green fields, is home to a both variety of animals, including sheep, goats, alpacas, and chickens, and some fantastic family programs, like music classes, summer camps, and more. It's a beautiful place, especially on a sparkling clear and warm spring day. It's an amazing educational resource that feels like it's a world away but is only a 20-minute drive from Novato.

We met up with Arann Harris, who organizes the educational programs on the farm, which his mother, writer Mimi Luebbermann, founded over 20 years ago. Arann, a musician and former naturalist at Walker Creek Ranch, showed us around the farm and introduced us to the farm's animals, including some adorable lambs and baby goats.