Delight in Nature on a Tour des Fleurs
Take a stunning seaside drive about 30 minutes south of San Francisco and you’ll find yourself in Half Moon Bay. A crisp, clean seaside town with cold ocean beaches, fried fish shacks, and farmer’s markets, Half Moon Bay has a special charm that feels worlds away from the bustling city.
The cool-but-sunny climate of this coastal region makes it the perfect place for some fantastic florals. Over the weekend I attended the Tour des Fleurs, an annual opportunity to go behind the scenes at local nurseries, greenhouses, wineries and farms, many of which are not generally open to the public. It was a perfect day—one filled with flowers and food.
My first stop was the Bay City Flower Company, also known as Hana Bay Flowers. This major nursery grows potted blooms year-round for sale at supermarkets and shops nation-wide. Growing roses, hydrangeas, calla lilies and more, they are experts at creating the ideal environment for brilliant blossoms. A tour of their facilities offered growing tips and photo opportunities. Live plants make a lovely gift, so I’ll be keeping an eye out at stores for their creations.
My next stop was Harley Farms, a restored 1910 dairy farm with up to 200 alpine goats on nine acres of pasture in a quaint little town called Pescadero, just inland from the ocean. Over time, the farm grew from six original pet goats to today’s herd, supplying the farm with plenty of milk for its delicious cheese. The chevre, fromage blanc, and ricotta from Harley Farms have won national and international awards. My heart, and tastebuds, were especially won over by the salty, tangy feta. As an added bonus, Harley Farms grows a pretty selection of edible flowers they incorporate into their cheeses to add color.
Harley Farms is open year-round for farm and dairy tours, cheesemaking classes, and farm dinners. Visitors get to see a working farm in action and watch the milk move from goat to dairy, and from curd to cheese. You’ll also get to play with the goats, who are friendly little creatures who love attention. The farm staff offers cheerful tours full of fun facts, and the day ends with a tasting in the gift shop. If you’re looking for souvenirs, I can think of nothing better than their exquisite cheese. To plan your tour and tasting, go to their website.
The day ended in a field full of culinary delights on a tour of Jacobs Farm / Del Cabo, a company that grows herbs and produce and strives for a sustainable, organic approach to agriculture. Longtime organic farmers Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin created Jacobs Farm, a successful organic farming operation that grows fresh, pesticide-free herbs for consumption. Additionally, the pair encountered a community of struggling, subsistence-level farmers in Mexico and created the Del Cabo cooperative as a collaboration between Jacobs Farm and growers in Mexico. Starting with just a handful of families, Del Cabo now provides over 400 farming families with needed training in organic growing, harvesting, and handling, as well as start-up funds, farming technology, and consistent distribution channels—ensuring the best return for small-scale farms. It’s a great way to spread a sustainable message to new communities in need, and provide delicious produce for a wide range of markets. Find out more at Jacobs Farm and Del Cabo.
Be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s schedule and go behind the scenes in Half Moon Bay at next year’s annual Tour des Fleurs.