|Solano Harvest Trails
When you think of Solano County you think outlet stores and other shopping
malls. But take the road less traveled, a short distance off the freeway
and you're transported into another world-one of bucolic beauty, personable
people, and some of nature's finest products. Welcome to the splendid
Suisun Valley, dotted with family farms just waiting for visitors. Before
setting out log onto the Napa Yolano Harvest Trails website (www.napayolanoharvesttrails.org)
and grab a map.
Our first stop-Morningsun Herb Farm west of Vacaville. "Well, when
they first arrive they can walk through the gardens. We have everything
in established gardens out here. So you can see what's in those little
four-inch pots are going to grow up to look like," said Rose Loveall.
After completing her Masters Degree in Environmental Horticulture Rose
and her husband, Dan, started this nursery business in 1994.
The farm includes state of the art greenhouses where all of the nursery
stock is grown. And you should stop by the gift shop for a plant, or piece
of garden art. "We've definitely started to expand into wholesale.
So you can see a lot of our herbs at other nurseries now. All over the
Bay Area and the Sacramento area. Although our favorite love is still
for people to come out here and enjoy our gardens," says Rose.
A few miles down the road from Morningsun farms is our next stop-Ledgewood
Creek Winery. It's in the Suisun Valley appellation. You probably didn't
know that there were wineries here, but there are with some pretty wonderful
vintages. This is a somewhat hidden wine country-unpretentious and not
congested, according to Rick Wehman, Ledgewood Creek's general manager.
Says Rick, "Suisun Valley is the best kept secret. We grow amazing
fruit here in the valley and some award-winning wines. Very few people
know about us yet. But great wines here."
Ledgewood Creek has grown 400 acres of wine grapes for well known Napa
and Sonoma wineries since 1987. In 2001 the family-owned operation began
blending its own premium wines and today makes 8 different varietals.
Ledgewood is best known for its Merlot and Chardonnay.
Drink in the breathtaking scenery outside and visit the spacious tasting
room before heading to a corner stop for lunch. The Vintage Cafe is no
greasy spoon-but a beautiful, little gourmet delight, serving scrumptious
American and Italian faire. And you can also get a glass of Ledgewood
or another local wine to compliment your meal.
If you saved room for a snack, or you're looking for a locally grown gift
don't miss Cal Yee's Farms. The centerpiece is a rustic house, turned
shop. Inside, a complete stock of dried fruit and nuts adorn the walls.
Eva Yee Palm is one of five siblings born on the property and puts in
12-hour days to keep it going. Palm's father joined his father from China
around the turn of the century to run the fruit orchard. "The reason
why we dry the fruit is because this is a valley and it's just perfect
for drying fruit," said Eva.
Cal Yee Farms also has dried fruit packages and beautiful baskets that
can be shipped anywhere. So from nuts, to wine, to beautiful blooms a
trip along the Solano Farm Trails makes for a lovely day.