Situated halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, modern Solano County has grown into a mix of suburban developments while maintaining its rural heritage, rolling hillsides and fertile farmland. Today that agricultural heritage is apparent in fun stops along the I-80 corridor. Whether you're on the way to Tahoe for the weekend—or heading down south on business—these one stop destinations—a simple exit from the freeway—connects you to California's Heartland right off the highway!
This week's Ag Traveler Gary Gelfand gets behind the wheel, to show you just how fast and fun three top Ag-tourism attractions off I-80 can be!
First stop—Dixon! Just 23 miles from the State Capital, The city was originally supposed to be named Dicksonville, after local citizen Thomas Dickson whose farmland had been donated to create a railroad depot. The region's ranches and farms can still be seen off I-80—and today, we'll visit the Cooley Brothers whose family has been farming walnuts and tomatoes for a couple of generations. Matt and Mark added pumpkins to their repertoire a few years back – and when the pumpkins weren't selling, the brothers came up with a unique way to market the crop, building the Guinness Book World Record of corn mazes. We'll meet the brothers and check out their a-MAZE-ing passion as they get ready for another record-setting year.
Next stop off the highway is Vacaville and one of California's favorite travel rest stop attractions! It's the world famous Nut Tree. The Nut Tree started as a fruit stand and its the first permanent restaurant building that opened in 1921. The Toy Shop and the Nut Tree Railroad opened in 1952. The railroad had a quarter-mile track running through the Nut Tree orchards and gardens. The Nut Tree Airport opened in 1955. A new Dining Room opened in 1958. In 1962 the U.S. Post Office designated the area Nut Tree, CA. We'll visit the new Nut Tree, which reopened in 2006 as a mixed-use development of Snell and Co. It contains Nut Tree Family Park (children's amusement park), Nut Tree Bocce Grove (bocce ball venue), Nut Tree Village (restaurants and stores) and Nut Tree Complex (retail, hotel, offices, residences)
Our third I-80 heartland stop truly showcases this region's agricultural bounty! It's not your average fruit stand! It's called Larry's Produce in Suisun – near Fairfield. Larry's Produce offers local peaches, apricots, plums, pears, sweet corn and melons. U-Pick crops, tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, eggplants and hot chilies. You'll find everything you need. Use Larry's wagons to help with your shopping.
Cool Patch Pumpkins
rest of Episode 913