14 Petaluma farm stands you must visit this season
From fresh fruit just-picked produce, there’s a smorgasbord of ‘agricultural diversity’ of farm-fresh foods year-round
Grab a map or a well-charged cell phone for directions and head for Petaluma, where there are numerous farms and farm stands dotting the countryside and in urban locations.
Summer is an ideal time to explore the agricultural offerings around the community, where the bounty includes just-picked produce, newly cut flowers and fresh chicken and duck eggs. Some locales even offer tempting baked goods still warm from the oven.
“Besides being delightful outings for all ages, farm tours are essentially educational in nature, helping folks to better understand the importance of supporting local food systems, to appreciate the true cost of well-grown food, to realize the role that regenerative agriculture can play in addressing the climate crisis, and to celebrate the farmer heroes who nourish us all with the fruits of their labors,” Sonoma County Farm Trails Executive Director Carmen Snyder said in an email.
She praised the “agricultural diversity” in the county, where there’s a smorgasbord of farm-fresh foods year-round. You’ll find everything from homemade jams to organic honey, olive oil and herbs, and artichokes to zucchini. Currently, sweet, juicy strawberries are at their peak and, coming soon, enough apple varieties to support the proverb, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Most farms don’t use any pesticides or other chemicals and many are certified organic and follow sustainable farming practices.
From east Petaluma to Two Rock Valley and the rolling hills near west Marin, there are farmers welcoming visitors, self-serve farm stands with honor payment systems and opportunities galore to see where healthy food is sourced.
“Most people are very grateful we do this,” said Patrick Krier, who with his wife, Bree Bagnaschi-Krier, operates Suncatcher Farm on Bodega Avenue west of town. “We receive a lot of gratitude.”
The couple sells organic produce and flowers at their “veggie shack” farm stand, where the selection includes potatoes like Yukon Gold and Bodega Reds, Romano beans, carrots, radishes, several varieties of lettuce and sunflowers the size of dinner plates.
The produce is harvested just hours earlier, or within a day or so of picking, giving consumers prime flavors and nutrients.
Visiting the farm “bridges the gap,” Bagnaschi-Krier said, allowing people – particularly children – to see where their food is grown and make that farm-to-table connection. “Being here,” she said, “is so special.”
At Petaluma Bounty Community Farm, there’s an opportunity to assist others by supporting the farm and its seasonal farm stand. The nonprofit Petaluma People Services Center operates the farm on a formerly vacant lot near downtown. Today the approximately 3-acre site is rich with sustainably grown fruit and vegetables, a farm-based community food security project.
“We have a nontraditional workforce,” said Suzi Grady, the farm’s director. People of all ages (including teens and kids) help out with tasks like weeding, composting, seeding and harvesting, donating their time and skills through all steps of the farming process.
The collective effort helps the entire community and Petaluma Bounty offers a sliding scale for purchased produce based on economic need.
When the farm stand opens for the season, visitors will find a colorful produce.
“We want to provide as much variety as possible to our customers,” Grady said. “We have a wide variety of things that grow well in this region.”
In addition to visiting farms and farm stands for purchases, there are several farmers markets in Petaluma, as well as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms offering boxes of fresh produce and meat, often through membership programs. Among them, check Rusty Hinges Ranch. Tara Firma Farms offers grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken and more.
Sonoma County Farm Trails has a directory listing the many ways to source seasonal fruits, vegetables and more while supporting local farmers and food producers. Visit farmtrails.org. The following are among the many options in Petaluma:
Farm Barn: This tiny farm stand is big on charm, with a wall plaque announcing, “Count Your Blessings – & Your Eggs.” Purchase chicken eggs (the hens are clucking in the field nearby), plus duck eggs, flowers, jams, honey and more. Self-serve. Daily 8:30 a.m. to dusk.
Location: 2910 Pepper Road;
More information: facebook.com/tworockeggs
Green String Farm: This sustainable working farm and farm store provide a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, plus local cheese, honey, bread, eggs from the farm’s hens, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork – and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday.