Agritourism is a fascinating segment of the tourism industry, and particularly popular in areas like Butte County. That’s because it involves visiting working farms and ranches in rural communities and sampling the offerings, from wine and rice to olive oil and cheese.
Here in Chico we are fortunate enough to be situated smack dab in the middle of one of the largest and most productive agricultural areas on the planet – the Sacramento Valley.
The following listings include a list of day-trip destinations that will satisfy your hunger for adventure on the farm ( and for delicious, locally produced food and drink). Some are farms or orchards, some are rural storefronts, and some are microbreweries. They are all open to the public and worth a visit.
Beer & Wine
Feather River Brewing Co.
This award winning little microbrewery in the wooded Sierra Foothill Community of Magalia (above Paradise) features a smooth Honey Ale, a popular Raging Rapids Ale, and a winter-seasonal Dark Canyon.
Founded in 1992 in Chico, HoneyRun Winery produces five types of honey wine, or mead – blackberry, elderberry, cherry, cranberry, and dry mead. HoneyRun’s wines have no added sulfites or preservatives and are certifies kosher.
Grey Fox Vineyards
Known for its excellent red wines, Grey Fox Vineyards in Oroville is worth the trip from Chico. Grey Fox produces 17 types of wines and was voted best winery in Oroville by U.S Local Business Association in 2008 and 2009. The winery also offers a relaxing live oak picnic area.
Hickman Family Vineyards
Bangor is home to this family run winery. They cover all aspects of wine production at their vineyard and take pride in the tasty wine that comes form the effort of all of their hard work. Become a part of their wine club to get the ultimate Hickman Family Vineyard experience and receive great deals and perks throughout the year.
Berkeley Olive Grove 1913
Named for the group of UC Berkeley professors that invested in Butte County land in 1913 and then founded the Berkeley Olive Association, this producer of organic award winning olive oils is owned and run by Oroville locals. Last year the certified organic, sustainable, traditional style business was opened to the public for tours of their tasting room and orchard by appointment. They also allow people the opportunity to “adopt” one of the olive trees on their 400 acres and harvest their own olives and learn curing methods.
Lucero Olive Oil Mill
Fourth generation olive grower Dewy Lucero’s Lucero Olive Oil in Corning is worth the drive from Chico. The “Olive Capital” of Corning features a mill, bottling room, and tasting room/retail store in which to try its internationally acclaimed (and Gold Medal-winning) olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
Fruits, Nuts, Vegetables, and More
Vincent Noble Orchard Co.
Since 1921, Noble Orchards in Paradise offers tree-ripened stone fruits -cherries, peaches, pluots, and nectarines -during the July-September season, and 17 varieties of apples including various heirloom varieties from September to March. Noble’s Polebarn packing shed/farm stand – featuring fruit, apple butter, and gift boxes – is open July through March.
The 15 acre farm is only three miles from downtown Chico, but seems like a world away. The immaculate grounds include waterfalls, fountains, ivy-covered trellises, a gazebo, and more. The on site gift shop (open during seasonal events) sells jams, mustards, vinegars, and dressings.
Pedrozo Dairy & Cheese Co.
Pedrozo Dairy & Cheese co. is located in Orland and is family owned and operated. They produce small batches of Gouda-style farmstead cheeses from the milk of their small heard of happy, pasture-grazed cows. Try their Northern Gold – a buttery semi-firm cheese – or Black Butte Reserve, and award wining intense aged hard cheese. Be sure to bring the kids along to visit the dairy, cheese plant, and farm animals.
Morse Mandarin Farms
This family owned citrus farm in Oroville began in 2002,and offers delicious “Zip-peel” Satsuma mandarins grown using sustainable farming methods. Morse’s mandarin, lemon, navel orange, tangelo, and grapefruit season is late November through March, One can also buy the farm’s Satsuma mandarin and Minneola marmalades and syrups, and meat rubs.
Source: Discover Chico Magazine