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Farm trail offers visitors a trek into rural life

Sample the bounties of Butte County while exploring California's beautiful countryside.


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For two days, the rural countryside of Butte County comes alive as visitorshave the opportunity to experience the bounty of food and wine produced in the region. This annual agritourism adventure showcases 30 wineries and specialty farms throughout the county, and a ticket opens the doors for guests to savor samples from a variety of farms and ranches. The event attracts more than 2,000 people each year, so I decided to make the trek to Butte County myself to get my foodie passport stamped. My first stop: Lodestar Farms.

Since 1993, Jamie and Nicole Johansson of Lodestar Farms have been committed to creating an olive oil that represents the traditional flavor of the California Mission olive and the 100-year history of olive production in Oroville. But when they first started farming, they wondered how they'd get people to their tasting room to actually try their product. So they partnered with a local winery, and gradually the farm tour grew to what the annual Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend is now. For them, the real joy is in sharing their family's passion with others.

After a visit to Lodestar Farms, how do you wash down all that olive oil and bread? How about with some wine? Next on our trip was Long Creek Winery. Long Creek is nestled on a beautiful 26-acre property in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The winery also features a guided tour of their ranch and fruit orchards, too. They've diversified over the years in the hopes that they have something for everybody to enjoy.

Next stop on our travels: Morse Farms. Run by John and Glennda Morse, the farm features a variety of citrus trees, including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits. But their big hit is the little mandarin, which as I learned, has quite a history.

Last on our trip through this agricultural wonderland, we got two tickets to Paradise… the town, that is! In the early 1900s, the tiny town of Paradise, on the eastern side of the county, was known as California's apple epicenter. Luckily, you can still visit an apple orchard that has been producing apples in the area nearly that long. Since 1921, Noble Orchards has been delighting customers with their selection of farm-fresh produce and today they are the last remaining apple orchard in town.

For more information about the Sierra Oro Farm Trail, visit http://www.sierraoro.org.


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