In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
Recently profiled by The Atlantic for its members' innovative inventions, TechShop’s supportive community of inventors, artists, technicians, and alchemists share their excitement about the next big idea in an environment limited only by their collective imagination. The 17,000-square-foot smorgasbord of inventive creativity beckons people of all skill levels to its DIY confines, where members can wield tools not found in most private workshops, slicing through steel with a plasma cutter or accessing 3-D design software to finally realize the goal of crawling inside the Internet. Hands-on classes jump-start creative juices, introducing students to vocational skills including welding, soldering, and woodworking. Neophyte inventors aged 12–17 are welcome but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to ensure they don't break physics.
Sprawled across 40 acres of coastal foothills flanked by majestic redwood trees, Yerba Buena Nursery’s prismatic fields brim with more than 600 species of flora native to California. Plants such as ferns, perennials, shrubs, and grasses dapple both the alfresco landscape and multiple greenhouses sprinkled throughout the grounds. Elsewhere on the lush acreage, mature plant specimens and natural wildlife line the paths crisscrossing a 2.5-acre demonstration garden, and an idyllic farmhouse dating back to 1905 shelters visitors for classes, events, and traditional tea services. The resident staff of gardening enthusiasts curates a seasonal stash of greenery for sale and can help to enhance patrons’ own yards or ant farms with astute, on-location garden consultations.
After ten hours of slow-cooking, the barbecue ribs at Joe’s American Bar & Grill land on tables tender and ready to fall of the bone. Served with fresh-made coleslaw, these ribs are the centerpiece of a menu overflowing with upscale comfort food. Chefs cut potatoes by hand to accompany bacon cheeseburgers topped with aged cheddar and bread-and-butter pickles made in-house rather than flown in by a talking stork. Grilled pizzas are made fresh to order and never frozen, and hefty sandwiches and hand-cut steaks stack plates with sustenance. On the weekends, brunch dishes come out of hibernation to sate guests with made-to-order omelets and specialties such as eggs benedict and prime-rib hash. Diners enjoy the fresh air on the outdoor patio or cluster around the bar to keep track of sports scores or find out who really got married on Days of Our Lives.
A prismatic array of glaze bottles and sparkling glass pieces form kaleidoscopic patterns for guests to splash across create-your-own pottery and fused-glass masterpieces. Visitors select from stencils, stamps, and samples or select still frames from their dreams to decorate ceramic mugs, figurines, and fused-glass dishes. Staff members set up and clean workspaces, as well as package kits for home pottery-painting parties. This means artists can focus solely on siphoning their imagination into their project. The studio regularly hosts parties and meetings, to which guests are welcome to bring snacks, wine, or milk shakes made of ground-up poems.
A family business since 1873, Patrick & Co. can match mindful office workers with hard-to-find and eco-friendly items. Tree coddlers can choose a Kraft 1-inch binder, whose covers are fashioned from dye-free recycled material ($3.83). Cubicle conquerors can cocoon their phones in invisible tape to muffle any obnoxious Citizen Kane-inspired ring tones ($13.95/dozen), and brave accountants can fashion impenetrable armor from yellow Post-it notes before taking on the dreaded office copier ($16.74/dozen pads). To support typing-taxed joints, an Innovera mousepad's gel pad conforms to the shape of your wrist ($19.99).