The Saucelito Canyon story begins in 1880, when three acres of Zinfandel vines were planted in the rugged terrain of the upper Arroyo Grande Valley on California’s Central Coast.
A new chapter was written a century later, when Bill Greenough painstakingly restored the abandoned old vineyard in 1974.
In 1973, when Ramona Clayton was 19, she moved to Germany where she earned a PhD in molecular biology and worked with sterile medicines. But she also began making pottery—a hobby that would become her profession when she moved back to the United States in 2004. Rather than going through the licensing hassle necessary to work as a microbiologist in the States, she opened terramonary stoneware & porcelain, where, in addition to making stoneware and porcelain pieces to sell, she teaches others her craft. The studio's name—and Ramona's reason for returning to California—comes from her husband, Terry. Starting out as high-school sweethearts, they lost touch not long after graduation. After 22 years apart, Terry found her on the Internet, called her, and asked if she remembered him. She did. "He signed his love letters with 'Terramonary,' which is just an anagram of 'Terry' and 'Ramona'," she recalls. To Terry's delight, she thought it would be a catchy name for the business and even used her science know-how to break down the parts of the word into Latin and alchemic roots that symbolize the four elements. Ramona fires her long-lasting pieces in the kiln outside her studio, which sits on a concrete porch where she and her students also glaze their pieces. Inside, the wheels and workstations are in a separate area from her showroom, which brims with decorative pieces as well as plates, cups, and serving pieces that are safe for ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, and time machines. "My goal in life is to make pretty things useful—or useful things pretty," she says. "If it's too delicate or it's just decorative, people are afraid of it."
In business for more than 60 years, the petal peddlers at Fowler Floral continue to assemble and deliver elegant stem-bounds in a charming, welcoming storefront. Pore through an extensive, colorful collection of flowers, gifts, and arrangements, and stuff your pockets with non-poisonous posies for all occasions. Warm seasonal hues emit from fall flowers such as Teleflora's Autumn Grace ($45), a winsome display of red roses, purple daisies, and Matsumoto asters in a plum glass-cube vase. Meanwhile, cunning gift givers can surprise unsuspecting birthday stoops with a Birthday Wishes bouquet ($40), or finally rub their genie boss the right way with the Make a Wish bouquet ($40). Other items include Dashing Daisies ($35) and the pink rose hat trick of the Tender Trio ($24.95).
In place of the flickering florescent lights common to big-box grocery stores, sunshine illuminates the foods at Fresh from D'Vine, a farmer-focused indoor market in Salinas. Vibrant, in-season fruits and vegetables form little assemblages on wooden tables, as do bouquets of fresh-cut flowers. Most of the market's offerings come from growers in Monterey and neighboring counties, which helps to keep the store's carbon footprint to a minimum while ensuring that the freshness of its goods are at a maximum. Though the selection of produce changes with the seasons, some customer favorites include strawberries, artichokes, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, raspberries, broccoli, and peaches.