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.
Deluxe Heating and Air Conditioning's HVAC technicians are dedicated to fast service, but their main preoccupation is quality. They demonstrate this commitment by backing up all of their tune-ups and installations with an iron-clad guarantee read aloud to customers by James Earl Jones.
Swim America turns flailing hydro-klutzes into confident dolphin doppelgängers with an effective curriculum designed by the American Swim Coaches Association. ASCA-certified instructors lead small classes of three or four students, aged 4 to 14, through lessons that impart the fundamentals of dynamic floating, from principal strokes and breathing techniques to basic manatee sign language. Since students are carefully assessed by skill level, beginners can get acquainted with aquatics and more seasoned swimmers can work on improving stamina and broadening their stroke repertoires. The 30-minute sessions take place in the school’s deluxe 50-foot by 22-foot pool, complete with teaching ledges and a thermostat set at about 90 degrees to stave off the shivers. Parents can observe the tutoring from the comfort of the climate-controlled viewing area. Class schedules can be viewed here.
For more than 15 years, A Better Place to Bead has provided abundant jewelry-making materials, resources, guidance, and a handsome hardwood-floored studio space. During a beading party, string a celebratory occasion together with a foursome of any age, taking over a spacious craft table and procuring the instructive services of an adroit beading associate for an hour and a half. Two packets of size 6 and 8 E beads present myriad potential combinations to transform the provided memory wire into mesmeric necklaces, bewitching bracelets, or a striking cat-o’-nine-tails. In addition, each attendee is granted access to A Better Place to Bead’s extensive supply of charms, selecting a central piece to feature in his or her design.
Outdoor Davis outfits outdoorsmen and -women in rugged apparel from brands such as Vibram, Patagonia, and prAna. Slip on a pair of glove-like Vibram Five Fingers ($85–$125) to let your feet move more naturally and freely, improving balance and posture, strengthening muscles in the lower feet, and enabling you to pick up pens off the floor without bending over. Alternatively, adorn bodies with light, loose-fitting prAna clothing ($30–$80) or durable Patagonia apparel ($20–$100). A wide variety of children’s clothing and shoes ($30–$70) also prepares younger generations for 10,000-foot ascents during recess or snack-time boulder-climbing competitions; accessories such as sleeping bags ($60–$300), water filters and stoves ($40-$120), and backpacks ($40–$300) help make campsites more comfortable.
Renew Denim’s cadre of sartorial scavengers hunts through designer overstocks to festoon fashion plates with brand name clothing at 40%–70% off retail prices. Men and women can cast aside planetary origin differences as they pore over the boutique’s unique collection of premium jeans ($15–$99) and rifle through troves of designer samples ($30–$49) and artist-embellished “renewed” pants to find the cuts and washes that best flatter each set of skinny, wide, or bell-curved legs. Shoppers can gird stems in the flexible textiles of Zenana yoga pants for kinetic activities ($10–$18), or wrap torsos in graphic Junk Food tees ($15). Layering camis (2 for $15) seamlessly shift from solo performances to supporting roles under beribboned Ann Ferriday lace cardigans ($49–$99); eye-grabbing accessories—including handmade Nyovee leather belts ($49–$199), rubber Havaianas sandals ($10), and one-of-a-kind earrings and bangles ($29–$89)—ensure standout outfits.