By John Egan
All year ’round, Marin County serves up tasty experiences for foodies, and fall is no exception. An array of establishments in Marin County furnish tasty fall fare, from apples to mozzarella to olive oil to vino. We’ve rounded up five foodie experiences in Marin that are sure to please most any palate.
As the name suggests, AppleGarden Farm in Tomales specializes in growing apples — organic apples for hard cider, to be exact. From Friday through Sunday, AppleGarden Farm offers tours of the apple orchard and tastings of its organic hard cider. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The cost is $5 per couple; groups up to 15 people are $20. Admission costs are waived if you buy cider. Even larger groups can arrange for private tours and tastings outside regular hours.
Spread across 550 acres near downtown Petaluma, McEvoy Ranch boasts organic olive trees, flower and vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and grapevines.
Reservation-only table tastings and wine-bar tastings feature samples of extra virgin olive oil, award-winning wines (a collection of reds and whites) and seasonal vegetables; that food is paired with artisan cheese. Workshops and tours are also available by appointment. The tours include an opportunity to visit a unique Chinese pavilion.
Nicasio Valley Cheese Company
Have a hankering for farmstead cheese made from all-organic cow’s milk? Then head over to Nicasio Valley Cheese Company in Nicasio. The Lafranchi family’s dairy dates back to 1919; it started switching to organic processing in 2006. Today, the dairy produces eight types of organic cheese, including Foggy Morning with Basil & Garlic, which pairs well with salads and pastas, and Formagella, a variety similar to Camembert and Brie.
The dairy sits on the Lafranchi family ranch, which spans 1,150 picturesque acres. The ranch is home to more than 400 cows and more than 3,000 pasture-fed, free-range, egg-laying chickens. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Tours are available by appointment.
The Fork at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company
At The Fork at Point Reyes Cheese Farmstead Cheese Company, you can feed your stomach and your mind. The Fork is a culinary and education center at the Giacomini family dairy, three miles north of Point Reyes Station. There, you can learn about agriculture, sustainability, culinary arts and, of course, cheese. Aside from farmstead cheeses such as mozzarella and white Cheddar, you can savor seasonal, locally sourced foods.
Reservations are required for all classes and tours. The Fork also hosts corporate events and private parties.
West Marin Food & Farm Tours
West Marin Food & Farm Tours enable you to be a mobile foodie. These guided tours stop at West Marin’s culinary hotspots, where you can sample wine, cheese, breads, pastries, fruits, vegetables and oysters. In addition, you’ll take a behind-the-scenes peek at local food purveyors, soak up the scenery and get a history lesson.
Elizabeth Hill Gardner, founder of Food & Farm Tours, is a certified natural chef as well as a master gardener. In addition to six types of tours, her business puts on a farm-to-table cooking class and other special events.
For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page.