Even closer to San Francisco than wine country and arguably as intoxicating, Pescadero is one of Northern California's best-kept secrets. Depending on which direction you look from this small town an hour south of the city, you'll be greeted by views of wildflower fields, redwood forests, or the Pacific coastline (home to the beautiful old Pigeon Point Lighthouse). And Pescadero residents were living the farm-to-table lifestyle decades before The Omnivore's Dilemma came along. Experience it yourself by having a lunch made from local ingredients, visiting a dairy farm, or shopping at the many farm stands, where produce is sold the same day it's picked.
The worn wood of the 101-year-old barn that houses this dairy’s shop is just a small part of the farmstead’s appeal. Stop in to buy skin-softening goat’s- milk soaps and lotions, or fresh goat cheeses, such as ricotta (available March through September). To learn about the cheese- making process from start to finish, take a two-hour farm tour ($20) Friday to Sunday. 205 North Street, harleyfarms.com; open daily, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Belly up to the bar, which has survived four generations in the Duarte family, to order a mean Bloody Mary or one of the draft beers of the month. A Pescadero institution since 1894, Duarte’s is best known for its creamy artichoke soup and crab cioppino. Olallieberries, a hybrid of blackberry and dewberry grown on the West Coast, are picked from the backyard garden for homemade jam and Grandma’s famed olallieberry pie. 202 Stage Road, duartestavern.com.
True to its name, this working farm produces most of the ingredients for its pies, including wheat for crusts, fruits for fillings, and chickens for eggs. Visit the farm stand, featuring jam, pancake mix, and fruits and veggies fresh from the fields. 2080 Cabrillo Highway, pieranch.org; farm stand open weekends, noon to 6 P.M.
Make it more than a day trip: Costanoa provides eco-friendly luxury accommoda- tions, including cabins, lodge rooms, and tents. From $89 a night, costanoa.com.