Lenore Rutherford, The Union Democrat


The Union Democrat

The family friendly, third annual Tuolumne County Farm and Ranch tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Sponsored by Farms of Tuolumne County, it will include food tastings, soap making demonstrations, activities for children and adults, workshops, handouts and more.

Six farms in the Columbia area will be featured this year. Cost of the

self-guided tour is $8 in advance for adults. Call 928-3775.

People may also buy tickets at their first tour stop on the day of

the event at $10 per adult. Admission is free for children under 18.

Farms of Tuolumne County was formed in 2003, said board member Marian Rocha Zimmerly.

She said former Tuolumne County Farm Advisor Jay Norton, of the

University of California Cooperative Extension in Sonora, picked up a

brochure for a similar organization at a meeting in Sonoma County.

"We contacted farmers and ranchers and were able to start with

about 30 members," she said. "Now we have 44 producers, four sponsors

and several associate members.

The goals of Farms of Tuolumne County are to help local

agricultural producers market their products and bring farmers,

ranchers and community members together to enhance the viability of

agriculture in Tuolumne County.

"The membership was free the first year," Zimmerly said. "The

second year we started charging $40 per year for farmers and $20 for

associate members, called "Friends of the Farms."

It became a nonprofit corporation in 2006.

She said current Farm Advisor Scott Oneto has also been very involved in the organization and helpful.

Stops on the 2010 tour:

• Bald Mountain Farm, 8700 Fraguero Road, is a diversified family

farm with vegetables, fruit trees and animals. There will be tours of

the fields and melon and heirloom tomato tastings. People are welcome

to bring a picnic lunch and eat under the oaks.

• Mt. Brow Winery, 10850 Mt. Brow Road. Guided tours of the winery

will be given throughout the day. Chef Christopher Segarini, owner of

Christopher Ristorante Italiano, will offer a beef tasting. Products

from EvenTyrGaard Alpacas will also be featured. Picnic sites are


• Bel Giardino, 22890 Mt. Holly Lane showcases principles and

practices for a more self-reliant, sustainable, environmentally

friendly lifestyle. There will be activities for children, guided tours

and short sessions on several topics. Also, people will be able to meet

llamas, see worms that eat leftovers, and sample beef, olive oil and

salt from Hurst Ranch, Table Mountain Beef and Woods Creek Olive Oil.

• Bramble Hill Christmas Tree Farm and Boer Goats, 12161 Cattle

Drive Trail, will offer tips on growing Christmas trees and a trip into

the world of meat goats. The 16-acre farm has animals, trees, gardens

and wildlife. There will be free refreshments, as well as a goat meat

barbecue tasting between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. prepared by Eric Davis of

the Diamond Back Grill.

• Seven Sisters Soap Company, 12279 Sugar Plum Lane, invites

visitors to visit the goats who give milk from which the company's soap

is made. People will learn about the soap-making process and how to

care for dairy goats. the farm also includes free range chickens that

provide eggs, a vegetable garden and bee hives. Guided tours will be


• Rosemary's Roses, 12600 Yankee Hill Road, boasts Tuolumne

County's largest rose garden with more than 1,300 roses growing in a

wooded area, will offer guided tours and rose growing information when

requested. People are welcome to wander the pathways and sit in the

gazebo or picnic under the oaks surrounded by roses.