By LENORE RUTHERFORD
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.