Now that’s fresh! Discover abundant farm flavors at Mint + Craft, Novo Restaurant & lounge and Luna Red

While traversing the scenic roads here in SLO CAL, keep your eyes peeled for a local sight to behold. Is it a bird? A plane? Why, no! It’s the fresh produce van owned by restaurateurs Robin and Shanny Covey. This is no ordinary silver van: No matter what day of the week, you can bet your bottom dollar that those four wheels have either just come from or are heading to one of the Central Coast’s more than a dozen incredible farmer’s markets.

Does it seem odd that these restaurant owners would really need to employ a whole utility van used exclusively just to shuttle crisp greens and crunchy carrots to hungry diners? Well, when you consider the fact that this precious cargo is bound for farm-fresh haunts like Novo Restaurant & Lounge, Luna Red and Mint + Craft, it all starts to make a whole lot of sense! Here’s how you can get in on some truly farm-to-table feasting at all three stops (that means apps, deli selections, and cocktails too!). You heard me. Step on it. Follow that van!

Get Happy with Locally Sourced Drinks at LUNA RED

Drink (really, really) local! There’s a reason SLO New Times just awarded Luna Red as “Best Happy Hour” in SLO County. At this swanky tapas joint, happy hour runs everyday from 3-6 p.m., and discounted drinks are anything but ordinary. With freshly snipped herbs, regional, seasonal fruit, and house made syrups made right behind the bar, each cocktail is muddled with locavore love.

Tip: Don’t forget to snag 30% off your check each Monday, half-off tacos on Tuesday, and $1 oysters each Wednesday. The weekends bring vibrant music to their chill, sun-dappled patio, and Sundays always mean “build your own burger night” with toppings that are—of course—just as locally luscious.

Travel the World without Leaving your Table at NOVO RESTAURANT & LOUNGE

Worldly flavors collide with super farm fresh at Novo, one of SLO CAL’s first iconic “farm-to-table” eateries. Here, you’ll taste offerings sourced from beloved SLO CAL purveyors like Los Osos-based Kandarian Farms and Cambria’s Stepladder Ranch, among so many others (just ask your server where your food’s from—they love to answer in detail!). Grab a few entrees inspired by Asian, Indian, European, and tropical destinations all fused together in one colorful, palate-popping meal, and don’t forget to take a peek at the epic wine list. You should know: Novo’s happy hour (Monday-Thursday from 3-6 p.m.) offers up $5 well drinks, craft-on-draft, select domestic beer, and house wine paired alongside $5 small bites like hot Samosas, savory chicken satay, luxurious salmon bisque and light, satisfying spring rolls. Named SLO New Times Best Outside Dining restaurant, the patio is nestled against a babbling creek and illuminated by romantic twinkle lights (hello date night).

Tip: Swing by Novo on June 7 for a SLO Passport Wine Dinner Featuring local wineries and farmers’ produce expertly paired to wow.

Local Goodness is Now ‘Grab and Go’ at the New MINT+CRAFT

This hip, new downtown cafe is hitting all the right pleasure points for anyone seeking a true taste of SLO CAL terroir on the go. This modern outpost is at once a deli, a breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, as well as a perfect place to just hang out with a cup of locally roasted coffee. Artisanal sandwiches like the French Connection—Duck confit, gouda, sautéed onion, mushrooms, spinach, Hollandaise, and Brioche—are made quick to order for your busy travels. Grab a hearty grain bowl or kid’s grilled cheese on your way to that next outdoor excursion, or sit down on the street-side patio and tuck into a satisfying Lamb Tagine “clay pot” for maximum comfort.

Tip: Looking for local love to bring back to loved ones? Mint + Craft features more than 300 products from over 60 artisans, many of them proud to be SLO CAL made!