by Matt Browne
As Paso Robles becomes known as a wine destination, which my wife and I happen to absolutely love, the real story of this quaint town begins with the farms and farmers from the founding days to today. I'm a big believer that the backbone of a place like Paso Robles is, in fact, the farmers. Their work often goes unrecognized and is more often than not taken for granted. We show up at the farmer's markets or the grocery stores and typically don't even begin to fathom the hard work and sacrifice that brought that produce, fruit, or meat to our fingertips.
From living here in Paso Robles I have started to understand, appreciate, and see all that goes into the produce on the tables at the farmer's markets. The most amazing thing is the huge movement we've all seen about fresh, sustainable, and local ingredients. I think this is one of the best shifts we've seen and I feel extremely fortunate to be living right here in Paso Robles thought this movement. Two events that are held locally that highlight this are Sunset's Savor the Central Coast and the Earth Day Food & Wine Festival...absolutely superb events!
Most of our local restaurants are huge into buying any and all seasonal ingredients they can from our local farmers and ranchers. When my wife and I go to the farmer's markets we see so many people lining up, more than I've seen in the past. Paso Robles has the Olive Festival, the Lavender Festival, many wine festivals, as well as the aforementioned farmer's market in the downtown park. In addition to all of that, Paso has numerous farms and ranches that welcome visitors, such as: Windrose Farm, Jack Creek Farms, Hollyhock Farms, Mt. Olive Organic Farm, Olea Farms, and so many more.
It may just be that I'm growing up but I think it has more to do with the people of Paso Robles as to why I've become more intrigued and interested in farming and the importance of farming. When you purchase something at your farmer's market you are helping to support a local family and most often a small family business. When you make these purchases you also know you're getting something that's incredibly fresh and from your area (rather than being trucked in from who knows where).
Next time you visit Paso Robles (or if you're a local you should do this too) do some sightseeing at some of these local farms in between your wine tasting. Talk to the farmers and tour the farm...do some olive oil tasting and grab some lavender as well as a bottle of wine. Support these people that are tending to the land and continuing a long history of farming in this amazing little area that I call home.
Matt is a 10-year Paso Robles area resident. He and his wife Annie love exploring the Central Coast looking for food, drinks, and adventure. You can follow their adventures on their blog at HootnAnnie.