Pescadero Day Trip


We returned this weekend to my favorite town Pescadero, located about 1 1/2 hours south of San Francisco on Highway 1.  Pescadero reminds me a bit of upcountry Maui with its quaint shops, artistic vibe and idyllic coastal views but colder and foggier.  In fact, when we visit Maui, we return time and again to Surfing Goat Dairy which is Kula’s equivalent of Harley Farms.   We were hoping for some good weather, a bit of sun since everywhere else away from the coast was baking in 80+degree weather.  No dice on the sun but Pescadero never disappoints.

We started at Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport with some hot strawberry cider and strawberry scones and ollalieberry cobbler with some strawberry rhubarb jam.  They were all berry, berry good!  (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Swanton Berry Farm is a farm stand overflowing with all things strawberry with baked goods, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry apply cider, an assortment of strawberry jams.  You can buy flats of strawberries or pick your own at their adjoining farm.  We chose to start our day by hanging out in their common seating area to enjoy our baked goods and cider along with a nostalgic throwback to this right here:


The last time I held a Viewmaster, Ronald Reagan was in office.  It occurs to me as I write this that I am suddenly nostalgic for Ronald Reagan’s presidency–which is a little like saying that you wish you only looked as old and wrinkly as you did last year because you now realize that you’ve aged exponentially since then.

I was most impressed by the farmstand’s honor till.  The concept is simple: the farm relies on your honesty, integrity and ability to make change.  There are no salespeople to police you, no cameras to record your shortcomings.

There are no cashiers, just you and your conscience.

Still intrigued by the concept of trusting strangers I interviewed the guy walking around the store who was mostly there to help earnest patrons do basic math.  They have not lost money and in fact they make more money than they anticipate as people tended to pay more than the listed price; most errors result from bad calculations but 99% of people they’ve encountered are honest and generous.

After Swanton fed us tasty eats and restored our faith in humanity, on we went to strawberry picking.  We walked a few hundred yards, and though it was a nippy and windy 52 degrees, we were rewarded by an ample bounty of vine ripened, sweet red strawberries.

A few tips to enjoy you strawberry picking experience:

  • Dress in layers; you would be lucky to see a high of 60 degrees in these parts.
  • Wear close toed shoes for walking those muddy fields.
  • Bring a cardboard flat and a couple of those pint sized baskets (provided by Swanton Farm) with you so you can have a large container while the kids fill their small container.
  • The port-o-potties are extremely funky.  You’ve been warned.

Our next stop was lunch at Arcangeli Deli/Norm’s Market, home of the Godfather sandwich, an insanely delicious herbed focaccia that served as the vehicle for some tasty salami, mortadella and prosciutto all slathered with a garlic herb spread.  The lines are long but be patient because your sandwich will be lovingly prepared.

No photos of said sandwich due to hunger.  We did however manage to catch this beautiful sentiment on the wall outside the Slowcoast Shop next door:


The final stop on our road trip was Harley Farms.   We skipped the tour as we had done this previously and by the way, pro tip: tours are booked two months in advance.  Without a tour, you can still pet the kids while you and your human kid stand outside their enclosed fence.  With the tour, you get the privilege of going inside the fence and possibly being peed on by said goats.  At the very least, they will chew on your backpack straps, try to sniff you in your privates and gently ram you in the rear to get out of their way–all this without buying you dinner first.

Harley Farms also hosts a monthly dinner with seasonal offerings at their hay loft or the upper barn pictured above.  It is a beautiful setting overlooking the goats and fields below.  You would be wise to make reservations.

Thank you for a wonderful day, Pescadero and for giving us a little bit of Maui on the mainland!