Error message

Lingotek profile ID 4 not found.
Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants Video_KeyFrameOnly_AIS_Muller

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants
Find out where top restaurants get perfect produce

With more than 80 crops produced from its fertile soils, Full Belly Farm, located 56 miles/90 kilometers east of Sacramento in the fertile Capay Valley, stands out as premier source of top-quality organic produce. With help from about 60 employees, the farm produces an amazing diversity of vegetables, herbs, nuts, flowers, and fruits year-round. The farm also has a flock of chickens, plus sheep, goats, and several cows.

For co-owner Paul Muller, there’s no better place to be a farmer than California. “With its Mediterranean climate, unique soil characteristics, and abundant resources, you can just about grow anything.” According to Muller, one of the keys to growing superior produce is finding the crops that work best in the farm’s various microclimates—cooler pockets for some vegetables, more open stretches for sun-loving types, like tomatoes. But Full Belly Farm doesn’t produce just any tomato—it produces more than 25 types, many of them quite unique. “Some are heirlooms that are favorites in Italy, and others date back to Thomas Jefferson’s garden,” explains Muller. 

Full Belly Farms custom picks its produce so restaurants get exactly what they want, picked at its prime.

Another bounty crop is asparagus, with the farm's tender spears being a top draw for leading chefs like Chef Michael Tusk of Michelin-starred Quince Restaurant, in San Francisco. “At Quince, they really highlight and celebrate the subtleties and unique qualities of the crops we grow,” says Muller. You can taste these quality ingredients at Quince, and at special dinners held several times a year at Full Belly Farm; meals are prepared on site and served outdoors in picturesque settings (make reservations well in advance; events sell out quickly). 

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_HERO_CV_PacificStar_UPick3_Flippen_1280x642_sized
Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants vca_maps_centralvalley
8
January
Average (°C)
Dec - Feb
16°
High
3°
Low
Mar - May
28°
High
7°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_D_CV_T7_IMG_7643_1280x642
Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Harvest season is a time of celebration (and good eats) in California’s agricultural heartland.

Home to many signature festivals and events, the Central Valley shines brightest around harvest season.

"After all, this is one of the world’s most bountiful agricultural

...
Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants Test_SpecialFeature#14D59DC
Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_D_CV_T11_CV_Davis_FarmersMkt_Farnum_sized
Alex Farnum

Davis

You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the perks of this ag-oriented college town

Eco-friendly, liberal leaning, progressive, impressive professor’s homes and fraternity houses—Davis has the hallmarks of a classic college...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini Ufos. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants HagginMuseum_CV
Laura Flippen

Haggin Museum

Local history merges with world-renowned art at this must-see museum in Stockton’s Victory Park

Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centerpiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants GreyLodge_KG_1280x642
Kodiak Greenwood

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Map of Shasta Cascade
Some 300 species of birds and mammals make this a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts

Located on the Pacific Flyway 60 miles north of Sacramento, Gray Lodge encompasses 9,200 acres surrounded by agricultural flatlands and...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_D_CV_T7_IMG_7643_sized_0
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Houseboating

Take to the water on a deluxe floating home

In California, it’s hard to talk about houseboating without talking about the Central Valley. One of the state’s premier places for vacationing in...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_D_CV_T2_Delta_Manley_sized
Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

California Delta

A boater’s and fisherman’s paradise awaits

Located northeast of the San Francisco Bay, this 1,000-mile network of inland waterways—the major drainage from the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to...

Lodi Wine Country
Dale Goff Photography

Lodi Wine Country

Sample the city’s famous Zinfandels after a day of outdoor fun

Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, the American Viticultural Area of...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_D_CV_T8_Fresno_Manley_downsized
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fresno

Discover agriculture and culture in the valley's biggest city

The Central Valley’s largest city makes for a surprisingly lively getaway. Seven stadiums and a pair of arenas satisfy sporty types, and an annual...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants FF_VCW_D_CV_T8_Fresno_Manley
The 10 acres of rooms, passages and gardens at Fresno's Forestiere Underground Gardens were excavated by hand using only farming tools.
Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VCW_D_CV_T9_Buck Owens Crystal Palace 4_sized
Courtesy of Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Bakersfield

Experience California’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country western music on the side

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of pleasant surprises. Once known for oil and...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VC_NoriegaHotel_Stock_RM_E93GP0_RT_1280x640
Ian Dagnall/Alamy

Bakersfield's Noriega Hotel

California's Central Valley
This classic Basque restaurant is a must-try in Bakersfield

When Spaniards began descending on Bakersfield in the 1800s, searching for gold and herding sheep, they brought with them an...

Always in Season: Fresh-picked for Restaurants VC_SolanoCounty_Stock_RM_BH5GAT_1280x640
Derrell McCain/Alamy

Best Kept Secret: Solano County

See why this Central Valley region holds its own in terms of good wine, pretty countryside, and cool activities

A treasure awaits about 20 miles east of Napa, in a lovely but largely “secret” area of sprawling countryside and bayfront beauty. This is...