What do you have a taste for? Olive oil? Wine? Or the freshest summer produce? Because with an agricultural heritage dating back well over a century, Butte County is a major agritourism destination.
For a terrific overview of county agriculture, follow the Sierra Oro Farm Trail, as it meanders through the county visiting everything from the Earthworm Soil Factory to the New Clairvaux Vineyard, where Trappist-Cistercian monks carry out their order’s nearly 1,000-year-old winemaking tradition. A great time to explore the farm trail is during the annual Passport Weekend in October.
Oroville is considered the birthplace of California olive production. With several spots along the farm trail for olive oil tasting, including historic Lodestar Farms and the third-generation Bamford Family Farms, you’ll find premium extra virgin olive oils and can learn about Butte County’s unique role in the industry.
With the tree-ripened satsumas at the Tri-L Mandarin Ranch and premium varietal chestnuts at Harrison’s California Chestnut, the county is a true cornucopia. At the Pedrozo Dairy & Cheese Co., you’ll find traditional farmstead cheeses, including such favorites as the creamy Black Butte Reserve, and you can tour the facilities as well. Or for almonds, walnuts, and an assortment of gourmet items from a local farm in operation since 1875, stop into the Sohnrey Family Foods gift shop in Oroville.
Thanks to Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, Butte County is better known for its craft beer than its wines. But from the foothills down to Durham, the county’s wineries are gaining acclaim to the point where The Sacramento Bee newspaper asked the question, “Will Butte County be the next big thing in winemaking?”
Find out for yourself at such leading county wineries as Durham’s Almendra Winery & Distillery, where you can not only enjoy wine flights but also a gin made from local almonds, lavender, and mandarins. Oroville’s warehouse chic Purple Line Urban Winery makes a full-bodied Petite Syrah from grapes grown in the Sierra foothills. Then again, if you’re more into ciders than Syrah, Chico’s Cellar Door Cider has a tasting room where you can discover its French oak barrel-aged ciders handcrafted from Northern California apples.