The city of Corning, two hours north of Sacramento, was once known as The Olive City. With nine canneries within its borders and acres of orchards surrounding it, the town was a hub of olive activity.
H.R. Crane got a piece of the action in 1947 when he bought a 25-acre olive grove. Before long, the Crane family was farming more than 100 acres of Sevillano and Manzanillo olives. It wasn’t until 2009, when Crane’s grandsons planted 200 new acres of olive trees and bought an olive mill, that the company began producing extra virgin olive oil under the Lucero name. The Cranes’ ranch now grows more than 16 varieties, covering more than 500 acres.
The tasting room is open every day, with free sampling of Lucero extra virgin olive oils, infused oils, balsamic vinegars, and gourmet pantry items. Tours are free, too, and available anytime. Call ahead and they’ll even arrange an educational, seated tasting.
Along with producing great olive oil, the Cranes are also community minded: For every gallon jug of their Five Star Blend sold, they donate $5 to local agriculture education programs for young people.
California’s north-east corner is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with safe-to-explore volcanoes, hushed forests and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking.
"When I first caught sight of it I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.” --Author John Muir, upon seeing Mount Shasta in 1874
All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester and inviting rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava.
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