Continuing east then south from Redding, you reach a verdant region near the leafy and cool Sacramento River. It is a surprisingly leafy and fertile area, a prime place for farms and ranches, and many invite visitors to come in to buy fresh produce, artisanal olive oils and other local food products.
Established by local farmers, the Tehama Trail meanders through rural communities, linking together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards and grass fed beef ranchers and other speciality meat producers. Though you can hop onto the route at any point, the driving tour technically begins in Corning, a town that has been linked with olives for generations. Stop in at the iconic Olive Pit for samples of traditional black and green olives, or try more exotic options, like herb and garlic cheese stuffed Sicilian olives. Head over to sleek and shiny tasting room at Lucero Olive Oil to sample artisanal olive oils and vinegars and shop for classy gifts.
Continue along the Tehama Trail to sample and buy heirloom tomatoes, juicy peaches and plums, and just picked berries, as well as fresh pies and honeys. Swing by New Clairvaux Vineyard in tiny Vina, just south of Redding, where Trappist monks invite you to sample their Barbera, Pinot Grigio and other varieties in a large tasting room on the monastery grounds.
Now continue south to a valley town with surprisingly sophisticated food scene.