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On location: Contra Costa County

July/August 2017 California Bountiful magazine



Organized in 1850, Contra Costa County—its name is Spanish for "against the coast"—boasts warm, sunny weather, lots of shoreline and the Bay Area's second-tallest peak (Mount Diablo). Though mostly urbanized now, the county maintains a $91 million farming economy, with cattle, tomatoes, sweet corn, vegetables and grapes among the top crops.

 

 

 

 

John and David Viano, Martinez

The Vianos have been farming around the area known as Vine Hill since 1920, when John and David's great-grandparents bought the property. The brothers operate Viano Vineyards, where they handle everything in-house. Their children, having gone to college to learn the trade, are preparing to become the fifth generation of Viano farmers.

 

 

 

 

Borges Ranch, Walnut Creek

Francisco Borges, pictured, started a cattle ranch in the Mount Diablo foothills in 1899. Today, it belongs to the city of Walnut Creek. Visitors can take a hike, have a picnic or check out the historic ranch buildings during a monthly open house.

 

 

 

Harvest Time Festival, July 8-9, Brentwood

Harvest Time has 50-plus farm stands and U-pick farms as members and offers a trail map with all the crops and harvest times. Every July, the Harvest Time Festival takes over downtown Brentwood, with local farmers on hand to meet guests, show off their produce and answer questions.

 

 

 

Lark Creek and Corners Tavern, Walnut Creek

These two sister restaurants rely largely on local farmers, ranchers and fishers for their produce, meat and seafood. Lark Creek features seasonal American cuisine, whereas Corners' focus is tavern fare to complement its craft beer and artisan cocktails.

 

 

 

 

Smith Family Farm, Knightsen

This fourth-generation farm has a fruit stand open daily from May through November. U-pick season typically starts in midsummer, with tomatoes, peaches, pomegranates and persimmons among the offerings. The farm is also open daily in October for pumpkin harvesting.

 


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