I should have roadtrips out of my system after our epic trip down the Central Valley to San Juan Capistrano and back. But it took me less than two days of doing chores to hop back in Old Paint and head for the open road. It sort of came under the category of chores since I’d been directed to Santa Cruz Hydroponics for the best selection of organic, non-GMO seeds and starts. So off I went down Highway One, known in these parts as the Cabrillo Highway after the Conquistador who first explored the California coast.

It’s amazing how quickly after you leave the city limits of San Francisco that you find yourself in the most rural environments. After breezing through the surfer-oriented town of Pacifica, I started passing large organic farms with familiar names. I’d always assumed that most of the organics we buy at the farmers’ market come from the Sonoma area, but Western San Mateo County seems to have miles of great farms — most of them organic.

One of the best was a large berry farm whose farmstand advertised home-made pies and jams.

This place is definitely worth a stop.

This place is definitely worth a stop.

They sell loads of pies, cakes, jams and goodies. Also organic cotton products.

They sell loads of pies, cakes, jams and goodies. Also organic cotton products.

The store is on the Honor System. But the pie makes can see you.

The store is on the Honor System. But the pie makers can see you.

 

I chose a jar of Olallieberry Jam because I’d never heard of an Olallieberry. Then I took a quick detour for lunch in Half Moon Bay.

I couldnt pass up the chance to taste the Lobster Roll that was named one of the Top Five Sandwiches in America by NBCs Today Show.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to taste the Lobster Roll that was named one of the “Top Five Sandwiches in America” by NBC’s Today Show.

Okay, a sandwich in California made of Maine lobster violates all my principals about eating local -- in a big way.

Okay, a sandwich in California made of Maine lobster violates all my principals about eating local — in a big way.

 

But the verdict? Surprisingly, I found it the BEST Lobster Roll I’ve ever had. And I lived in Maine and ate in lobster shacks from Biddeford to Bar Harbor. What put it over the edge: the lobster was warmed and dressed with a butter sauce. And the cole slaw was homemade.

Once in Santa Cruz, I swung by Mission Santa Cruz, so I could check another one off my list.

Sadly, there is little left of the original Mission. A cathedral from 1890 stands on the original spot and a replica of the Mission church is across the street.

Sadly, there is little left of the original Mission. A cathedral from 1890 stands on the original spot and a replica of the Mission church is across the street.

Then a quick drive-by of Natural Bridges State Park.

Then a quick drive-by of Natural Bridges State Park.

 

I also started looking for particularly Santa Cruz-y kinds of things. Santa Cruz, as you may know, is one of those places like San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury where the Sixties have never truly ended. And I say that meaning it’s a good thing. Here’s a case in point:

The Homeless Garden Project trains the homeless to be organic gardeners and makes money as a CSA program.

The Homeless Garden Project trains the homeless to be organic gardeners and makes money as a CSA program.

How come their fava beans are so much further along than mine?

How come their fava beans are so much further along than mine?

 

The Homeless Garden Project isn’t just for the homeless. They have classes and lectures and they welcome visitors to the farm at any time. Sometimes I just love how innovative Californians can be.

Finally my stated destination.

The good folks here sold me certified organic seeds, gave me some free tomato plants and organic compost tea.

The good folks here sold me certified organic seeds, gave me some free tomato plants and organic compost tea.

 

They urged me to come back in two weeks when they’ll have loads of organic, non-GMO starts. Then I turned Old Paint to the North and West and headed back up the coast.

 

With a few brief stops to view some wildflowers.

With a few brief stops to view some wildflowers.

The parasailers and surfers were out at the many beaches I passed.

The parasailers and surfers were out at the many beaches I passed.

Even though the Cabrillo Highway runs on top of some very high cliffs, there seemed to be Tsunami Evacuation Routes everywhere. Who knew?

Even though the Cabrillo Highway runs on top of some very high cliffs, there seemed to be Tsunami Evacuation Routes everywhere. Who knew?

 

Just one last stop, the General Store in the tiny town of San Gregorio.

 

Inside youll find clothing, housewares, a library, a pot bellied stove and a bar.

Inside you’ll find clothing, housewares, a library, a pot bellied stove a bar and more. A whole town center in one building.

 

Thats it. But in the words of our Governator, Ill be baaaack.

That’s it. But in the words of our Governator, “I’ll be baaaack.”

And tomorrow, I knuckle back down to work.

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