California has arguably the most diverse landscape of America’s 50 states. Soaring mountains, vast deserts, temperate rain forests, sparkling beaches. It is home to the tallest trees in the world, the lowest elevation in North America, and the largest alpine lake in the U.S.
Great roads make seeing California’s wonders a pleasure, including 655 miles of pavement known as Highway 1, a glorious coastal route running from Mendocino county in the north to Orange county in the south. On a recent trip to the Golden State I traveled down this road, passing lighthouses and surfers, toward Swanton Berry Farm, located between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. Swanton is known for its organic strawberries and ollalieberries – a cross between a loganberry and youngberry – and its hippy vibe.
I came here to spend a little time in the fields picking fresh fruit and to bask in the crisp ocean breezes of the Pacific. After an hour of productive gathering I headed back to the farm stand to have a snack. Swanton uses some of their fruit to make pies and cobblers, which is as it should be. There can never be enough quality fruit desserts in this world. I inhaled my ollalieberry cobbler with fresh whipped cream.
When it was time to settle the bill the laid back staff directed me to a scale to weigh the berries myself and then told me to put the money for my purchases in a wooden box called The Honor Till, which is just what it sounds like – an unsupervised payment system where one can make his or her own change, leave a check. Retro. Cool. California.