Side Trip

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The shortest distance between two points is a straight line and thus, in our need to finish the task, be efficient, and stay on time we are often blind to our options on the periphery. In business, going “into the weeds” or out of scope cost both time and money in rigidly defined projects, but I often sense that if we were to allow ourselves time to come up for air and take a look around we would benefit from new perspectives that provide a richer experience. A side trip as it were, to explore the options or just take a break from the train ride on a singular track. I like to call it planned spontaneity.

I could have made it home in about four hours, with only a couple of  pit stops along the way driving straight from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz, music blaring, protein bars and cool beverages on the passenger seat. I could have. Instead I decided to give myself the gift of time to take a side trip into Paso Robles mid-point in my journey to visit a familiar fabric store to pick up material for my quilting daughter and lunch. Not much of a deviation really, just off the highway. A quick on and off.

And then I thought, (and this is the point my darling husband brands me dangerous) about favorite wineries on Highway 46 West. It would really be a shame to be this close and not stopping to restock the vacancies in our wine rack. And then I thought, well, if I am driving that far I may as well check out Jack Creek Farms whom I’ve been following on Facebook since meeting Becky a few years ago at Sunset’s Savor the Central Coast event. It’s really not that far out of my way, not really. The car turned and the rolling golden hills opened before me, leaving the high speed asphalt corridor behind. My breath of fresh air.

hillside thistles and oaks

golden thistles

Side trip on the way to a side trip. Golden thistles against a bright sky. Stopping to look, slow down and experience the details in the minutia of thistle down and blown wishes.

As the drive way to Jack Creek Farms opened before me I was delighted and beyond pleased at the care and presence of the experience they have created for their visitors. Country farm, quaint tractors, trucks and displays that are sweet and not corny or contrived. There is a history and sincerity about them, a wink and a nod to the past and hospitality.

Jack Creek Farms Buildings

As Becky and I reacquainted ourselves she let me sample the wonderful variety of seasonal honeys they process from bee keepers near and far. Buckwheat and raspberry came home with me, the former savory, earthy and the latter brightly fruity, floral. She also talked about the natural farming they do here as a fifth generation stewards of the land. We are the beneficiaries of this kind of commitment, the delectable fruit and vegetables picked at the peak of ripeness and knowing nothing but nothing comes added to them but earth, sky and water. A box of heirloom tomatoes made their way into the car.

Farmer Girl and Tomatoes

I will share what I made with my tomatoes on part two of this story.


Jack Creek Farms,  5000 California 46, Templeton, CA 93465

For more images from my visit to Jack Creek see my Facebook Page What about the Food album

Highway 46 W Wineries (here are a few close by, there are plenty more to explore on the “Westside”)

Birch Fabrics, corner of Pine and 13th St. at 1244 Pine St, Suite D, Paso Robles, CA

Vic’s Cafe (great burger, old school diner style with above average food) 841 13th St., Paso Robles and across the street from Birch and next door to Clayhouse Winery Tasting Room. Some call their breakfasts the best of Paso Robles.

Artisan (a gourmet destination with a seasonal menu. This is a take your time kind of restaurant, delicious and more affordable for lunch.)

Tuna Tartar with Egg

Tuna Tartar with Egg for lunch at Artisan

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