We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynette Sonne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynette, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
My hope is that both local and visiting guests who attend our on-farm workshops will take away a small, yet significant piece of know-how to better their decision making and choices when next buying their food & self care products. Sharing how every being makes a difference when shopping and supporting our local family farms and learning to grow and make their own is what we strive for.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
It all started with a BBQ where both local and out of town guests genuinely appreciated the quality of food on my table… Learning that these folks ( the locals especially!) didn’t know where to source these tasty local groceries was utterly shocking to me. Enter FARMstead ED, my passion project, started and cultivated to share more with others about our locally grown and made. Getting the local farm goods to the family table is indeed easier than in years past, though can be a challenge due to availability and costs. Bringing the table to the farm with the guests to sit around it allows us to provide a learn by doing atmosphere where folks meet the farmers and get their hands dirty while really learning about their local agricultural resources. That take away is real important. Getting it home and having it actively applied as the new know-how to everyday life is the win. Telling others about their experience, is pure bonus and reassures us that we did a good thing! I’m most proud of getting our program and the SLO Co Farm Trail on the agriCULTURAL map and becoming a local go to for authentic farm experiences. Challenges are plenty, from getting our story out there, to reassuring farmers that on-farm guest experiences are a viable & integral part of their business. The more we acquaint folks with the people that grow their food and make their lives healthier and more sustainable, the more we help give back to Mother Earth.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Playing tour guide is one of my favorite things to do and introducing my friends and family to this awesome place I get to call home is even better! A big warm welcome to Paso starts on my porch, most likely sipping on one of my favorite rose’s (Vines on the Marycrest) grazing off a board loaded with local cheeses, honey & other local goodies while playing a little bocce ball or horseshoes and watching the sun set over our neighboring vineyards and olive groves. THIS is Paso!
Then, its time for BBQ, traditional, family style. Grass-fed meats from Templeton Hills Beef, veggies from our Talley Box hit the grill (using salt & pepper only!) oh, and don’t forget to throw on some of the yummy breads from Colony Culture with a drizzle of local EVVO from Kiler Ridge Olive Farm. And because we just cant do it any better (and it’s Mom’s favorite!) we indulge with some mac n cheese from Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ. And no Paso BBQ is complete without a luscious red wine to go with it, and we have plenty of those to choose from; Ranchero Cellars and Seven Oxen are what we call our “house reds”.
The end of the first Paso-sentric evening comes to a close enjoying The Groves on 41 Citrus EVOO cake topped off with vanilla (always vanilla!) Leo Leo Gelato and reviewing our itinerary for the coming days.
While of course a visit to wine country keeps wine at the top of one’s mind, and on our list of things to do, we will do plenty of tasting and sipping of some fantastic world class wines, and we will spend the coming days indulging in the discovery of our local brews, hard ciders and seltzers, (my new summertime sippin’ fave is the Plum Ginger from Colony Mash Brewing) but enough about drinking for just a minute, lets talk about ALL the other things there are to do here in SLO County. I would be remiss not to take my guests to visit a few of our cool “kids” at our local farms & ranches along the SLO Co Farm Trail.
We will start the day at Giving Tree Family Farm in Santa Margarita learning to milk a goat, make soap, then get crafty with a bit of fiber felting. A visit here wouldn’t be complete without snuggling with Mick, the kissing alpaca! On to The Groves on 41 where we will tour the farm, learn some olive oil history and fun facts while tasting through their delish estate grown EVOO’s. (their garlic & praline flavored are my personal faves!) Back to town for lunch at Thomas Hill Organics, where locally grown is celebrated like a party on your plate! We will hop back on the trail, stopping at Sierra Honey Farm to learn a little more about the birds and especially the bee’s and do some honey tasting. Finishing our day on the trial will be a “jam session” at Hartley Farms, which includes a jam making workshop and of course more tasting! This farm is such a beautiful setting for a picnic dinner, so we will tap in to one of our favorite caterer’s to bring out a grazing feast to enjoy with wines from the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail. With all the trekking we did along the SLO Co Farm Trail, we may just bring out the buckets and treat ourselves to a foot soak from Life Elements.
We will make today all about wine … a another fit for foodies kind of day.
Favorite wineries include Tablas Creek, not only for their delish wines, but for their attention to detail in holistically caring for and supporting the best practices in farming, regenerative agriculture. Right next door is Halter Ranch Winery, boasting their own sustainable programs, and a darned fine place to enjoy an estate grown lunch. On down Adelaida Rd is Alta Colina, our favorite place to enjoy their sparkling Pet Nat up on the observation deck overlooking the vineyard. While it seems we are so very far away, we are just minutes from town where we look forward to more sipping and grazing at the Alchemist Garden. Take a break from wines and let them dazzle you with some of their more unique and fresh cocktails, from garden to glass! Be sure to order their daily special croquettes and savory popcorn sampler!
An early Sunday drive takes us to Montana de Oro State Park for a hike along the coast, rewarded with tasty pastries & baked goods from Wayward Bakery in Los Osos. We continue south to SLO Creek Farms where we will take a self-guided tour through their u-pick flower fields and orchards, collecting bouquets & fruit, then enjoying their delish hard cider under the shade tree overlooking the farm & iconic windmill. NO trip to south county is complete without a stop at Avila Valley Barn. From the cutest barnyard animals, over the top farm stand, to the best friend chicken sando you’ve ever tasted, this is a stop the whole family enjoys. Ready for some more hard cider tasting? Head on up See Canyon to their sister farm Gopher Glen for more sipping and shopping!
I can go on and on… We Have SO much to do here on the Central Coast. Even living here I am frequently delighted with new experiences, as well as revisiting old favorites. I hope a few of my faves become yours, and I look forward to meeting you out on the SLO Co Farm Trail when you come for a visit.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
WOW, FARMstead ED wouldn’t be what it is today without all our partner farms & producers. So many lessons learned from each and every soul. The levels of discovery, loyalty, generosity and support continue to exceed expectation. The cross-pollination of our partners & purveyors promotes and creates new products using better practices. With over 30 farm trail partners and supporters, I can say without doubt, it takes a village and each are stronger as part of this herd.
@yvetteromanphoto (lynette with map) @stephmarden (lynette with dogs in garden) @hartleyfarms (jam tasting) @farmsteaded (all others) @slocreekfarm (dog & windmill)