Taste Carmel Valley, CA

Wines, olive oil, fresh produce and herbs near the PCH.

Conditions are ripe for artisan olive oil producers like Jan de Luz in the Central Coast's Carmel Valley.
  • Conditions are ripe for artisan olive oil producers like Jan de Luz in the Central Coast's Carmel Valley.

Enjoy a few leisurely hours driving east along picturesque Carmel Valley Road, just off Highway 1 near Carmel, California, where you can stop, taste and shop for veggies and herbs on an organic farm and visit wineries. Travel a little farther east, and you can taste some organic extra virgin olive oil! Save the hike in a regional park for your return trip.

A fine vintage-to-be in Carmel.

A fine vintage-to-be in Carmel.

If you’re into organic foods, Earthbound Farms offers garden walks, workshops, cooking demonstrations and samplings, and is open year-round. Stroll through the garden and taste the herbs, pick up a sandwich, or take home a selection of freshly picked organic produce from their quaint little shop.

A wine lover’s “must see” is a visit to Chateau Julien and Boete Winery tasting rooms – fine wine tasting, tours by reservation and various special events are waiting.

Continuing east on Carmel Valley Road, it’s easy to imagine you’re in the French countryside with its oak and olive trees and small vineyards scattered across the bucolic landscape. Look for Jan de Luz on the right (pictured) to admire a collection of antique fireplaces, fountains, French furniture and linens.

But the highlight here is Jan’s extra virgin No. 13 olive oil. It’s 100% organic: no chemicals, no fertilizer. A 250 ml bottle goes for $24, and a 500 ml bottle is priced at $42. Well worth it! Check out his video tour:

On your way back towards Highway 1 in Carmel, stop for a picnic and hike in Garland Ranch Regional Park, where natural beauty surrounds you. Maps and information are available at the small visitor center at the entrance; you can choose from a variety of hiking and biking trails.

History buffs will want to explore the homesteads, barns and corrals from the old Garland Ranch. (See Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District for more information.)

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