Price Range: ($$) Mid-Range
On a weekend getaway to the Santa Cruz Mountains, we stumbled upon this homesteader's paradise and it's the sort of place that makes us consider moving to the area permanently. If you visit, give yourself plenty of time to meander Mountain Feed & Farm Supply's eclectic and colorful maze of buildings, pathways, and gardens. By the time you leave, you'll be armed with the inspiration and tools for such worthy pursuits as canning, beekeeping, beer brewing, and sausage and cheese making. Mountain Feed & Farm Supply is located in Ben Lomond, a small town in the mountains north of Santa Cruz, Calif. It's off the beaten path but well worth a visit if you're in the vicinity. (Make a day of it and visit the glorious redwood trees at the nearby Henry Cowell or Big Basin State Parks.)
As DIY food lovers, we were blown away by the selection of kitchen supplies and picked up everything from BPA-free canning jar lids to heirloom yogurt starters and farming books. If we had more room in the car, we might have come away with a meat grinder, an apple cider press, and a few sauerkraut crocks. The selection of garden plants is equally impressive – we counted nearly a dozen varieties of thyme! – and the shop sources from local, organic, and sustainable farms.
Most notable was the entire staff's friendly and helpful demeanor. Not only were they knowledgeable but they exuded a true sense of joy for homesteading activities. We only wish Mountain Feed & Farm Supply had an online store so we could support them more regularly (until we move in next door, that is...).
For more about Mountain Feed & Farm Supply, visit their store page over at Marketplace.
Images: Emily Ho