Saturday, I decided to take a drive out to a local farm and apiary I'd heard about, Beekman and Beekman, in order to buy some honey wine for Mother's Day gifts. I found out about it rather fortuitously, by editing an article about their upcoming Lavender Days Festival for the local tourism newsletter.
The honey gift shop and tasting room ended up being farther away than I thought. On MapQuest it looked like it was fairly close to our friend Brian's house, which is a ranchette in the area (and home of the annual Pig Roast). However, it turned out to be a few miles further out into the country. I got to drive out past the town of Ceres, through orchards, past a brand-new allegedly "green" and energy-efficient housing development, past nut processing plants, past the La Favorita radio station office, to the charming farmhouse where the honey wine gift shop was.
The lady inside invited me to taste four types of honey: sage, alfalfa, orange blossom, and buckwheat. The buckwheat honey was the most intensely flavorful. I kind of thought they should use those teeny ice cream sampling spoons for the honey tasting, but they only offered toothpicks for dipping. I personally could have used a teaspoon, but that's just me...
Then the lady carded me for the three bottles of honey wine I bought. I showed her my ID and she exclaimed in surprise at how much older I was than I looked. "So you're what," she said, "about 40?" Evidently 2008 - 1977 is not 31, as I'd previously thought. I gently corrected her.
I decided to try a different route back home, thinking the honey place might be closer to the freeway, possibly a slightly faster journey than country roads, even though I can jam at about 55 or 60 out there (and will get tailgated if I don't). I take a little scenic orchard drive for a few miles, relying on my sense of direction to locate the freeway. I take the exit that leads me through Ceres again on the way home--our house isn't that close to the freeway, so you can take any one of 3 exits and be roughly equidistant.
I passed the Modesto airport on the way back to my house (featuring a handful of flights per day to LAX and SFO! Costing a mere gajillion dollars! Probably.). There was a slight traffic jam, and I looked up to see a little biplane doing very unruly loop-the-loops in the air. Whoever was piloting the thing needed some practice. I kept thinking "Oh, shit! He's goin' down!" And then the plane would gradually pull up and go looping around again.
Anyway, this is a nice season in the Central Valley. (Not to mention we got garlic scapes in the CSA box last week--I'd never seen those before. Photo to come.)