Over 20 farms open their gates for tours, tastings, and educational experiences 

PASO ROBLES — Over 20 farms opened their gates to the community this past weekend for the FARMstead ED Open Farm Days. The weekend-long event kicked off with the second annual Open Farm Days Kickoff Marketplace in Paso Robles City Park. 

Founded in 2014, FARMstead ED is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the community closer to our local farms. Open Farm Days is their largest fundraising event of the year. The weekend was a chance for farms to open their gates and welcome visitors to participate in tours, demonstrations, tastings, and educational classes. On Friday night, locals and tourists filtered into the park to learn about the week-long event and speak to local farmers and makers first-hand.

FARMstead ED founder Lynette Sonne said of this year’s event, “We were excited to welcome more vendors and guests at this year’s Open Farm Days Kick-off, the Friday Night Marketplace. It was a very diversified representation of our locally grown and made.”


Throughout the weekend, June 21-23, the community visited several participating farms learning about bees, wandered through lavender fields, sipped local wines and mocktails, grazed on locally grown groceries, tasted olive oils, learned about hand-crafting aromatic and creative takeaways to remember the day by, toured fields their lunches were harvested from, cuddled with newborn lambs, and more.

Member of FARMstead ED and Hambly Farms owner Gina Hambly enjoyed the second annual Friday Night Marketplace and welcomed guests to the U-Pick experience at her lavender farm.

“I loved the Friday night Marketplace,” she said. “We got to see so many visitors, share our story, introduce them to our products and visit with my fellow FARMstead ED members. We are in our second year of offering the Lavender U-Pick and had over 120 ticket holders visit the farm, and that exposure for our farm is phenomenal. Open Farm Day Ticket holders enthusiasm for learning about our farm and what we do makes it so worth it for us. Our hope is they will return year after year to get their lavender fill.”

Hambly has been a member of FARMstead ED for a few years and she has become an advocate for the organization.

“We are very active members because Agritourism is a large part of what we offer,” she explains. “Joining farms together to network, collaborate, and learn from each other is what FARMstead ED does. We have met many farmers through FARMstead ED, who are now great friends, many of whom we buy ingredients for our products. Additionally, bringing awareness and a larger spotlight to these very unique types of experiences helps all of our farms and local businesses succeed.”

Proceeds from the weekend will help the nonprofit with marketing and promotion of their local family farms. The Central Coast is home to many diverse farms and agriculturalists offering a range of products.

“Shining a light on these folks that grow, produce and make is important their well being, as well as the consumers,” explains Sonne. “Local agriculture is important to us as a community; from our roots to our boots, it’s our history, our present, and our future. Supporting local farms is a good thing, allowing folks to know their farmer and where their food comes from.”

Farms that participated in the weekend included Adelaida Botanicals, AmByth Estate, Avila Valley Barn, Chaparral Gardens, Clearwater Color Nursery, Dalledet Adobe, Giving Tree Family Farm, Green Love Elixir Bar, The Groves on 41, Hambly Farms, Kiler Ridge, Leo Leo Gelato, Life Elements, Mighty Cap Mushrooms, Niner Winery Estate Chefs Garden, Olea Farm, Our Global Family Farm, Reves de Moutons, Black Market Cheese Co., Sierra Honey Farm, Talley Farms Box, Templeton Valley Farmers, and Tiber Canyon.

Sonne stresses that, “Continued community support of local agriculture is important to the survival of small family farms. When we buy local, we not only feed our families, we feed theirs — our farmers, by keeping them in business.”

FARMstead ED is home to the SLO County Farm Trail. On the FARMstead website, you can find an interactive map that showcases participating farms throughout SLO County. The Farm Trail connects other ranches and makers and consumers alike. Learn more about FARMstead ED and your local farming community here farmsteaded.com

Featured Image: A participant feeds one of the four-legged creatures at the FARMstead ED Open Farm Days on June 21-23. Photos by Brittany App