I first visited Sonoma County as an adult in 1991. Freshly graduated from high school, I hopped in the car with my best friend and we escaped Los Angeles, northbound on I-5. Occidental or bust, we declared. For the next week, we hiked through the woods, camped at former hippie commune Morningstar, and drove out to Goat Rock by way of glorious Coleman Valley Road. We stopped for picnics on random wooded ridges, where we’d sing Primus tunes and eat good, fresh food while talking about what the future held. It was August and the smell of ripe blackberries lingered everywhere. We picked them, sun-warmed and juicy, straight from the bushes. For a city girl like me, that was a beautiful thing. When the week was up, I vowed to come back for good; I didn’t fulfill that promise until 2006, when I settled here permanently. Sonoma County’s abundance of culture, food, and creativity continues to thrill me on a daily basis. Just look at the summer issue in your hands. From stellar medicinal herb farms to award-winning barrel-aged sours made right in Santa Rosa, we’ve got it. From punk rock ranch food at Wishbone to motivated farmers and activists who are working to create land-use equality, fair wages, and sustainability for everyone, we’ve got it.
Grateful doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about living in the North Bay.
This marks my first issue as editor of Made Local Magazine. I am beyond excited to the share the bountiful stories to be found within our thriving regional food system—and the challenges of making Sonoma County healthy, equitable, and livable for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Have a story tip or feedback? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Leilani Clark, Editor