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The Orion

Passport Weekend offers taste of Butte County

The Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend, which is in its ninth year, allows locals and tourists to visit 29 locations to taste the food, wine and beer of Butte County.

The event occurs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $25 if purchased in advance and $30 the day of the event.

The Orion chose five places for travelers to check out during this year’s Passport Weekend.

1. Chico State’s University Farm: Located on Hegan Lane, five miles south of campus

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Chico State's University Farm. Photo Courtesy Brian Miller

At the Chico State University Farm, participants can take a guided tour on a wagon or go on a self-guided tour by following a map.

“Passport visitors can expect to visit with students who work in each unit at the farm and get a first-hand look at what they are learning through classes, labs and work experiences,” said Hillary Bertagna, the external relations coordinator of the College of Agriculture.

The Stock Dog Association will perform demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the University Farm as well. Other activities include a jack-o’-lantern carving station in conjunction with The Organic Vegetable Project.

2. TJ Farms Estates: 3600 Chico Ave., Chico, CA 95928

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Sunflowers at TJ Farms Estates in Chico. Photo courtesy Julie Newby

After having their passport stamped, visitors can sample all of the products at TJ Farms Estates.

“Our pickles, jams and salad dressings are all handmade,” said Dave Moss, owner of the family farm.

Among all the different foods visitors can try, the farm’s Kiwi Mustard is the most popular, Moss said. TJ Farms Estates is also close to Chico State: only 3.4 miles from campus.

3. Lavender Ranch: 17 W. Rio Bonito Road, Biggs, CA 95917

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Lavender Ranch. Photo Courtesy Lavender Ranch

Passport Weekend travelers can take a tour of Lavender Ranch with ranch manager Tiffany Miller. Tours will be given at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and are approximately 30 minutes long.

Lavender sugar cookies will be made specifically for the event.

“It’s beautiful out here,” Miller said. “Very unique. We grow the lavender, harvest it and distill it. It’s all done here on the farm.”

Most places have to go through different facilities, but at Lavender Ranch, everything is done on location.

4. Grey Fox Vineyards: 90 Grey Fox Lane, Oroville, CA 95966

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Last year's Passport Weekend event at Grey Fox Vineyards. Photo courtesy of Grey Fox Vineyards.

Music and food and wine pairing can be found at Grey Fox Vineyards. The wine-tasting room will be offering a sampling of its different wines.

While wine tasting, attendees can enjoy a view of the Sutter Buttes, valley and the vineyard through the glass windows.

“It will be a great event; we are looking forward to it,” said Jeanne Cecchi, cofounder of Grey Fox Vineyards.

5. Morse Mandarin Farms: 8 Feathervale Drive, Oroville, CA 95966

When stopping by Morse Mandarin Farms, visitors will go through a portion of its mandarin orange orchard as part of a self-guided tour. Along the way, they can read posters of information about the fruit’s origins.

Samples offered include iced tea, mandarin red pudding and Emperor’s Mandarin Wheat Beer that uses mandarin juice from the farm. Vistors can also enjoy a picnic lunch on the farm at its picnic tables.


Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, Oct. 11 and Sunday Oct. 12
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Location: Various farms and vineyards throughout Butte County
  • Price: $25 in advance, $30 either day of the event.


Tickets can be purchased online or at any Tri Counties Bank in Chico.

Christina Saschin can be reached at [email protected] or @Stina127 on Twitter.

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