The roads leading into PETALUMA (Ind., beautiful view)…which calls itself “The World’s Egg Basket” and has been called “Chickaluma” are often clogged by trucks heavily loaded with crates of eggs and white leghorns. … Although the Mexican colony here dated from 1833 and the Yankee settlement from 1852, Petaluma rose to prominence only with the founding of its major commercial activity by a young Canadian, Lyman Ryce, who decided in 1878 that the region was adapted to poultry raising and sent to Canada for some white leghorns.
—California, A Guide To the Golden State (WPA, 1939)
My hometown of Petaluma, California is known for many things; the annual Butter & Eggs Day Parade, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, the tragic 1993 murder of Polly Klaas, the Phoenix Theater where Sublime played their very last show, the artists and crafts people. Its location— nestled between the upscale vineyards of Napa Valley and the gray rocky coasts of Bodega Bay—makes it an ideal location for agriculture, and to this day there are still many nationally-loved dairies, creameries, breweries, and farms producing delicious, organic goods.
Last time I was in town I noticed something new in the windows of a grand old bank building: “Save $$ Invest in Your Garden.” It turns out Petaluma is now also home to a large seed bank, filled with 1,400 varieties of non-GMO heirloom seeds, some very rare. The Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Bank is interesting even for non-gardeners such as myself to visit, and the concept of a commercial seed bank is one worth spreading. It’s this agricultural history and local love for real-deal food that make Petaluma an interesting place to visit if you are ever north of San Francisco.
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New York City Guide Lydia White was born on the 4th of July and has been an independent spirit ever since. She spends her free time exploring what NYC and the surrounding areas have to offer. White has been photographing interesting people and unusual landscapes for nearly a decade. Follow her on Tumblr at lydia makes pictures or on her website, LydiaWhitePhotography.com.