Nursery day trip: Livermore, CA

Where to find the freshest fruits and the best blooms
Abigail Peterson

Why go in spring: Spring doesn’t get any better than this. Grapevines leafing out and roses in mad bloom leave you itching to get your hands in the earth.

The new agriculture: Wine and rodeos put Livermore on the map, but now everyone’s talking about olive oil and backyard veggie gardens.

Number of olive oil producers: 10

Overheard at the nursery: “What’s the kind of pomegranate in the juice again? ‘Wonderful’? Let’s get one of those trees!”

Need coffee? Sketch out planting plans downtown at Panama Red Coffee Co. (2115 First St.; 925/245-1700). Great chai too.

Best outdoor meal: Sunday brunch or sunset supper (with plenty of local produce) on the patio at the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards ($$$$; 5050 Arroyo Rd.; 925/456- 2450).

More tastes of sunshine: Locals say the farmstand near the corner of Concannon Boulevard and South Livermore Avenue has the sweetest strawberries mid-April through June. If you see signs, it’s open.

HAD YOUR FILL OF BLOOMS?

  • Taste artisanal olive oil:
    Picholine, Frantoio, Lucca, and Arbequina olives are pressed within hours of picking, using custom machinery that Olivina imported from Italy. Savor the nuances of each variety on a farm tour and tasting. By appointment; free; 4555 Arroyo Rd.; theolivina.com
  • Play a game of bocce:
    The folks at Campo di Bocce of Livermore will have you slinging bocce balls like a champ in no time. Play out by the stone fireplace, and have your pizza and bottle of red served courtside. Bocce $10 per person for 90 minutes, restaurant $$$; 175 E. Vineyard Ave.; 925/249-9800.
  • Picnic with wine:
    At tiny, homespun Boa- Ventura de Caires Winery, you can pick up a picnic to enjoy among the vines (every first full weekend of the month, through Oct). The slightly effervescent white table wine feels just right for spring. Call for details; 9309 Tesla Rd.; 925/606-9672.