The first thing you should know about Petaluma is that this is a farm town—with more than 60,000 residents, a large one—and the residents are proud of it. Recent years have seen an uptick in the quality of Petaluma cuisine, fueled in part by the proliferation of local organic and artisanal farms and boutique wine production. With the 2018 approval of the Petaluma Gap AVA, the town even has its name on a wine appellation.
Petaluma's agricultural history reaches back to the mid-1800s, when General Mariano Vallejo established Rancho de Petaluma as the headquarters of his vast agrarian empire. From the late 1800s into the 1960s Petaluma marketed itself as the "Egg Capital of the World," and with production totals that peaked at 612 million eggs in 1946, the point was hard to dispute. Although a poultry processor remains Petaluma's second-largest employer, the town has diversified. The adobe, an interesting historical stop, was once the area's only employer, but these days its visitation figures are dwarfed by Lagunitas Brewing Company, whose free tour is a hoot. At McEvoy Ranch, which started out producing gourmet olive oil and now also makes wine, you can taste both products and tour parts of the farm.