Get a behind the scenes look at how Humboldt County's award-winning products are made.
Humboldt County is very proud of its award winning products. Many are organic and many are made with locally grown, raised and harvested resources. While in Humboldt County not only can you enjoy these products but you can see just how they are made. Take this tour to get an up close look at the county's thriving industries.
Note: This is a suggested itinerary, please make prior arrangements with the various companies listed below.
Start your tour with a visit to the Loleta Cheese Factory. Watch cheese making through tall windows while sampling the many different kinds of cheese. The staff will walk you through the entire process and give you a first-hand education. The award winning cheese factory began in 1982, and the name Loleta comes from the small, picturesque town where it is located. This family-run business produces great tasting, premium, all-natural, GMO-Free cheeses; 38 varieties in all, more than two million pounds annually from cow’s milk.
Next drive north on Hwy 101 toward Arcata and the Holly Yashi Factory. Take the 11 am tour at the design studio and see Holly Yashi jewelry being made. They offer one public tour each weekday at 11 am free of charge. The walking tour lasts about 30 minutes and your tour guide will give you a brief history of Holly Yashi and walk you through the 4,800 sq. ft. design building while explaining and showing the steps of our jewelry production. If you can't make it for the 11am tour, you can visit the store anytime during store hours and see the design studio from the viewing room. Holly Yashi’s handcrafted, award winning jewelry is sold in more than 1,100 upscale galleries and boutiques nationwide and has been featured in magazines, movies and television shows.
Next take the short drive to Fire & Light Originals. Fire & Light makes a distinctive line of tableware & gift items by melting crushed recycled glass in furnaces, adding pigment, and pressing the molten glass. It was formed in 1995 as a partnership between the Arcata Community Recycling Center and a group of local investors who wanted to develop an innovative plan for using recycled glass. The hand-poured recycled-glass tableware and gift items have a unique play of light that filters through its rich spectrum of colors and textures and reflect the very way in which it is made. The 12 pm tour will take you through the process of making handcrafted glassware from recycled glass.
Now for lunch. Take the 10 minute drive to Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake. Order lunch from their extensive menu of tasty and innovative pub grub. And along with that order a set of tasters to try the variety of award-winning and seasonal brews. After lunch take a tour of the brewery to see just how these fantastic brews are handcrafted in small batches.
Now head back to Eureka to see just how gingerbread architecture is made. The Blue Ox Millworks & Historic Park is a step back in time to when the Victorian craftsmanship of the 1800s was utilized to produce authentic custom quality products for homes around the world. Take the tour to see antique woodworking machinery from the late 1800s and the early 1900s, used in the production of custom millwork in the main woodworking building, sawmill building and moulder building, the world's largest functioning collection of human powered equipment from Barnes Manufacturing, a blacksmith & machine shop where ornamental iron work and hardware is made, a print shop where the Blue Ox's School's annual yearbook is run on antique letterpress machines, and Babe the famous Belgian Blue oxen.
Now head over to the production factory for an award winning chocolate maker where you can see and taste how chocolate is supposed to be made. Dick Taylor Chocolate is a small batch, bean to bar craft chocolate maker using only two ingredients; cacao & cane sugar. This entire process takes approximately three weeks to complete but allows for some of the finest chocolate possible. Organic cacao and organic cane sugar is always used in the chocolate. By not cutting corners or taking shortcuts in our process they are able to leave out vanilla, additional cocoa butter or other emulsifiers, in hopes of capturing and highlighting the subtle flavor nuances in the cacao they source from around the world. Take a tour of the facility and see how the chocolate is made. The tour includes tastings too!
Now is time for a leisurely stroll through Old Town Eureka, past the historic Victorians and the unique, locally owned shops where you will find many products produced right here in Humboldt County. Head to the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center for a local wine, beer, oyster, cheese and chocolate tasting. Local wines are selected by the Humboldt Wine Association and beers on tap from six Humboldt breweries. They serve cheeses from award-winning creameries and fresh breads from local bakeries and made from locally sourced grains. Artisan-made chocolates round out the tasting menu.
If you’re still hungry after your tasting head to one of the restaurants in Eureka. Many of them serve Humboldt County produced foods and beverages.
Today is all about oysters and beer. Check the schedule for the next oyster tour from Humboldt Bay Oyster Tour. Humboldt Bay is world-renowned for its Pacific Oysters including famous brands like Kumomoto and Bucksport. This interactive tour includes oyster farming history, harvesting techniques, bay and marsh ecology, boat safety, hands-on oyster harvesting, and includes three oysters to take home or to the restaurant of your choice. Adventurers should be dressed in layers, and willing to be splashed by bay water and walk in bay mud. All tours include 3 oysters to take home or to enjoy at Taste, our Oyster Bar at Humboldt Bay Tourism Center.
To follow-up these tours we suggest you explore the various towns throughout Humboldt County, which all have their unique beauty and personality, or check out Redwood National Park to the north or the Avenue of the Giants to the south.