Wilder Ranch food history
Food & Drink

Tour Food History at Wilder Ranch

Garden Day and tours will show how Wilders ate 100 years ago

Wilder Ranch’s Sky Biblin enjoys showing guests around historic homes, where the Wilders enjoyed luxuries, but worked very hard. PHOTO: JACOB PIERCE

This weekend, Wilder Ranch State Park will travel back to the early 1900s with Garden Planting and Wool Day on Saturday, plus ranch tours on both Saturday and Sunday.

Guests will help with garden planting and watch sheep shearing demonstrations on Saturday. On the tours, volunteer docents will demonstrate how the Wilder family lived 100-plus years ago, and what they may have eaten.

Wilder Ranch Interpreter Sky Biblin says that during cooking demonstrations, volunteers will serve tastes of old-fashioned fare, including baked goodies and fresh tortillas.

Did the Wilders eat tortillas?

SKY BIBLIN: There’s a diverse history here. When the California mission system was dismantled, we entered the Mexican period. The Castro family had a land grant here. There was a Russian citizen who jumped ship in Monterey and changed his name and converted to Catholicism. He married into the Castro family. This was the 1830s, and their adobe still stands. The tortilla making is done right next to that.

What goes into the heirloom garden?

We replicate things that would have been here back 100 years ago and use what’s available to us via donations, while also incorporating plants that have resilience to pests. We have some serious ground squirrels.

People sounded busy. When did they have time to catch up on Netflix?

Working on the ranch was a hard life—making a living here in this harsh environment. This really was the frontier. There was electricity only because they harnessed the power here. This was on the fringe of society. But when you go home at night, you’re a totally different person. It was the same thing here. Because they were successful and hard-working, they had luxuries that were not common in the day. If you go on a tour, you’ll see there’s a phonograph, and a player piano. They’ve got all these pictures of them playing around and dressing up their dog.

Garden Planting and Wool Day will run 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at Wilder Ranch, 1401 Coast Rd. Tours will be offered both Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, at 1 p.m. The events are free. Parking is $10.

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