Alysia Gray Painter
Lompoc has long been famed for its flower fields. While there are fewer than past years, you can still search out the pretty petals of the area courtesy of a local flower map.
FRUIT'S BFF: The Golden State is rather known for being a lush and fertile land where things of all manner grow, and grow well. But our edibles often take the supping spotlight -- we have three back-to-back strawberry festivals in Southern and Central California alone -- which can leave fruit's cousin, the flower, out there blooming on its own. Oh, we love our flowers, yes we do, but because we can't eat them -- well, we can, of course, but not in the manner of fruit -- they don't always get to shine beyond the occasional garden tour.
ENTER LOMPOC: The happy news is that there are a few places around the state where flowers grow in profusion. Nope, we're not talking about public gardens, nor historic homes that have notable beds o' buds. We're talking flower fields here, the kind that grow in Carlsbad for a short amount of time (March to mid-May, for that particular location). Lompoc is also a longtime home to flower fields, and while the fields are fewer in number in recent years, the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce provides a pdf, complete with map, as to where one might find the fields if one were to go for a pleasant Sunday drive. (People still do that, right? Good.)
OR... You can just visit the annual Lompoc Flower Festival, which blooms from June 26 through June 30. It marked its 60th last year, meaning that when we said that Lompoc is the longtime home to flower growing, we indeed meant "long time." If you want to skip the fest and just for the fields, you might call the number of the map to see what is bursting out at the moment. But marigolds and sweet peas are two of the area's flowers and they're pretty dang showy, so let's hope you get to see them both.