If you’ve had the chance to drive through Napa Valley in the last four weeks, you’ve probably noticed that the valley floor is full of yellow flowers. What are those yellow flowers, and why are they everywhere throughout the valley?
Those flowers are mustard, and they’ve been blooming in vineyards across Napa since the 1800s. Believe it or not, mustard is not indigenous to Napa Valley, although it serves as an excellent and gorgeous crop cover in late winter. But if it’s not indigenous, how did it get here?
Legend has it that Spanish and Mexican exploration party leaders Don Francisco Castro, Jose Sanches and Jesuit priest Father Jose Altimura arrived in Napa Valley in 1823 looking for a site for their mission. The first version of the legend states that Altimura loved mustard so much that he scattered seeds wherever he went. The second version of the story claims that Altimura got lost easily and left a trail of mustard seeds to prevent getting lost.
Whichever version of the story you believe, mustard season is truly one of the most beautiful times to visit Napa Valley. Plan your trip between mid-February and late March and make sure you bring a camera, because you’ll want to document this truly spectacular season!