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Seeking foodies and artists: Historic town of Harmony revives

April 8, 2015

The tiny coastal community of Harmony, California, population 18, has been many things to many

people over the years—dairy town, artists’ colony, picturesque pit-stop on the road to and from Hearst Castle, Central Coast Wine Country and Big Sur—all of which the town’s new ownership embraces and plans to incorporate into the town’s future.

 

Purchased for an undisclosed amount in 2013 by a third-generation California dairy farmer and San Luis Obispo local, the town of Harmony is currently being scrubbed down and dolled up in preparation for the addition of the Harmony Valley Creamery Dairy Shoppe that will showcase locally-sourced dairy products, a farm-to-table restaurant and gardens for large gatherings from corporate parties to weddings.

 

Harmony’s heritage as a haven for music and visual arts will be preserved with galleries and studios like Harmony Glassworks, Harmony Pottery Works and the Painted Sky Recording Studio continuing their leases.

 

Harmony’s new owner, Alan Vander Horst—a dairyman by trade and a Cal Poly Agriculture graduate—fell in love with Harmony and the Central Coast while attending school. Today, his dream of reviving Harmony’s dairy-processing past is in full swing.

 

“Harmony has always been a special place for many people,” said Vander Horst. “Given its background as a dairy town, we’re looking to bring that element back and expand it a bit while keeping Harmony’s authenticity, charm, and artists’ studios intact.”

A long-established fixture of California’s Central Coast, the town of Harmony has a rich supporting history. Founded in 1869 around a burgeoning local dairy industry, Harmony served as the capital of Central Coast dairy production for nearly half a century.

Following the ultimate closure of the creamery, Harmony’s population steadily waned as the

community saw much of the state’s dairy production transition from the Central Coast to the Central Valley. While undergoing periods of relative dormancy in the years leading up to its current renovation, today the 2.5-acre, 1-block town of Harmony looks to bustle once again. Currently the town is undergoing needed renovations and proper ADA access, and the creamery courtyard is being expanded to accommodate the new storefronts.

 

Harmony looks to attract the region’s local foodies and visitors traveling scenic Highway 1 as well as brides and grooms searching for the perfect wedding venue.

 

“The Harmony Chapel has seen a lot of weddings in its time, and we’re not about to change that,” said Vander Horst, adding that chapel weddings can host up to 60 guests and up to 100 outdoors once the garden grounds are completed. A limited number of dates to rent the entire town—including the Dairy Shoppe, restaurant, and gardens—for weddings and events of up to 250 guests are planned.

 

For more information about Harmony’s revival, please contact Elissa Wiese, Parker Sanpei, at 805-543-2288 or elissa@parkersanpei.com.

 

 

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