My Favorite Summer Hikes in Sonoma County

WOW! Kids make life the best kind of busy, and so does being involved with the family business and managing my own brand. Keeping me on my toes, as a mom to three wonderful children, I often find myself pressed for time. Passionate about my profession and caring for others, I am a big believer in enjoying the small things in life. Hiking and enjoying the beauty of nature is just one tip from me to you I really want to share.

Natalia's summer hikes in the mountains

Hiking is good for you

Adventure & Exploration at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Looking for a stress reliever combined with a little challenge? What’s better than beautiful scenery to take a deep breath and forget your worries for a while? With beautiful summer days right around the corner, a personal goal of mine is to start hiking more. As a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, I love how hiking increases my energy, puts me in a good mood, and brings my family together.

I have begun try to find new places to hike. There is no shortage of hiking spots here in Northern California, which means there is always plenty to discover! With more than 150 miles of trails in Sonoma County alone, there is a hike suitable for everyone. You can explore everything from the mountains and lakes to the forests and the beaches. We have it all! I wanted to share some great hikes on my radar so you and your family can enjoy them too.

A Beginner’s Hike: Spring Lake Regional Park

Paddling at Spring Lake Regional Park
Photo Credit: Sonoma County Regional Parks

This is a comfortable and popular hike you can enjoy with your family any day! Located Northeast of Santa Rosa, Spring Lake Regional Park offers multiple activities perfect for all ages. When my kiddos were younger, I loved taking them and their bikes. Other than one steep yet brief hill, there is a 2 mile paved circuit loop around the lake, it is pretty flat for them to pedal along. Beyond this, the entire park features 10 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. For a perfect family outing be sure to enjoy a family picnic and don’t forget your camera for those precious family moments.

Will you hike for wine?

Fritz Winery Sunrise on the Vineyard

Built into a picturesque hillside, atop the northernmost region of the famed Dry Creek Valley, our winery, Fritz Underground Winery is the perfect place for a vineyard walk. Experience 112-acres of the great outdoors, with rolling green hills and sweeping landscapes.  Start the tour wandering through the vineyards and organic gardens on your way to a natural spring hidden in the majestic redwoods. Finish the tour with a walk through the winemaking facility and experience the “behind the scenes” of winemaking. If you like wine and hiking, it does not get better than this! 

Afterwards, take a moment of zen with our Estate Zin and enjoy a wine tasting and/or picnic by the lake.

 Natalia’s picnic tips: Celery & olive medley salad followed by raspberry cream cookies for dessert! An easy to prepare recipe your kids are sure to love!

Taylor Mountains Regional Park

Taylor Mountains Regional Park
Photo Credit: Sonoma County Regional Parks

After a few easy to moderate hikes, let’s increase the difficulty level with a hike in the Taylor Mountains regional park. Ranked #1 on Yelp by the Sonoma hiking community, this hike offers 5.5 miles of trails for all difficulty levels.

The Eastern Trail is the most difficult with a steep, 1,000-foot ascent to the top of the mountain. The Western Trail offers a more gradual climb up the mountain. These two hikes are worth it, offering sweeping views of Santa Rosa and beyond. The Todd Creek Trail is relatively flat but longer, winding through a lovely oak woodland for 7 miles. Eventually, the 1.2-mile Red Tail Trail bends through beautiful oaks and grassy meadows with some gradual climbs, looping back to the parking lot. At about the mid-point, a .2-mile trail connector links the Red Tail Trail it to the Western Trail. Cattle grazing gives you yet another opportunity to enjoy nature’s wildness and beauty.

Time for relaxation

Yoga Toes

After a long day of hiking, wind down with one of my favorite essentials, Yoga toes toe stretchers, to give your feet some relief! I am on my feet A LOT! At the end of the day, my tired & achy feet deserve a s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Yoga Toes are my “go to”.
And you? What is your favorite hike? I am still looking for more ideas to add to a summer “To Do” list.  I would love to hear from you. Xo Natalia

From Refined Wine to Extra Virgin Olive Oil- The Best of the Dry Creek Valley

From Blackberry Bushes to Olive Trees…

Olio D'Natalia

As a mom and the daughter of a farmer, Natalia Fritz has always appreciated the health benefits, locally sourced production, and top quality of the ingredients she uses in her cooking. So almost 10 years ago, when the idea came to her and her husband of replacing the overgrown blackberry bushes at Fritz Winery, it is not surprising that she and Clay came up with the idea of planting olive trees. The idea was not only to prevent potential vineyard diseases but also to be able to extract excellent extra virgin olive oil.

From Kid to Mom, Mom to Kid, Cooking Came Full Circle

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed cooking. My intrigue began when I was around 4 or 5 years old. I remember my friend Sara received a Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven for her 5th birthday, I was instantly fascinated and curious (and probably a tinge jealous). I think I told the Birthday Fairy and Santa for years and years that that is what I wanted. And because I never got one (I also asked for bikes and typewriters and clothes and other toys, so please don’t think my parents or Santa or the Birthday Fairy neglected me), my desire for cooking never faded. It just got stronger.

Natalia's Kitchen - Leo LOVES my Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce
Leo LOVES my sauce on cheese raviolis for a quick snack

Like many, many other parents out there, I value providing homemade meals for my family as often as possible. Healthy habits with whole foods have become a basic priority here. So often I find myself thinking about what I am going to cook over the next few days. I LOVE meal planning, and I love sorting through cookbooks and magazines as I imagine pulling together different dishes to complete our meals. So much inspiration out there!

These days my house is filled with three growing kids and a hungry husband. During our busiest days (which feels like every day) I love knowing I can quickly create a well balanced and tasty meal by using my sweet potato tomato sauce. From pasta to pizza, sloppy joes to lasagna roll-ups – I know we’re getting at least 75% vegetables per serving. Pretty cool! And, by combining great flavor with a whole score of health benefits, this sauce brings the sweet potato to play with every bite!

Mom and Wife Who Loves to Cook: Why Natalia Fritz Uses Real Ingredients

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a farmer’s daughter gets excited by fresh from-the-earth produce. I love it! When your food actually does something good for you and your family, with no preservatives, no additives, no chemicals – that’s what I’m alllll… about. Now I know we’re all busy and we don’t have time between basketball & baseball practice, music lessons, and homework help to be a professional chef who cooks fresh food all day, every day. But there’s no excuse not to try. Why is it that we use our busy schedules as an excuse to skip real ingredients and compromise? Personally, I am over it!

Baked Ziti with Spinach & Chicken
  1. • 1 box of your favorite brand ziti or penne shaped pasta
  2. • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  3. • 1 jar Natalia’s Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce
  4. • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  5. • ½ cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese + ¼ cup for final garnish
  6. • ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
  7. • 1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Get out a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.
  3. Cook your ziti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. (I add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to the water)
  4. Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot it was boiled in. Add the chicken, basil and spinach. Mix to combine.
  5. Add a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the baking dish - about 2 tablespoons. Pour half of the pasta mix into the pan. Sprinkle half of the cheeses (in any order) over the pasta. Pour and spread half the remaining sauce over the pasta in the baking dish. Add the second half of the pasta on top. Layer with cheeses, and then the last of the sauce.
  6. Bake for 22-25 minutes until cheese is very melted. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining Parmesan Cheese.
  7. Serve warm.
  1. Pair this dish with: 2013 Fritz Estate Zinfandel
Natalia's Kitchen Blog reviewed my sauce! reviewed my healthy Non-GMO Glutenfree Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce and they RECOMMEND it! Dreams do come true!

Read the Review here…

“You know the saying, “don’t cry over spilt milk”? Well, in this case it’s spilt pureed sweet potatoes into a pan of marinara sauce intended for the pasta she was making for her family. A happy accident, I must say!…”

My sauce is now in Whole Foods!

Dear Friends,

I am so excited and proud that my Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce has made its way to Whole Foods!

It is now on the shelves of 23 Northern California stores. What makes me so happy is that it is available to more people! Powered by sweet potatoes, my sauce is a nutritional champion!
Bursting with beta-carotene and vitamins A, B6 & C, sweet potatoes pack tremendous nutritional value to your diet.

This is a picture of me from June 4th – my FIRST vendor fair for D.O.V.E. Distributing. I was able to meet many of their energetic and hardworking account reps. What a great team.

Currently, due to the abundant zucchini in our garden, my family’s latest favorite is to smother it over zoodles (zucchini noodles). Try it for yourself! Assuming you have a spiralizer (if not, it is truly worth the investment):

Spiralize the desired amount of zucchini (for my family of 5, I spiralized 5 medium zucchini), and take the time to gently squeeze as much moisture out of the zucchini as you can. I use several paper towels for this.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauté pan.
Add the zucchini noodles, and toss every 20-30 seconds. Once they are cooked through, which should only take 3-4 minutes, remove them from the pan, place onto a platter and set aside.
In a small sauce pan heat 1.5 cups of Natalia’s Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce to a simmer.
Spoon over zoodles and then sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
This is a super healthy, quick, and satisfying meal!

I want to say “Thank-You!!” to my distributor D.O.V.E. for their excellent execution and efficiency in getting my sauce on those coveted shelves in Whole Foods.


Natalia Fritz Spills the Details on Natalia’s Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce

Monday, July 13th, 2015

The night Natalia Fritz accidentally spilled puréed sweet potatoes into her marinara sauce, she had no idea that soon she’d be selling the world’s only Sweet Potato Sauce. Now known as Natalia’s Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce, her creation combines great flavor with a whole score of health benefits.

“A farmer’s daughter, I grew up in Bakersfield, California. My family has been growing premium produce for over three generations,” Natalia tells me. “Surrounded by the dedication and pride in one of the best farming communities, I inherited knowledge and high standards for healthy eating.”

Natalia is now showcasing those high standards by making a Non-GMO sauce that uses the nutrient-packed sweet potato. A superfood for sure, each sweet potato is loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins A, B6, C & D and packed with fiber and iron—nutrients which shine through in each serving.

It’s not surprising with health benefits like these that Natalia’s Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce soon made it onto school menus. One health-conscious customer, Diane Rose, the Owner of Montessori Fun preschool, said, “We have used Natalia’s Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce here for the children’s lunches as a base for toasted cheese on english muffins, pizza sauce, sauce for pasta or just plain fun and yummy dip. Kids love to dip their veggies in this sauce and parents love it especially because it is so healthy and made from sweet potatoes.”

Perhaps the most important aspect of Natalia’s sauce is her attention to detail down to the very last ingredient. Along with the impressive health benefits, Natalia’s sauce is:


Gluten Free

No Sugar Added

Low Fat

No Artificial Colors or Flavors

No Artificial Ingredients

Read on