Biggs Agritourism & Locally Grown Outdoor Adventurer

Why I Love Biggs & Gridley

Matthew Sli­gar, a third gen­er­a­tion rice farmer, was born and raised in Gri­d­ley. A fond child­hood mem­o­ry was vis­it­ing his father in the fields dur­ing har­vest, rid­ing in the old trac­tors and look­ing out across the vast land­scape of gold­en rice plants. Today, Matthew shares his pas­sion for farm­ing on his YouTube Chan­nel, Rice Farm­ing TV. His fun and edu­ca­tion­al videos have gar­nered quite the audi­ence, bring­ing atten­tion to the indus­try and the region.

Why I Love Biggs & Gridley

How did you find your­self in the Biggs/​Gridley area? What made you stay?

After grad­u­at­ing from Gri­d­ley High School I moved away for 12 years. Dur­ing that time, I earned a degree in Mod­ern Amer­i­can Lit­er­a­ture from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San­ta Cruz and moved to Prague, the cap­i­tal of the Czech Repub­lic, where I start­ed a suc­cess­ful tourism agency and met my even­tu­al Brazil­ian wife, Clara. When Clara and I con­tem­plat­ed where to start our fam­i­ly, we con­sid­ered Prague, Brazil, and Cal­i­for­nia. The safe com­mu­ni­ty of Gri­d­ley and the secu­ri­ty and oppor­tu­ni­ties of rice farm­ing guid­ed our deci­sion to return home. That was 7 years ago. Now Clara and I have two won­der­ful lit­tle girls. 

Gri­d­ley and Big­gs have fer­tile soil — per­fect not just for agri­cul­ture but also for rais­ing fam­i­lies and cre­at­ing a strong sense of community.”

Describe Biggs/​Gridley to some­one who has nev­er been there.

Gri­d­ley and Big­gs are small, rur­al, farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties that you might miss if you blink. Keep your eyes peeled, you may be pass­ing through town next to a large, beau­ti­ful trac­tor. Through traf­fic has brought most com­merce to the high­way, but the his­toric down­towns of Gri­d­ley and Big­gs are charm­ing and quaint. Gri­d­ley and Big­gs have fer­tile soil — per­fect not just for agri­cul­ture but also for rais­ing fam­i­lies and cre­at­ing a strong sense of community.

Gridley & Biggs: Gateway to Main Street

Cruise along HWY 99 through Gri­d­ley & Big­gs for a Cal­i­for­nia-style tour of Amer­i­cana. Read more to dis­cov­er what these two Butte Coun­ty towns are all about.

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What is the best-kept secret in Biggs/​Gridley? Why?

The best kept secret in the Gridley/​Biggs area is the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. On the out­skirts of Gri­d­ley sur­round­ed by agri­cul­ture lands, Gray Lodge is approx­i­mate­ly 9,000 acres of man­aged wet­land habi­tat. It’s great for bird watch­ing through­out the sea­sons. Although, late Novem­ber to ear­ly Feb­ru­ary is the most mag­i­cal time as mil­lions of win­ter migra­to­ry ducks, geese, and shore­birds vis­it the region while trav­el­ing along the Pacif­ic Fly­way. There’s inspir­ing pho­tog­ra­phy oppor­tu­ni­ties, a wildlife muse­um, an auto-loop, guid­ed tours, and of course, hik­ing with crisp, fresh air.

What is your favorite sea­son in Biggs/​Gridley? Why?

Sum­mer. With the rice crop plant­ed and being nur­tured by the sun, I have some free-time for a ton of fam­i­ly fun. The water-play­ground at Vier­ra Park is a great place to cool off with kids. The Tues­day Gri­d­ley Farmer’s Mar­ket at Dad­dow Park is per­fect for meet­ing up with friends, lis­ten­ing to live music and enjoy­ing a fresh­ly picked peach or apri­cot. In mid-August the end of sum­mer is cel­e­brat­ed with the Butte Coun­ty Fair, com­plete with giant turkey legs and caramel apples (my wife’s favorite), a destruc­tion der­by and trac­tor pull for the big kids, and carousels and giant slides for the lit­tle kids.

What are your favorite places in Biggs/​Gridley to show out-of-town visitors?

Hon­est­ly, I real­ly enjoy show­ing off our rice fields, trac­tors and equip­ment. It often catch­es peo­ple by sur­prise, hear­ing that we grow rice in Cal­i­for­nia, so it’s always a plea­sure edu­cat­ing curi­ous minds. Aside from the ver­bal edu­ca­tion, there’s the stun­ning visu­als. There’s the yel­low agri­cul­ture bi-planes at the fly­ing ser­vice, the tow­er­ing rice dry­ers and stor­age bins and of course, the sea of rice plants. I sup­pose that’s why I start­ed Rice Farm­ing TV: I want­ed to cou­ple the edu­ca­tion with the visu­als. I may be too busy to show you per­son­al­ly around, but who knows. Reach out! 

If some­one only had one day to spend in Biggs/​Gridley, what would you rec­om­mend they do?

I would have to refer back to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. I may be biased because I’m famil­iar with much of the wildlife found there as they also fre­quent our rice fields. There­fore, I have a sen­ti­men­tal attach­ment. Even if you’re not a bird­er”, it’s a great place to walk, talk and snap some pho­tos. After­wards treat your­self to a banana milk­shake (my mom’s favorite) at the Gri­d­ley Ice Burgie, locat­ed on High­way 99. Tell them I sent you, and you’ll get a free bewil­dered half-smile. Hey, while you’re at it, and before com­mut­ing out of town, you might as well have a burg­er there too. Yum!