Summer Foodie Stay-cations!

With the soaring prices of gas, inflation and the housing crunch, many vacationers are holding back their grand vacation plans for the time being. Many would-be holiday makers are simply choosing a “stay-cation” instead. What’s a “stay-cation” you ask? Simply put, a “stay-cation” is a vacation that is close to home. Many people are choosing locations that are with an hour or so from their homes, it’s close enough to save on gas and just far enough to feel like a getaway. A stay-cation allows a family to save money while spending more quality time together and helping a local economy.

Everyone loves to eat on vacations so why not focus your family stay-cation around food? Here are 10 tips and ideas to get your stay-cation planner filled up and your bellies full!

First off: In order to enjoy your stay-cation we recommend you:
1. Put the World On Hold – Take time out—literally. Eliminating reminders of time helps wipe away the stress of the daily grind. Gather up all the clocks in your house and stash them in a dresser drawer. Throw your watch in next to them. Leave them there for the whole day (or two, or five).

2. Turn off the ringers on your phones and mute the answering machine. Check messages only when you want to, keeping in mind that “not at all” is always an option.
Do an “out of the office” message for your e-mail (even if your office is a corner of the playroom). Say you won’t be checking your e-mail till you’re back from vacation. Then power down the computer and throw a towel over it.

3. Skip the news—and maybe even stop the mail—for a week. When you banish the source of stress, the stress itself may follow. The earth will continue to turn even if you’re not reading all about it every morning at 7:30 sharp, and sadly, the bills will still be there when your vacation is over.

So now let’s get to the food portion of your stay-cation, shall we?   Here’s our top 7 ideas on how to create a foodie stay-cation.

1. Book a week long series of cooking classes in your local area. Sacramento offers several options for classes and cooking camps this summer. Check out these companies and see what might peak your palate: Lulu’s Kitchen in Sacramento has a variety of day and evening cooking classes. The Learning Exchange in Sacramento offers food & wine classes. Whole Foods Market and Sacramento Co-op are both offering fun summer cooking demos and classes you surely can fit into your stay-cation. They even have summer kids cooking camps…..just in case you have more space to fill in your calendar.

2. The California State Fair – take a few days with your entire family and do the State Fair Fried Food Challenge – you haven’t vacationed until you’ve experienced the deep fried mac -n -cheese on a stick, deep fried cheese curds and deep fried twinkies at the fair. State Fair Summer 2013 dates: July 12th-28th. Many local businesses offer discount fair tickets – check out Big O Tires – buy one get one free ticket offer before they run out!

3. Grab your bags and baskets and plan a Farmer’s Market Week with your family. Lucky for you there is a market within a 20 mile radius of Sacramento each day of the week. Have fun and meet your local farmers and artisans…..there might even be some education involved!  Searching for markets in the vicinity? Google: California Grown, Placer Grown, Davis Farmers Market, Ferry Building Market, Oxbow Market in Napa. Go to the market w/ a shopping list for the ingredients you will be needing for your brand new farm to fork recipes. We recommend coming on an empty stomach for the fun food truck vendors and samples you will run into. Try a different ethnic type of food at each market each day…making it an epicurean adventure.

4. Strap on your tennis shoes and sun had and participate in a culinary walking adventure in and around Sacramento. Eat your way thru your own city or explore the town next to you by going on a food or farm tour. These food tours are a half day event and give participants the opportunity to get up close and personal with local chefs, artisans, farmers and passionate mom and pop eatery owners. Kids will think you are the coolest parents when they have the chance for a local chef to sign their dirty napkin….Souvenir award for sure!  5 to 6 food stops along with history, culture and architecture just right out your back door. Check out Local Roots Food & Farm Tours for their different tour menu options and make it a foodie stay-cation must.

5. Go directly to the source at local farm summer open houses throughout their harvesting season. Whether it be getting down and dirty picky your own tomatoes and basil or climbing an orchard ladder to pick your own fresh ripe peaches for a stay-cation pie….this is one experience the entire family will remember for years to come. Check out Twin Peaks Orchard in Newcastle, CA this July for their annual orchard open house. Lots of fun activities and u pick experience on a 101 year old stone fruit farm. Their peaches are some of the best in the local area. We recommend you also check out Soil Born Farms, Feeding Crane Farms and to get out and about why not head on over to Farm Fresh To You in Capay Valley for a day?

6. Pick out 2 or 3 fun summer food festivals.  We recommend mapping out a few in opposite directions. Pack up your water bottles, sunscreen, camera and enthusiasm for food and go! Foodie Festival Stay-cations are some of the funnest ways for everyone in the family to find something they will love to eat and fill their bellies. Here’s some recommendations on a few of our favorite local festivals to go explore: Marysville Peach Festival – July 19th-20th, Courtland Pear Festival – July 28th, Gilroy Garlic Festival – July 26th-28th, Woodland Tomato Festival – August 11th, Way Out West BBQ Championships, Stockton – August 18th, Sacramento Banana Festival – Aug 18th-19th.

7. Stay really local and go on Sacramento’s urban wine tasting trail. Plan ahead and map out a 3 to 4 hour walking adventure finding the ever-growing urban wine tasting rooms in downtown Sacramento. Obviously this is not child friendly but parent approved for sure! Some brand new wine and port tasting venues have just opened up recently in Sacramento. Check out: Ficklin & Wilcox on 20th street (unique port tasting experience), Downtown & Vine Wine Tasting Bar on K Street, The Rind (Wine and Cheese Bar) on L Street. Along with these 3 add in 58 Degrees & Holding Wine Bar and Revolution Wine Bar. Many of these venues offer tapas and small plate food options. Make it a great afternoon exploring your palate and hitting notes you never thought you could on your foodie stay-cation.

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