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Posts Tagged ‘Follow the chef tour’

PostHeaderIcon 10 Reasons to Eat Locally Grown and Stay Healthy

Follow the chef farmers market toursFarmers Markets are popping all over the country this time of year.  Keeping it local and exploring your palate each and every week has its perks.  Here are 10 reasons why its a positive experience by shopping at your local farmer’s markets:

1.  You can Taste The Difference!   Most of the produce has been picked within 24 hours (supermarkets could be as long as a couple of months!).  It comes to your table ripe, fresh and full of flavor.  The produce is at its “prime”!

2.  You are giving back to your local community.  “Keeping it local” is a common trend in urban and rural areas today.  In areas with strong local markets, the family farm has been given new life.

3.  Discover New Flavors!  Ever wonder what the long white root vegetable is and what it is used for?  Flabbergasted by how many varieties of pears you can find at the market?  Shopping at local markets helps you think outside of the supermarket bins and explore your palate with so many varieties of flavors.  Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties of particular produce; offering heirloom varietals and the good old fashion beef steak tomatoes!

4.  Helps to Boost Local Economy!  A US study showed that almost twice the contribution of a dollar stayed in the local economy when spent at a local food business compared to a supermarket.

5.  Save the World!  A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a diet based on food shipped across the country!  With gas prices on the rise, who wants to pay for transportation fees to a supermarket bringing in un-ripened fruit and vegetables when one could drive down the road and buy from Farmer Brown?

6.  Meet Your Neighbors and Farmers!  Local eating is social.  Studies show that people shopping at farmer’s markets have 12 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket.  Sometimes shopping at your local farmers markets turns into a half day affair with all the friends and locals you run into.  Bring your chairs and make a day of good old fashion community fun!

7.  Be Healthy!  Eating fresh local ingredients with no processing, no additives, no pesticides…..the only end result is healthy eating!  Cooking from scratch makes you feel better; you are eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and fewer of the bad products that have turned our country into an obese problem.  Once you go fresh and local, you won’t want to go back!

8.  Get in Touch with the Seasons!  Many farming communities are lucky enough to have year round supply of fresh, local ingredients at their markets.  When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season.  You’ll remember the cherries are the taste of summer.  Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and sweet potato bisque just make sense.

9.  Create Memories!  Bringing back those fresh local ingredients each week, breaking out the cookbook and exploring your passion while creating some excellent dishes is all about eating locally grown.  Making jam, eating fresh local food and pairing it with a local wine with family and friends makes memories of a lifetime!

10.  Explore your local community!  Get out and about and visit local farmers markets.  Become a tourist in your own back yard!  One way of exploring markets is by participating in a organized tour.  Follow a chef thru a market and learn about unique vegetables and fruits you normally wouldn’t even think of buying.  Visit your local event calendar and find a farmers market tour and join in on the fun and education.  You will be surprised how much little you knew about your local farmers and artisans until you get one on one time with them on a tour!

Keep Your Family Safe -  Food Safety at Farmers Markets:

Farmers’ markets are the prime destination for fresh and local food, but they’re not immune to germs and bacteria. Farmers work hard to comply with state and federal food safety standards but patrons also have to keep their eyes peeled (and their produce washed). Use our tips to help avoid food safety pitfalls.

Produce
Whether it’s organically grown or not, produce needs to washed well. It’s a good thing that farmers’ market produce isn’t waxed like much of what you’ll find in the grocery store, but these local goodies are often covered with dirt. Rinse delicate items like berries, herbs and lettuces well just before use; rinsing them before storing them can cause them to get moldy or mushy. Sturdy produce like carrots, apples and potatoes can handle a good scrub. Thick-skinned foods like melons should be washed before you slice into them.

Some vendors turn their produce into drinks like apple cider. Look for pasteurized beverages, especially if you’re pregnant, elderly or serving them to young children.

Eggs and Dairy Products
Eggs and dairy (yogurt, cheese and milk) at the grocery store is almost always pasteurized, this isn’t always the case at the farmers’ market. Read labels carefully and if in doubt, ASK! Raw milk products and unpasteurized eggs are appealing to some folks but also carry a higher risk of food-borne illness from salmonella and listeria. Also, be sure that all dairy products are stored at the proper temperature – in refrigeration or on ice, especially on hot days.

Meats & Seafood
Fresh and frozen meats, meat products (such as bacon and sausage) and even seafood are popular farmers’ market finds. Use a specially designated shopping bag to avoid cross contamination and bring along an ice pack to keep everything cold on the ride home.

Free Samples
It’s become very popular for venders to give away tastes of their goods, especially prepared foods and specialty items. Baked goods, pesto and tomato sauce, jams and jellies, cheese, granola, yogurt, pickles, hummus, soups and grain salads are just a few of things you might come across. Bring along your own napkins (vendors never seem to have enough). Make sure perishable foods are kept on ice and have proper serving utensils before you sample them. Most importantly, beware of double dippers!

PostHeaderIcon Local Farmers Markets Prepping for Spring/Summer Sales

It’s that time of the year again….local farmers and artisan specialty vendors getting ramped up for the launch of their produce and goods at local farmers markets.  Lucky enough, many farmers markets are year round in California.  What lies ahead are some amazing spring vegetables, fruits, artisan meats and cheeses.  The highlight of shopping the market experience is what you get to take home with you and create fresh ingredient dishes.  Trying to find a market in your local community being offered once a week is the key to always having the freshness for your kitchen.  We are lucky enough in Sacramento County where there is a certified farmer’s market almost every day of the week!

          SUNDAY MARKETS

Sacramento Central
If you can manage to wake up early on a Sunday morning, make your way to the Sacramento Central farmers market where you’ll find many Asian produce. Shoppers will find great prices at this Midtown market, which is among the larger markets in the area.Guide Tip: Get here early. Since this is a popular market, on a few of my visits, some vendors ran out of food.

  • Location: 8th and W streets, underneath Highway 80
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to noon, open all year

          TUESDAY MARKETS

Roosevelt Park
Roosevelt Park is among two farmer’s markets along P Street. Along the perimeter of the park, shoppers can buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, herbs, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.

  • Location: 9th and P streets
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

Fremont Park
Just down the street from Roosevelt Park is Fremont Park. Vendors are spread along the perimeter of the park.Guide Tip: Finding a parking space can be a challenge at both of these parks. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a metered spot. Remember to keep track of the time to avoid getting a ticket.

  • Location: 16th and P streets
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

          WEDNESDAY MARKETS

Casear Chavez
Caesar Chavez Memorial Plaza is abuzz with shoppers from area office buildings at this downtown market.

  • Location: 10th and J streets, in front of City Hall
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

THURSDAY MARKETS

Capitol Mall Market

  • 6th Street and Capitol Mall
  • Hours:  10am – 1:30pm, from May through September

Downtown Plaza Market

  • 4th and K Streets
  • Hours: 10am – 2:00pm, from May through September

East End State Capitol Park

  • 15th and L Streets, (Between L & N Streets)
  • Hours: 10am – 1:30pm, from May – September

 SATURDAY MARKETS

Oak Park Farmers’ Market

  • McClatchy Park, 35th Street and Fifth Ave
  • Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Sunrise Station Market

  • Folsom and Sunrise Blvds, Rancho Cordova – Light Rail Station
  • Hours:  8:00am – 12:00pm, Open Year Round

Experiencing a Farmer’s Market through a chef’s eyes is an incredible experience.  Being introduced to local farmers and artisans.  Tasting, touching, smelling….it all is about growing your knowledge on how to pick out seasonal produce, how to use that produce in your home and receive some creative ideas on using the benefits of the produce to your advantage.  Sound too good to be true?   A new tour is being launched in downtown Sacramento by Local Roots Food Tours;  Market to Plate Executive Lunch Tour.  Beginning May 2nd and offered every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the spring/summer growing season, participants have the opportunity to be treated to a VIP Farmers Market Tour followed by a 4 course lunch with a wine pairing.  2 popular executive chefs will be taking fresh local ingredients from the morning’s local market and creating a wonderful lunch for all participants.  Get up close and personal with these two chefs.  Learn tricks and trades on how to pick out the best produce and fruits at this year’s farmers markets and receive recipe ideas to use in your own kitchen.  For more information on how to be a part of this unique and inspiring walking food tour please contact Local Roots Food Tours:  1-800-407-8918 or visit their foodie friendly website at:  http://www.localrootsfoodtours.com

 

 

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What Folks are Saying!

Some great friends who recently moved here invited us out for a day of fun! Bethany our tour extraordinaire was beyond words!! Let\'s just say that our 6 of 8 in the group can be ( hopefully delightful) a hand full! Bethany was most informative and fun! While we had eaten at several of the restaraunts we visited, we knew little of the background or history. It was great to hear the passion from each of the Chefs about the food we have so many times enjoyed but obviously knew little of how it was created! This was also an enlightening experience as to where we live. Little did we know about our own surroundings that we took for granted! Big THANKS to Bethany for a wonderful day of food, information, fun, food, a good walk, food, and for opening our eyes to the greatness and sustainability around us, did I say food?!! We will continue to support the local eateries and giggle about the memories of the day! Thank you!! We will see you again soon!!
J-R S, Sacto

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