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Posts Tagged ‘Growing Trends’

PostHeaderIcon Culinary Gift Giving 2012 Foodie Trends

Do you know anyone on your gift list who loves to eat?  Ever consider giving a gift that touches one’s “foodie soul” and fills them up literally?  Walking Food Tours are in great demand throughout the nation and trendy for 2012 and certainly will be a popular activity for 2013!  Who doesn’t like to eat?  Right!?  Go ahead, and make their day!  Treat your family, friend, coworker and your Secret Santa recipient to a culinary adventure – let them decide where, how and when.  Our sales team at Local Roots Food Tours will be happy to assist you in your gift order this season;  we can mail out gift certificates directly to you or to your recipient with a holiday message personalized by you or we can email your booklet to you for distribution on Christmas morning.  Just let us know and we will accommodate your needs.  Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for you and be ready for the recipients to redeem their gifts for the tour they select.  Sound good?  Here’s our Deals:

Local Roots Food Tours is offering STOCKING STUFFER SPECIALS this holiday season:

 

The Feast of Five (But Really 6!):   Buy our holiday gift certificate booklet for $300 and receive 6 Walking Food Tour Tickets redeemable for ANY of our Culinary Walking Food Tours in Sacramento and Murphy’s.  These gift certificates can be used individually and redeemed for any tour date. There is no expiration date.  Retail Value: $400.00 -  A $100.00 SAVINGS!

The Aggie Adventure:  Buy our holiday farm tour package for $275 and receive 4 Sierra Foothills Farm & Wine Bus Tour Tickets AND a Featured Holiday Foodie Gift Box
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PostHeaderIcon Old Black Magic Does a Number on Garlic!

Black garlic is a type of fermented garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind. Black Garlic is prized as a food rich in antioxidants and added to energy drinks, and in Thailand is claimed to increase the consumer’s longevity. One interesting use is in the making of black garlic chocolate. In the United States black garlic entered the mainstream in 2008 and has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. Black garlic is great for your health—it’s loaded with nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic.
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PostHeaderIcon Spice Zee, Cherums and Plerries…Hybrid Fruit in California

You ask, what’s a plerrie anyway?  Or you could ask; “What do you get when you cross a plum with a cherry? A hybrid fruit of course!

Hybrid fruit is a potentially lucrative, and delicious, market. Fruit growers are motivated by the lure of inventing a product that commands premium prices, from 50 cents to $1 or more per pound than conventional fruit. The breeders are also aiming for fruit that will have a longer harvest period to be available to shoppers longer. And with the rise in cooking styles that celebrate the ingredients, American consumers are demonstrating a willingness to spend more on food and a desire to hear the stories behind their produce.
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PostHeaderIcon Scamorza Cheese Growing Culinary Trend w/ Chefs

Now that’s Scamorza!

Scamorza is a cow’s milk spun cheese, belonging to the same family as mozzarella and provolone. It is similar to provolone in its pear-shaped, although it does come in smaller forms. This unique shape is achieved by tying the forms together to hang during the ripening process. In fact, the name of this cheese has somewhat morbid overtones: “scamozza” is an expression in southern Italy which means “beheaded”, it is meant here to describe the cheese’s appearance (tied in a rope bag).   Scamorza is from the Campania region around Naples. It is also produced in Abruzzo and Molise. In Puglia, scamorza is made from sheep-milk.  Scamorza is similar to mozzarella, but scamorza cheese is a bit firmer and it has more flavor so it is getting a lot of attention worldwide.

Scamorza is made by stretching and molding curd that has been ripened for about 24 hours. The future cheese is then cooled in cold water and put in a brine bath for a period that varies according to the weight of the individual cheese.  The end result is drier than Mozzarella, but is equally as smooth and shiny in texture.

Scamorza is generally eaten fresh or smoked, with the latter (Scamorzi Affumicate), having a lovely gold outer layer which makes an excellent table cheese that is also great when used in cooking. All forms are best eaten no more than 3 days after production.

Scamorze allo spiedo is a very old dish in which small scamorza cheeses are threaded on spits which revolve over a wood fire. During the cooking process, the cheese takes on an amber color and the interior becomes creamy and buttery.

Grilled Scamorza cheese with crunchy prosciutto

This is a wonderful starter. It is incredibly easy to prepare and the WOW-factor is guaranteed!

There’s plain and smoked scamorza cheese and both have a nice texture that only gets better when melted. If you’re planning to grill your cheese using a real grill you can use plain scamorza. If you’re using an electric grill or a pan, go for the smoked one.

Ingredients
2 pieces of smoked scamorza cheese (8 oz each)
About 4 or 6 slices of prosciutto crudo
Olive oil

Cut the cheese in half, lengthwise. If you’re using your panini grill to make this dish, you can spray the grill with a little oil and then turn the grill on. When the grill is ready, set the cheese halves cut-side up. Put some prosciutto on top of each half. Grill for about 1 or 2 minutes, then open the panini grill and continue grilling until a nice crust forms on the bottom side (about 5 minutes). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and toasted ciabatta bread.

PostHeaderIcon National Heirloom Exposition is Coming!

Mark your calendars and get ready to go have fun and learn at the upcoming National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, CA

September 13, 14 and 15th @ the Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Come witness farmers, gardners, chefs and food organizations as they gather together in what will likely be the largest event for heritage agriculture ever held.  Learn from America’s top growers and food celebrities!  Dozens of seed companies and organizations will be present.  Workshops, demonstrations and great music!

See over 4,000 varities of heirloom produce on display showing the diversity of heirlooms.  You will be able to browse through over 200 exhibitors and purchase organic, natural and original food products, art and garden related items from many unique vendors.

You have the opportunity to learn from nationally renowned speakers, writers and farmers!  Guest speakers will be sharing their wealth of information and experience throughout the entire exposition.  Priceless knowledge and expertise with Dr. Vandana Shiva.

All profits from the National Heirloom Exposition will be donated to school garden projects and other food and garden-related charities.

For more information and further details visit:  www.theheirloomexpo.com

PostHeaderIcon Promoting Food Literacy in Public Schools

Chef Zakary Pelaccio is thinking outside of the box and offering his skills and vision to make a change in elementary students lives.  NYC Public School system is embracing his boldness and direction in creating a great window of opportunity.

The Cooking Room – the first of its kind: an in-school, hands-on, dedicated cooking classroom where children learn about food and create delicious dishes based on tenets of good nutrition… while having fun.

Food knowledge, culinary skills, taste-coaching: The Cooking Room will help kids to make smart food choices.  The program’s goal is to promote food literacy to kindergarten through 5th grade students.  The Cooking Room operates through dedicated kitchen classrooms where teachers, professional chefs, and chef-instructors educate kids in grade-appropriate food-related lessons that incorporate science, math, reading, and nutrition.

Through classes in The Cooking Room, children is will learn about food, cooking and taste, while bolstering academic core-standards through the practical application of those skills in a fun, stand-alone kitchen classroom.
The Cooking Room curriculum will focus in on each grade level’s teaching, whether it’s reading comprehension, scientific observation or fractions.  Kids are learning in their regular classrooms while also introducing a whole new world of flavors and techniques.  The goal: teach kids how to work with real, healthy, raw ingredients to prepare tasty food and learn that there are palatable alternatives to processed junk food. 2011-2012 promises to be even a greater leap forward!

PostHeaderIcon CoffeeCSA Connects Coffee Lovers Straight to the Farm

Farm Direct is a growing trend in our global economy.  Going directly to the farmers,  cutting out the middlemen who seem to find any way to hike prices higher than need be.  Many agricultural communities are already offering CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture).   CSA’s thrive in areas where consumers who are so passionate about direct farmer relationships that they become stakeholders in a farm’s harvest. These food lovers go beyond the farmers’ market to buy weekly, monthly or annual shares in local, seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers, meat, dairy and even seafood.  Coffee beans are not locally harvested so how does one support global coffee farmers?

The good news is that today CoffeeCSA.org launched the world’s first coffee CSA, connecting America’s coffee lovers with coffee farmers around the globe via the web.

CoffeeCSA.org is a community supported agriculture model that allows consumers to subscribe to regular deliveries of fresh-roasted coffee from small-scale farmers. CoffeeCSA is a project of Pachamama Coffee, the first global cooperative of coffee farmers, consisting of more than 140,000 small-scale farmer-owners in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Ethiopia. Founded in 2001, Pachamama is the largest farmer-owned co-op based in the US. This authentic connection with consumers is unprecedented in the coffee industry, empowering farmers to differentiate outside of the commodity crop model and deal directly with consumers. All coffees are shade-grown and Fair Trade Certified, hand-roasted in small batches and available on the CoffeeCSA website; http://www.coffeecsa.org.

By offering CSA subscriptions to independent, family-owned coffee farms, CoffeeCSA gives coffee lovers the opportunity to invest in and enjoy the harvest of small-scale coffee farmers, helping them earn more money and preserve family farms for future generations. 140,000 farmer-owners grow coffee for CoffeeCSA on small farms whose size ranges from from one to 10 acres.  “For people who treasure their coffee experience, CoffeeCSA is a powerful way to make a direct connection to the farmer,” said Thaleon Tremain, CEO, CoffeeCSA.org. “Subscribers secure their own personal share of a specific coffee harvest and support an individual farmer who works hard to grow the finest single-origin coffee available today. This is a real relationship, and a commitment which goes far beyond a label on a bag.”

Small-scale coffee farming is financially risky. Direct relationships with American coffee lovers can ensure stability for growers who struggle to cultivate a sensitive agricultural crop in a volatile global market.  “I am proud of the coffee I grow, and I am proud that I make my own independent decisions as a coffee farmer.” said Catarina Yac, coffee farm owner from Santa Clara Laguna, Guatemala. “But I also like to learn from other people. I look forward to connecting with Americans who buy my coffee!”

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PostHeaderIcon Jicama’s Unique Flavors Perk up Recipes!

If you usually hustle past the jicama in your market’s produce section, it’s time to learn how to make the most of this mysterious-looking root. Jicama, a brown-skinned, turnip-shaped tuber native to Mexico and South America, has white flesh that’s crisp, juicy, very mild, and almost sweet. A member of the bean family, the plant’s only edible part is its root, as the leaves and seeds contain a mild toxin. The root, however, is a fiber-rich find that’s also full of potassium and vitamin C.

When you find it in your farmer’s markets look for firm, dry, slightly shiny jicama roots without bruises or shriveled skin. Store whole jicama roots in a dark, cool place, like a cupboard; they’ll last a bit longer there than in the refrigerator. Unpeeled jicama will stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To prep jicama, first remove all of the skin with a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, then slice the flesh as desired. Bonus: Jicama doesn’t turn brown or become soggy after cutting like avocados or eggplants.

Crisp jicama makes a refreshing addition to crudité trays and salads, and can sub for cucumber in sushi rolls. Like water chestnuts, jicama will stay crisp in quick-cooked dishes like stir-fries or sautés.

Jicama is underused in cooking — a real shame, since it’s such a wonderful root vegetable with a crunch, crispy texture. This salad (which is more akin to a “slaw”) highlights the best of the jicama’s characteristics and makes a nice side for any fajita or grilled meat.

JICAMA SALAD RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 large jicama (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and coarsely shredded
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely shredded
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, julienned
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground pure ancho chile
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the jicama, carrots, onion, and pepper. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lime zest, juice, oil, honey, and chile. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8

Note: If you want to go with a more fun and varied texture, add a chopped avocado, cut slices of an orange, or even a couple of chopped tomatoes just before tossing.

PostHeaderIcon Alfresco Dinners in Fields a Roving Culinary Adventure!

Every summer, Outstanding in the Field hit the road to bring farm to table cooking back to the source.  Their mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.  Owner Denevan and his crew of cooks, servers and coordinators travel all across America and beyond.  They host alfresco dinners at long tables in the middle of farm lands; whether it be a cornfield, pasture or vineyard, they set up a creative long table, chairs and all place settings.  Uniqueness at its finest!  Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls.

Chefs from nearby restaurants in the area they are offering the dinners create dishes from local ingredients.  Just picked berries, organic greens, free-range meats and local wines just to get you started.  Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.  It takes a lot of ingredients to make a farm dinner. Some of the more important ingredients are people.  Farmers work hard throughout the growing season, reap the harvest and take it to market for all of us to enjoy. Food artisans and chefs transform the harvest with creativity, respect for ingredients, attention to craft and a desire to give nourishment.  These are the people that make it all possible. These are the wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to work that benefits us all.  They grow, nurture, create, ferment, chop, boil, bake and plant their way into our lives.

The purpose of Outstanding in the Field events is to recognize these contributions to the table.  As the sun sets, guests grab plates, sit down and meet their table-mates.  While consuming their five-course meal with a local wine pairing the guests will be educated on where the food comes from and a chance to chat with new friends until the rooster crows!  This year Outstanding in the Field is putting on dinners in 30 states plus Canada and Europe.  For tickets, visit http://www.outstandinginthefield.com

PostHeaderIcon Spotting Modern Victory Gardens on Downtown Sacramento Food Tours!

There are so many advantages to taking walks in a city’s urban neighborhoods.  Seeing the changes in landscaping; the beauty of the summer plants and flowers, bird baths filled with fresh water for the singing birds and most of all new sprouts in GARDENS.  Front lawn gardens!  As a tour guide walking through the tree lined streets in Sacramento four times a week, I have been noticing GARDENS popping up in homeowners front landscapes of their homes.  Tomato and pepper plants, Swiss chard, beans….you name it,  I am seeing it transpire into a beautiful modern victory garden and it sings to my heart!  Communities are rallying together to overcome the higher food prices creeping up in the stores as well as the higher gas prices to travel to get the fresh produce.  Yes, we have wonderful farmer’s markets surrounding Sacramento’s beauty but there is nothing like growing your own.   It is such a sense of accomplishment for oneself to know they are taking a very old concept dating back into the WWI and WWII era with Victory Gardens and putting a modern spin on it.

A Grassroots Food Revolution – The Modern Victory Garden

Harkening to the self-sufficiency of previous generations who planted victory gardens in their front and back yards as a means to support their nation’s war efforts – today many are undertaking the challenge of declaring independence from corporate food systems, reducing reliance on fossil fuels to bring food to the table, and cultivating a more healthy and fulfilling life.  This grass roots revolution is occurring in today’s modern version of the victory garden.   The “war” is a revolution – and the battleground is right here on the home front.   It is all about taking back responsibility and control of our own food supply.   Whether it is a modest container of tomatoes on a patio deck or a full fledged self-sufficient garden – each effort represents one step towards freeing ourselves from the forces that would keep us dependent on a system of petroleum fueled and factory farmed food.   Growing more of our own food heightens the taste and nutrition of  meals, and along the way we experience the empowerment and fulfillment that comes from learning the basic skills of providing for our families and ourselves

Grow What You Eat – Eat What You Grow!

I think we are already moving toward that place. Urbanites are  showing us that fruit and vegetable gardens can be beautiful while making a statement. The lawn as landscape icon was a declaration that you didn’t have to farm anymore. Perhaps we can replace it with a front-yard veggie garden that declares the age of the lawn over. What a proclamation that would be for thrift, self-sufficiency, horticultural skill, concern for the environment and the world we pass on.

Prince Charles said the other day that “we have to put nature back at the heart of the equation.” I think we should put every gardener at the center of it, too.

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I had a fantastic time on the Local Roots Tour, and I already recommended it to my other local-foodie friends. The personal touch really set this experience apart. The tour guide Bethany was knowledgeable and personable, and the chefs at each of the stops were enthusiastic about how they procured and created their food. I highly recommend this to anyone!
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