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Posts Tagged ‘Local Farms’

PostHeaderIcon A Day of Soil, Farmers & Food! Farm to Fork Experience in the Foothills

Sierra Foothills Farm and Wine Tour Experience by Bethany Woy

Yes, we know that California is known for amazing fresh fruits and vegetables. We are known to produce some of the best wine grapes in the world. We are blessed with rolling hills of orchards, farms and vineyards. On a beautiful Saturday this May, a few food lovers decided they would venture out of Midtown Sacramento and join Local Roots Food Tours on the exploration of the nearby Sierra Foothills. A bartender, secretary, regional manager and executive chef joined the Local Roots staff and spent an afternoon discovering the wonders of nature right outside our back door. Here’s what they found.

“ We met up in Newcastle at a quaint little country store that you would see out of an old time movie. All fresh produce and local items were sold there. No big box stores. Just products from local dairies, farms, orchards and vineyards. Right away I knew this would be right up my alley. Living in Sacramento, it’s great to be able to shop at the Co-op or Farmer’s Markets, but seeing a little store with so many wonderful local products was refreshing.

We loaded up into the comfortable bus and headed out to Colwell Thundering Herd Farms where we met Rich and Nancy Colwell that own a mandarin farm. This couple have lived in Penryn since 1984, but the family farm dates back to 1959. The Colwells continue to live in an old ranch home owned by the Butler family dating back to the late 1800’s. (the land has supported peach, pears and plum orchards at that time!) Meeting Rich and Nancy was amazing and they were the nicest people ever. You could definitely see the passion they have for farming. I had no idea there were so many varietals of mandarin oranges but Rich gave us a full mandarin grove tour where we got to actually touch the trees and learn about pruning, harvesting and processing this amazing fruit. It was so wonderful to have them open up their property to us visitors.  The Colwells produce mandarin and lemon olive oil as well as balsamic vinegar and mandarin chocolate sauce. After touring the farm and getting up close and personal with the fruit we were asked to sit in a wonderful shady area of the property and asked to sample the Colwells products. We got to sample the olive oils, chocolate sauces, vinegars and even the fresh fruit itself.
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PostHeaderIcon Farm and Wine Bus Tour Big Savings Day!

Exploring Northern California’s hills and valleys by bus is only the beginning. We take participants right to the source of our local food chain: the farms and vineyards.  Our bus goes behind the gates and beyond the tractors to meet local farmers & vintners. Learn where their farm story began, how they see our local agriculture growing, and their role as a provider to our local communities and restaurants. We literally go from the farm to fork in our bus adventure.

Take advantage of our special farm and wine bus tour day this upcoming May 19th with discount savings on tour tickets.  For this date only, we are offering a special ticket price of $54 per adult ticket – a $15 savings per ticket!  Use promo code: FRESH to receive discount:  http://www.zerve.com/LocalRoots/Sierra

Our Sierra Foothill Farm & Wine Tour focuses on the Placer County area on the Sunday, May 19th bus tour route. We showcase Placer Grown farms and vineyards along a beautiful planned tour route.

Though subject to change, you can expect:

  • Transportation from a central meeting location in our 14 passenger executive bus
  • A 4 hour bus tour with 5 to 6 different stops
  • A trained local guide ready to showcase farms, orchards, & vineyards
  • An opportunity to shop at each stop
  • A catered, 4 course gourmet lunch
  • Local Roots Food Tours reusable shopping bag

Typical stops will be to a indoor farmers market/bakery, a local olive oil mandarin farm, 1 or 2 fresh berry patches/farms, 1 organic produce farm, 1 flower farm and 1 local vineyard with wine tastings. Shopping will be allowed on all stops and is highly encouraged!  Our bus tour is fully guided by our locally trained hosts who will delight you with stories and fun facts about the region. Each participant will be treated to a gourmet lunch, along with complimentary beverages.

Come along and enjoy the beauty of the rolling Sierra’s along with bountiful farms, spring flowers and delicious bites of our local bounty.  It will be a day you will always remember and the opportunity to connect to our local farmers and vintners.  Don’t forget to bring your cameras -  there will be some wonderful photo ops!   For further questions about our farm & wine tours please give us a call:  1-800-407-8918  or contact us via our email:  info@localrootsfoodtours.com

 

PostHeaderIcon Chef Symposiums and Restaurant Gardens Top 10 Trends

We tour all around different cities looking for what might be a winner and hot topic to talk about with our food tour participants.  Trying to stay ahead of the kitchen mallet as to what is trending compared to what is here to stay in the culinary arena has its perks and challenges.  Local Roots Food Tours has compiled their top finds on what you might experience in 2013 while on your “foodie adventures.”

Top 10 Culinary Trends For 2013:
1.  Chef’s behind closed curtains is a thing of the past.  2013 will continue to bring celebrity (as well as local chefs) front and center hosting special themed culinary events, symposiums and contribute to hands-on cooking classes.  No more hiding behind the frying pan – their talents and passion will continue to be exposed with many culinary events.  We are looking forward to seeing more of our local executive chefs come out and support Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Capital of America efforts by offering some pretty awesome cooking events in and out of their kitchens in 2013.

2.  Restaurant gardens – Whether it be in back alley gutters or a transformed back lot, gardens are popping up all over the nation.  Chefs cite many logical reasons why restaurant gardens are a good idea: cost, convenience, control, sustainability. The concept of in-house farming is hardly new and the trend has hit far and wide—there are countless restaurants tilling their own soil and planting the seeds for vegetables that will eventually appear on a customer’s plate.  A small farm adjacent to an eating establishment keeps that path from farm to table about as short as it can get.  One example we love is share is Mineral Restaurant in Murphys, CA.  Executive Chef Steve Rinauro and partner/co-owner Maya Rinauro have been busy planting, weeding, watering and harvesting their restaurant garden in 2012.  Their farm to table philosophy is lived vivaciously every day in their vegetarian menu.  For those restaurants who don’t have the option of a garden out their back door, buying plots of land in local farms creates a great option.  One local farm in Sacramento, Feeding Crane Farms offers such plots to local Sacramento chefs…..the next best thing to offer local farm ingredients.

3. Nordic food is out – Peruvian and Korean food is in for 2013.
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PostHeaderIcon California Agritourism Offers Great Farm Tours!

Many might wonder what actually defines; “Agritourism” Is it a trend or just a catch phrase that is becoming more and more prevalent in agricultural communities? Agritourism is widespread in America. Agritourists can choose from a wide range of activities that include picking fruits and vegetables, riding horses, tasting honey, learning about wine and cheesemaking, or shopping in farm gift shops and farm stands for local and regional produce or hand-crafted gifts. People have become more interested in how their food is produced. They want to meet farmers and processors and talk with them about what goes into food production. For many people who visit farms, especially children, the visit marks the first time they see the source of their food, be it a dairy cow, an ear of corn growing in a field, or an apple they can pick right off a tree.

Northern California is growing their Agritourism and several tour companies offer great options in the form of tours and events in which participants are taken directly to the farms, the cheesemakers, the winemakers and bakers. So many options to choose from……are you ready to go?

1. Local Roots Farm & Wine Tours in Sacramento Valley
http://www.localrootsfoodtours.com 1-800-407-8918
Sierra Foothills Farm & Wine Bus Tours take participants on a 4 hour bus journey through the beautiful hills and valleys of Placer County visiting local olive groves, mandarin orchards, organic farms, beautiful vineyards and an indoor produce market and bakery. The opportunity to meet passionate farmers and vintners on each tour stop. Tours include a gourmet lunch which includes farm to fork ingredients from placer county farms and wine tasting at local vineyard. Tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays year round. Custom group tours for private parties are offered 7 days a week.

2. Ag Venture Tours in Salinas Valley
http://www.agventuretours.com 831-761-8463
Van tours planned around the Monterey Bay Region stopping at several chosen organic farms in the prosperous Salinas Valley. Different tour options. Advanced ticketing required.

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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

 

 

PostHeaderIcon Market-to-Plate Executive Chefs Tour Launches in Sacramento!

Come join Local Roots Food Tours as we get up close and personal with local farmers, vintners, and executive chefs in our new Market-To-Plate Executive Chef’s Tour! This tour takes you through a popular downtown Sacramento farmer’s market, Cesar Plaza Farmer’s Market or East End Capitol Park Farmer’s Market and then into a four course, four star dining experience prepared by two local executive chefs!

This tour is a culinary and educational adventure. Participants are guided through an open-air market, where you can chat with the farmers and producers as the aroma of herbs and flowers waft around you. You’ll learn about what’s in season and how to choose and prepare foods from their seasonal harvest. We will meet local olive oil producers, lavender and flower producers, meat producers, and other artisans – in short, people who love to work with and talk about food! A shopping experience like no other!

Our tour continues with a 3 course exclusive lunch prepared by Executive Chef Michel at Morgan’s Restaurant (a four star, hidden gem restaurant serving farm-to-table ingredients). Lunch will be prepared using fresh local seasonal ingredients. Chef Michel will educate participants on how to use the produce they purchased at the morning market and share his culinary wisdom and passion for fresh, local ingredients. Definitely an up close dining experience! Lunch will be paired with a selected local wine.
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PostHeaderIcon 5 Great Sacramento Region Farm Stays!

Looking for a unique experience by getting up close and personal with a local family ran farm or ranch?  Here’s a brilliant travel idea:  Farm Stays!  Rather than making a large footprint while traveling and seeing the sights… maybe consider staying at a working farm: eat fresh food, pick your own vegetables and maybe even eggs! You may do as much or as little as you want. Many farm stays provide bed and breakfast type lodging. (get to know Farmer John and ask how his crops are harvested or why his wife cans peaches the way she does!)
Farm stays are becoming increasingly popular because farmers’ desire more diverse and dependable income streams AND consumers want to reconnect with rural heritage and their food supply. Where is our food coming from?

What methods are taken to insure freshness and quality at farms? Go check out a farm stay! It’s a perfect getaway for a few days and couldn’t be more educational and comfortable! Many of the farm stays have all the amenities that a hotel has (maybe minus the spa and valet parking!) But it’s a win-win situation.
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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 Planting it Forward in Sacramento

Urban farms are feeding the world – one inner city at a time.

Imagine Sacramento offering a “People’s Garden” which would provide fresh organic produce for the area’s homeless and needy. The garden would also serve the people of Sacramento as an outdoor classroom and a community hub for all ages.   What if Sacramento offered a garden project where their locally grown food is sold to restaurants, at Farmers Markets and community organizations with similar aims of improving neighborhood food security. Individuals who would be hired to work the large garden program would see the farm as a place for self-growth and healthy community development, while beautifying their neighborhood.

One company is offering a huge opportunity for cities like Sacramento to partake in such an idea.  Nature’s Path Organic believes that urban farming is a model of sustainability that can help make fresh, organic food available to everyone.

“Our goal is to plant it forward”, notes Arran Stephens, founder and CEO of Nature’s Path. “By providing access to healthy, organic food and the education needed to grow it, we hope to encourage and cultivate socially responsible community leaders who will bring people together to feed those in need.”

In 2011 Nature’s Path is putting their money where their hearts are by offering GARDENS for GOOD program, providing $65,000 in funding to support 3 urban farm projects.    Have a project in mind?

Here is how you can get involved:

1.  Nominate:  visit www.facebook.com/NaturesPath and “Like” Gardens for Good to enter an urban farming project into this year’s grant contest.

2.  Participate:  View applications and vote for the project that you believe is making the greatest impact on their community.

3.  Activate:  Spread the word and activate your community to support urban farming in your neighborhood.  Help their mission go viral!

Sacramento – are you ready to make a difference and start planting your “People’s Garden”?  Plant it Forward!!

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What Folks are Saying!

This Food/Cultural Tour of Sacramento is amazing! Bethany, our guide, was very informative, attentive, and positive. This is the second time I have taken the tour (the first time was led by Lisa, who was equally wonderful!) and I am so impressed with the restaurants/local food scene of Sac. I do find the website a bit confusing and over-stimulating, but that is my only complaint. I encourage all of you to experience this walking/eating tour of Sac. I am excited that a second tour has been added to this company's menu.
Beverly, Davis, CA

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