Sacramento Valley Farms
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. Continue Reading More!
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. Click to continue!
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
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
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. Click to continue!
The weather outside might look frightful, but the opportunity to explore is more than delightful with events being offered all around our communities.
December is filled with many chances to go out and explore our hills, valleys and peaks. Northern California is blessed with farms, vineyards, and the chance to shop locally. Get out your calendars and plan for a few weekend road trips this December....it's time to get up and get active!
5 Ways to Explore your Own Backyard:
1. Twin Peaks Orchards Fruit Tasting Open House - Placer County http://www.twinpeaksent.com/events.htm
Sunday, December 2nd - 11am - 3pm Free admission. Fruit tastings, u-pick mandarins & persimmons, brick-oven pizza, shopping, farmers market, hay rides, and so much more! Fun for the entire family!
2. Holidays in the Hills Toy Drive - Placer County Wine Trail http://www.placerwine.com/events.htm
December 8th & 9th: 11am - 5pm; 17 Participating Wineries - Free Tastings with Unwrapped Toy Donation. Live music, food, Christmas shopping, carolers, chocolate tastings, vineyard tours.....lots of fun in beautiful settings.
Download - Holidays in the Hills Wine Trail Map
Download - Holidays in the Hills Activities List Click to continue!
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. Click to learn more!
Ready to explore hidden gem restaurants and eateries in one of California’s oldest and most preserved Gold Rush mining towns, Nevada City? Nevada City is famed for its church steeples that rise above the Sierra foothills and its gorgeous fall foliage. Join our fun and trained tour guide as we wander through former gold assay offices, saloons, and foundries to find restaurants, wineries, and stores that maintain the look and character of the days when eager miners crowded the town, ready to find their fortune.
Come hungry! This tour is ‘lode-ed’ with delicious foods from the best cuisine Nevada City has to offer. Savor the tastes from 8 restaurants/eateries are on this food adventure! We’ll try award-winning wines and dish after dish of foods made from fresh, local produce. Hear about how Chinese immigrants played a major role in the development of northern California’s agricultural dominance, and how without a few determined people, we might be speaking Russian today. Click for more details
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