Local Favorite. Andrae’s Bakery (Amador City, CA)

When we first moved to this area we had a child who would only nap in the car. I drove. Around our town. Around and around. I learned the best drives. Drives that were relaxing. Drives that were not relaxing. Drives that took exactly the amount of time he needed to nap. Drives that were to short. Drives that were too long. I drove and drove some more.

During these drives I found some amazingly gorgeous places and some hidden out of the way businesses that I can’t get enough of.

One area that is a nice weekend drive away is Amador City. From our house it’s about a 30 minute drive. Most people know Amador County as our local wine region and big bold zinfandels. A place steeped in Gold Rush history and out of the way antique stores. Amador City is all that and more. It’s a quaint picturesque town that held onto it’s history and has local businesses that make people like us make the trip out to visit.

At the end of the old Gold Rush era main street is a farm house style building. Andrae’s Bakery. We have been visiting this bakery for about four years and it’s one of those favorites that just doesn’t change. It’s perfectly amazing every time we go.

The bakery has a full coffee menu along with pastries, cakes breads and other specialities. There is a deli case full of sandwiches and salads. Shelves of local wines and beer. Jars of delicacies you won’t find anywhere else and a collection of cookbooks that makes me want to install a wall of shelves in my house just so I could collect them all.

There are plentiful tables out front and back and all the way around the side and even on a busy weekend morning you can score a seat. Locals line the front of Andrae’s along with cyclists and tourists. Occasionally a wine taster strolls through. It’s amazing to see the diversity of the patrons at this bakery and listen to conversations and stories pausing to take it all in.

I rarely find a place like this that just makes me slow down. Listen to what is happening around me. A place with a friendly family atmosphere that is genuine and honest. A place where when you arrive you instantly have that vacation vibe that makes you forget about everything that happened before you entered.

Our family favorites are the ham and Swiss croissants. They are made with locally sourced ingredients, German butter and applewood smoked ham. We pair them with the iced mochas that are so thick and syrupy you won’t believe you could drink them all. Our tots can’t get enough of the cookies and we like to demolish their leftovers. There are pre-made sandwiches in the refrigerator case and sandwich and lunch kits can be pre-ordered by calling ahead. Perfect for wine tasting trips.

Andrae’s Bakery can be found at 14141 Old Highway 49, Amador City, CA. There are restrooms on site and parking along the front of the bakery or in a gravel parking area behind the bakery.

Cinco de Mayo Fiestas with Tots (Sacramento, CA and Surrounding Areas)

Farm Fresh to You
May 3, 5:00 pm-10:00 am
Capay, CA
Bring your whole family to the 2nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Enjoy a full evening of tractor-tram farm tours, kids’ arts and crafts, tortilla-making demonstrations, tomato planting, strawberry harvesting, soccer games and dancing to live mariachi music. Tickets prices are $15 per person through Friday, May 3, or $20 per person at the farm on event day. Kids 12 and under get free admission. All event proceeds benefit The Kathleen Barsotti Non-Profit for Sustainable Agriculture.

Cinco de Mayo Festival-Southside Park
May 3, 12:00 pm-6:00 pm
Sacramento, CA
The highly popular event will celebrate the community’s diverse culture through music, dance, classic auto show and traditional foods such as tacos, moles, grilled oysters, pupusas, burritos and yummy snacks such as fresh frutas, corn on the cob and razpados. The festival will be sure to give everyone plenty of food options, and of course what Cinco de Mayo event is complete without its traditional drinks? Margaritas and Mexican Beers will be available for those mature event goers.

Cinco de Mayo Festival-Auburn
May 5A little bit of Mexico comes to Old Town Auburn. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated annually in the United States and Mexico to commemorate the Mexican army beating 6,000 French troops who had invaded the city of Puebla on May 5, 1882. The Folklorico Dancer Troupe from Sacramento, and pony rides by Pony Up in Newcastle, always a favorite with the buckaroos, will be back again this year along with Mobile Rocks climbing wall and piñatas for the children, and a street dance from 8-9pm. Also a Salsa Making contest with local restaurants – tasters determine the winners! Tasting Kits $2.00 each. And, weather permitting… Chano Uribe will bring his “dancing horses” to show off some fancy foot work. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration for families and children and alcohol is not sold or encouraged at this event. Join us for music, food, vendors, piñatas, dancing, and fun for the entire family.

Fair Oaks Fiesta Days
May 2-3
Fair Oaks, CAThe 66th annual event will take place in the Fair Oaks Village. The two day event is packed with tons to do for the family.
Saturday kicks off the weekend with a parade starting at 10:00 am. and the rest of the day is filled with Craft Vendors, Sacto “MoFo” food trucks, Village merchant shopping, Kids play park, Kids play in the amphitheater, raffles, music and so much more! Sunday’s event starts off with a pancake breakfast held in the Fair Oaks Clubhouse. In addition, the Fair Oaks Sun Run and a classic car show (with over 300 cars lining the streets of the village) will be taking place. Raffles, music, kids park, vendors, village shopping and Sacto “MoFo” food trucks continue to be part of the event on Sunday too.

Ernesto’s

May 5, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Sacramento, CA
Come join us for the Best Margaritas, Mexican Authentic recipes, great service, family friendly atmosphere, live mariachi music, food and drink specials all day.

Stockton Cinco de Mayo
May 5
Stockton, CA
Weber Point is the site of this celebration of Mexican-American culture that includes a parade and fiesta celebration.

Tot Friendly Earth Day Celebrations. (Sacramento, CA)

Sacramento Children’s Earth Day Celebration
April 22, 11:00 am-1:00 pm
The Sacramento Children’s Museum, Sacramento
The Sacramento Children’s Museum is partnering with Assemblyman Ken Cooley to host the Children’s Earth Day Celebration. Attendees will enjoy interactive, Earth-friendly activities from event partners.
www.sackids.org

Sacramento Earth Day Celebration

April 22, 9:00 am-2:00 pm
Cesar Chavez Plaza, Sacramento
Celebrate Mother Earth this Wednesday. This great event will be filled with environmental education, live entertainment and a lot of fun.  Last year the annual Earth Day Celebration drew more than 6,000 participants from the Sacramento region including area schools, surrounding business patrons, and other members of the community. Thousands of other citizens were reached through the radio simulcast that occurred on Radio Disney and V101.1FM. Earth Day Celebration 2015 will be another opportunity for you to flex your “GREEN” muscle and make it the best celebration to date.  This community event will feature live entertainment from Bill Devon of Top Class Magic, The Science Wizard, and EarthCapades and interactive workshops on composting, recycling and tai chi. Remember to spare the air and ride RT to the free event.
Event Website

Display: California, Kids Let It Grow Event

April 22, 5:30-7:00 pm
3433 Broadway, Sacramento
Come see what this new Pop-Up retail playground that is exclusively catered to kids and kids at heart is all about! Let your child pot their own seed and learn all about GMO’s.  Then have them explore their inner imagination and shop for fashionable kids clothing, books, toys and other accessories along the way.
www.displaycalifornia.com/kids

West Sacramento Earth Day
April 25, 10:00 am-2:00 pm
West Sacramento City Hall, West Sacramento
The City of West Sacramento will be hosting a free family event that is both informative and fun for its Earth Day celebrations. The festivities take place at City Hall of West Sacramento and will include activities for kids and adults. There will be live music, food, and drinks as well. Important features that will be a part of this Earth Day celebration are the informative workshops showing rain barrels and composting techniques and student projects showcases their vision on the environment and the future.
www.cityofwestsacramento.org

 

Giveaway. DISPLAY: Kids Let it Grow Event and $25 Gift Card (Sacramento, CA)

One of the best parts of getting out in the community and getting more involved in the farm to fork movement in California is meeting amazingly talented people on a regular basis.  Recently I was introduced to a new popup store in Sac by one of it’s co-founders, Roshaun Davis.  This is when I discovered DISPLAY: Kids for myself.


DISPLAY: Kids is the latest popup experience in a 850 sq ft storefront in Oak Park’s Triangle District called DISPLAY: California   Every 1-2 months the location rotates retail experiences.  Focusing on designers and retail opportunities that are unattainable to most of us in Sac.  Until now.


DISPLAY: Kids is like my urban cool kid dreams all wrapped into a bright space with all the trimmings.  The thought put behind everything is apparant and refreshing.  Walking in the store the relaxed and friendly vibe was completely welcoming and instantly addicting.  I brought along a friend and my youngest tot and both were as mesmerized as I was.

The idea of having a retail space with wall to wall merchandise that is curated with such perfection is so amazing I might just move in.  In addition to a cool shopping experience to outfit tots, the space has collected the most gorgeous grouping of jewelry, and gifts that parents might actually forget this is a kids store.


If you do forget about your tots for a second.  Not to worry.  They are probably wrapped up in the adorable art tables with materials I haven’t seen before, stickers, stamps and everything to keep them busy and happy for at least the ten minutes moms need to try on jewelry and shop for themelves.  Or their kids.  I mean that’s what this is all about right?  The kids?  Or is it a genius concept to actually offer kids fashion alongside some options for parents since we do spend most of our time and fashion budget as parents on our children.  Am I right?

Want to see more?  Join DISPLAY: Kids next Wednesday evening as they celebrate Earth Day and the local farm to fork movement with their Let it Grow event.  Let it Grow is open to the public and offers kids the chance to plant seeds in a pot to take home and learn about GMOs while parents have the opportunity to browse and shop.


Farm Tots is giving away free tickets for one family to attend Let it Grow and a $25 gift card to the store.  Enter to win here.  If you don’t win.  You can buy tickets here.




April. Tot Friendly Food and Farming Events.

It’s April.  The weather is changing and family events are filling up our weekends.  Here is a listing of what is coming up this month is Sac and our surrounding areas.  Most of these events are free or low-cost and benefit our community as a whole.

SACRAMENTO AND SURROUNDING AREAS
Festival For Kids
April 11-12
Cal Expo, Sacramento
The Festival for Kids will encompass eight buildings at Cal Expo and will be jam-packed with activities for kids and parents. This event will feature some of America’s favorite cartoon characters. Sponge Bob and Dora the Explorer will be on hand so kids can have a souvenir picture with their favorite character.  There is also going to be a whole building dedicated to our favorite furry friends.
www.festivalforkids.net

Asparagus Festival
April 17-19
San Joaquin Valley Fairgrounds, Stockton
Entertainment, arts, crafts, cooking demonstrations, and children’s’ play area all celebrating asparagus. The festival includes performances and a carnival. The food favorite is deep-fried asparagus.
http://sanjoaquinasparagusfestival.net/index.html

Picnic Day at UC Davis
April 18
UC Davis Campus, Davis
This family friendly event is free for all to come and experience the richness of diversity and achievement at UC Davis and the surrounding community in the areas of research, teaching, service and campus life. More than 200 events will take place throughout campus and will include exhibits, shows, competitions, demonstrations, entertainment, animal and athletic events, Student Organization Fair, Multicultural Children’s Fair, Parade and much more.  The event has many ag related booths and activities.
www.picnicday.ucdavis.edu

Sacramento Earth Day Celebration
April 19
Southside Park, Sacramento
The Sacramento celebration of the 46th annual Earth Day will be filled with diverse business, non-profit, cultural, and government vendors with practical information, goods and services for saving money, living healthier, and protecting the environment. There will also be great entertainment, activities, and cuisine.
www.ecosacramento.net

Sacramento Children’s Earth Day Celebration
April 22, 11:00 am-1:00 pm
The Sacramento Children’s Museum, Sacramento
The Sacramento Children’s Museum is partnering with Assemblyman Ken Cooley to host the Children’s Earth Day Celebration. Attendees will enjoy interactive, Earth-friendly activities from event partners.
www.sackids.org

Display: California, Kids Let It Grow Event
April 22, 5:30-7:00 pm
3433 Broadway, Sacramento
Come see what this new Pop-Up retail playground that is exclusively catered to kids and kids at heart is all about! Let your child pot their own seed and learn all about GMO’s.  Then have them explore their inner imagination and shop for fashionable kids clothing, books, toys and other accessories along the way.
www.displaycalifornia.com/kids

BAY AREA AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival

April 11-12, 10 am – 5 pm
Westshore Rd., Bodega Bay
Weekend is packed with music, food, and entertainment with the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet as a highlight. Food booths have something for every pallet from lamb to oyster barbeque. A favorite attraction is the wine tasting booth featuring more than 25 Sonoma County wines. Live music and entertainers perform on the band stage both Saturday and Sunday. Great venue for kids, with a play area with face painting, games, spin paintings, free kite lessons, pony rides, and, llamas on parade. 80 artisan and vendor booths offer wide selection of arts and crafts.
www.bbfishfest.org

California Nut Festival

April 18
The vibrant and entertaining one-day festival pays tribute to Chico’s rich agricultural heritage with a bounty of farm-fresh food sampling, cooking demonstrations, live music on two stages, an art show and, of course, lots of sampling of wonderful delights, wine and beer!  Proceeds benefit the Historic Patrick Ranch Museum, a restored mansion and working farm managed by the Far West Heritage Association.
www.californianutfestival.com

Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival
April 18-19
Ives Park (on Jewell Ave. and Willow St.) and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts at the Veterans Memorial Building, 282 High St., Sebastopol
The apple is the star of the show and is featured in a parade, arts, crafts, and food. You will also find children’s’ activities, historical and horticultural displays, beer and wine sampling.  There are children’s activities celebrating the farm and a free animal area including geese, ducks and chicks.  There are other activities ranging from mechanical bull rides to zip lines, tea cup rides, water race games, a train station, Jr. Jurassic Adventure and more!
www.appleblossomfest.com

Butter and Egg Days
April 25
Petaluma, CA
The town celebrates their agricultural ties with the dairy and poultry in this annual event in Petaluma. The affair includes a parade, cheese tasting, kids’ in chicken costumes, and the Cutest Chick in Town contest.
www.petalumadowntown.com

Are we missing something?  If you know of family farming or food events that we haven’t listed let us know!  We love hearing from you!

 

 

 

Eat Local. April.

It’s spring!  We have had a warm winter and early spring so some farms are experiencing earlier harvests.  Here is our guide to shopping locally this month.

Market availability varies by region.  This is a general guide for Northern California based on Bay Area and Sacramento growers.

 

 

Fall and Winter Favorites
These selections are entering the last phase of their season so grab them while you can or wait until next year.

Apples
Pears
Potatoes
Citrus

Spring Favorites
These selections are right at the peak or middle of their season so find them and try out some new recipes while availability is widespread.

Artichokes
Asparagus
Avocados
Broccoli
Carrots
English peas
Fava beans
Radishes
Sorrel
Spinach
Spring onions
Strawberries

New Additions
These selections are making their debut now so find them and explore some choices we haven’t seen since last spring.

Parsley
Shallots
Spring Onions

 

 

 

 

Farm Visit. Soil Born Farms (Rancho Cordova, CA)

I have wanted to visit Soil Born Farms for years.  I first heard of the farm when I moved to Sac only I didn’t realized how open the farm is for visitors or just how much they do for our community.  Until now.  Soil Born Farms is pretty much a must see for anyone interested in agriculture in our area.  It provides a realistic and approachable location where parents can teach their children and themselves more about the process of growing food and raising animals.


We came to the farm today as part of a Fun on the Farm Day produced by the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op and Soil Born Farms.  The event was professionally run and organized by a group of amazing staff and volunteers.  The children were led through stations around the farm where they learned about how farms work, aspects of plant growing and all about the animals around the farm.  Children got to pick carrots right out of the garden, then make a wrap that included colorful beet hummus and other examples of how to make lunches innovative and fun.  Kids got to make seed bombs filled with flower seeds to throw wherever they like and learn about the growing cycle by making beaded bracelets they could keep.  It was a day filled with new experiences and both my older tot and I learned so much our drive home was filled with lively conversation and snacking.  The event is repeated in summer and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to experience this place.


Soil Born Farms has events throughout the year, has a farm stand open to the public and is available for self-guided tours six days a week-Monday through Saturday.  Visitors have a large parking lot and signage throughout the farm to direct them around the property.  There is so much to discover at the farm that a self-guided trip through all the property has to offer could take a whole afternoon if you wanted it to.  There are lunch tables at the entry area under large shade trees so children can have a snack before heading out.  There are restroom facilities on property.


Soil Born Farms started out fifteen years ago as a for profit farm and has evolved into the nationally recognized center for the promotion of urban agriculture, sustainable food systems and healthy food education that it is today.  It is now a recognized non-profit and operates two urban farms with 55 acres of farmland.


From Soil Born Farms-

Our programs focus on promoting health and providing experiential learning opportunities for youth and adults, producing healthy food, improving access to healthy food for all and modeling land and environmental stewardship. Beyond producing healthy, certified organic produce for our 80 CSA members and local stores, restaurants, and farm stands, Soil Born Farms has also developed several innovative education and food access programs in partnership with area schools and agencies.


The American River Ranch, a 55-acre historic ranch located within the American River Parkway, is now the permanent home of Soil Born Farms.  It provides a wonderfully diverse landscape to engage both youth and adults in hands-on activities that educate and connect them with the natural world, healthy food, healthy eating, job and life skills, hard work, and service opportunities.  The American River Ranch also provides the opportunity to expand the production of vegetables and fruit to meet the needs of more Sacramento residents, particularly those in underserved neighborhoods with little or no access to fresh, nutritious food.

Soil Born Farms is about so much: growing food, mentoring youth and future farmers, teaching people how to cook and garden, creating urban farms and preserving wild spaces, developing partnerships and improving access to fresh produce throughout our community, and at the core, it is about making a difference. It means transforming a shared vision of healthy food for all into a local reality.








Soil Born Farms is located by appointment at 3000 Hurley Way, Sacramento, CA and can be reached by phone at 916-363-9685 or online at www.soilborn.org

Tours can be set up by appointment for school or community groups and organizations.

The community farm stand is open from mid-May through November, Saturdays from 8:00 am-1:00 pm and farm fruits and vegetables also available at the Midtown Farmer’s Market.

Project. Bird Seed Cookies.

It’s spring!  We can be outside more and it is perfect weather for outside projects.  You know what the best part of outside projects is?  No clean up!  My favorite projects are ones that my tots can be involved in completely and this one fits that requirement.

My family loves to stand by the windows in our family room looking outside and trying to figure out what birds are visiting us that day.  Now that it’s nice outside we are getting lots more bird friends coming to see us.  I figured.  Why not offer them a snack?

One of the best part of having Farm Tots is that they start to appreciate the plants and animals close to home more and more.

This project is courtesy of one of the awesome bloggers I read, The Hungry Homemaker.

All you need to do this project is-

  • 4 cups bird seed
  • 3/4 Cup all purpose flour, we used whole wheat
  • 3 Tbs corn syrup
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • Twine
  • Straws
  • Cookie cutters
  • Wax paper

In a large bowl add ingredients, mix well until blended.  Let tots mix with their hands.  Should make bath time more interesting.


Line your work surface with wax paper and weigh down the corners.


Press seed mixture into a cookie cutter, press firmly so mixture is tight packed and insert a piece of your straw into the shape to make a hole in your “cookie”. Be sure not to make your hole too close to the top, or the yarn will break right through when it’s hung.  Cookies are easily broken.  Take it from us.


Let sit for one minute, then slowly slide your cookie out of your cookie cutter. Repeat until all your mixture has been used up.  Let the cookies dry over night and don’t move them!  Even if they seem dry.  They aren’t.  We know.  From experience.


String your twine through the hole and tie them.  Hang from a visible tree.  Watch your new friends arrive!