Once in a Blue Moon Berries (El Dorado Hills, CA)

When we first moved to the foothills four years ago we saw signs around town for a you-pick organic blueberry farm in El Dorado Hills. We had to visit. We gathered some friends and headed for Once in a Blue Moon Berries. We had two tots under one at the time and two that were just two years old. When we arrived we were immediately transported into a quaint throwback to a different time. A place where neighbors gather to chat and work the land together. The welcoming nature of this farm beckons local residents and visitors alike.

That first year, we pushed Bob joggers up and down the rocky paths in between blueberry bushes and collected as many blueberries as we could. While our two year-olds ate more than their combined weight in blueberries. We hadn’t picked blueberries before so just seeing the plants was a wondrous new experience and we all were enthralled immediately.

One of my favorite aspects of this farm is that the owners, Mike and Janet Suttles, work the you-pick farmstand themselves along with their extended family. The owners are known to follow along with pickers, encouraging them to eat berries and experience different varieties. We learned about the different berries and terroir and how different variables affect berry production and taste. We learned about the growing season and the history of the property and the family who has turned their home into a successful organic farm.

Sand pail buckets provided by the farm cost $20 when full. The farm is on a five acre parcel of land off Green Valley Rd. It is easily found following the signs that direct visitors from main roads. The drive is just down a short dirt road and a quick turn in front of the farm provides dirt lot parking for cars. There are no restroom facilities. There is a shaded area with a table where families can relax and rehydrate after picking.

The blueberry season here is only 3-4 weeks long so now that the berries are ready for picking planning a trip should be a priority. With recent weather changes the season is later than usual and owners don’t know from year to year just how the season is going to go. My oldest tot visited yesterday and got the fattest juiciest berries I have seen so it’s definitely blueberry season in El Dorado Hills.

Once in a Blue Moon Berries is located at 1820 Arroyo Vista Way in El Dorado Hills. The farm is open every other day for now from 9 am to 3 pm and by special appointment. For more information call (916) 600-8962 or visit onceinabluemoonberries.com

The Flower Farm Cafe (Loomis, CA)

A friend drove me by this place a year ago and I really don’t know why it took me so long to come back. It’s the perfect blend of quaint cafe and garden store all blended together in a seamless experience that is both inviting and satisfying. The property includes a cafe, bed and breakfast, wine tasting, event and wedding venue and garden store. We chose to just explore the cafe and some of the property for our first visit.

Driving into the parking lot I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I could see was that this was my sort of experience. The cafe is small and warm and has a simple menu of fresh and local ingredients put together in a homey comfortable way. There is a outside seating area that goes on and on and starts off with a rustic patio and stretches throughout the property. There are kids options that are served with probably the best fruit accompaniments I have encountered anywhere in this area. A display of different fruit all crisp and fresh and choices that kids want to eat. Strawberries, grapes and different kinds of melon.

We chose to sit outside and a friend and I were able to chat. Yes. You hear me right. We had time to chat while my tots were totally entertained by the kids garden tools spread around the ground in the gravel underneath our table. They were so entertained that they forgot to complain about being hungry. Not hungry. Bored. Ready to go. Or any other bevy of usual restaurant complaints. By the time lunch was served we were all hungry and relaxed.

The property has ample space to stroll and look at the gorgeous plants and outside decor. There is a pond to explore. There is a bocce court waiting for action. This is definitely a destination not to be missed and is the perfect starting place for a day of farmstand shopping and exploring.

The Flower Farm Inn is located at 4150 Auburn Folsom Rd., Loomis, CA and the cafe is open from 7:30 am-4:00 pm Wednesday through Monday and can be found online at www.flowerfarminn.com

May Tot Friendly Food Festivals and Events.

School is almost out. It’s May and if you are anything like us you are scrambling trying to find activities for your tots this summer. Here is our recommended list of family friendly food festivals and events to round out this month. Thinking about traveling to a far off event and need tot friendly accomodation suggestions? Just leave a comment! We are all about easy travel with our two active tots and have lots of suggestions.

Sacramento and Surrounding Areas

Farms Friends and Fairytales

May 16
Fairytale Town, Sacramento, CA
Join Fairytale Town for a fun-filled celebration of farm animals and agriculture! At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. watch Fairytale Town’s Babydoll sheep get sheared and the wool spun into yarn using an old fashioned spinning wheel. Plus, participate in agriculture-themed hands-on activities, and visit with local area farms and organizations.

20th Annual Galt Strawberry Festival
May 16-17
Galt, CA
The Festival has become a destination throughout Northern California and the pride of Galt. The event includes food booths, a car show and carnival.

A Day on the Farm
May 17
Soil Born Farm, Rancho Cordova, CA
Purchase fresh from the field, organically grown vegetables & fruit at the event and participate in cooking classes and workshops, farm tours and more.

Bay Area and Beyond

Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras
May 23-24
Morgan Hill, CA
The two-day festival of family fun includes live entertainment on two stages, arts and crafts, gourmet offerings, mushroom education, strolling musicians, street performers, and several city blocks of unique booths. For children, Munchkinland captivates kids with rides, games and continuous entertainment. Mushrooms, the region’s predominant local crop, are the stars of the festival with opportunities for guests to taste fresh, locally grown mushrooms and learn about their important health benefits.

56th Annual Artichoke Food and Wine Festival
May 30-31
Castroville, California
Agro Art Competition, Parade, Live Music, Children’s Activities. Artichokes fried, sautéed, grilled, marinated, pickled, fresh and creamed in soup. Cooking Demos, Wine Tasting, Farmer’s Market, Arts & Crafts, Field Tours to the artichoke patch.

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!

Farmstands and Farms Open This Month. May.

This month farmstands and farms are slowly opening around our area. Here is a list of open farmstands and farms this month in the Sacramento and surrounding areas. We are going to be adding more as they open so keep checking back to see the latest.

  1. This list includes only farmstands that are open to the public and don’t require reservations.  Look for a list of farm visits by appointment in a future post.
  2. These are farmstands and farms that are open for business in May.
  3. We didn’t include produce stores, just traditional stands.
  4. In the next month or two this list is going to get much longer so stick with us.  For now, try to visit a farmstand you haven’t tried yet.
  5. Some local farmstands don’t just feature their own produce, they source selections from around the state and beyond.  If you are trying to just eat organic or just local (or both) make sure to ask questions and choose carefully.  I still like buying my produce from a farmstand instead of a big grocery store, even if it’s not all local.

El Dorado County

Boa Vista Orchards (Farmstand)
Open Daily
2952 Carson Road
Placerville, CA

South Fork Farm (Farmstead)
941 Cold Springs Rd.
Placerville, CA

Placer County

Ikeda’s California Country Market (Produce Stand)
Open Daily
13500 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA

Otow Orchard (Farmstand)
Tue-Thu 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and Fri-Sun 10:00 am to 6:00 pm 6232 Eureka Road
Granite Bay, CA

Sacramento County

Davis Ranch (Farmstand)
Open Daily
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA

Kingbird Farms (Farmstand CSA)
Digital Farmstand, Order Between Monday-Thursday On Website, Pick Up Friday afternoon-Saturday
8869 Orr Road
Galt, CA

Soil Born Farms
Open Saturdays 8:00 am-12:00 pm
3000 Hurley Way
Sacramento, CA

The Farmer’s wife
5701 Winding Way
Carmichael, CA
No Website

Yolo County

Full Belly Farm (Farmstand)
Open Fridays from 2:00 pm-6:00 pm
16090 County Road 43
Guinida, CA

Ikeda’s California Country Market (Produce Stand)
Open Daily
26295 Mace Blvd.
Davis, CA

Loving Nature Farm (Farmstand CSA)
Open Daily
38883 Z Line Road
Clarksburg, CA

Pedrick Produce (Produce Stand)
6850 Sievers Road
Dixon, CA
no website

Yolo Fruit Stand (Produce Stand)
Open Daily
46710 County Road 32B
Davis, CA
no website

All Counties in the Sacramento Surrounding Areas

Strawberry Stands All Counties (Farmstands)

A Google Map was created to find strawberry stands throughout the Sacramento region and surrounding areas. I found the stand in our neighborhood. Can you find yours?

Don’t see your favorite farmstand on our list? It could be closed this time of year or maybe it slipped by us! Leave us a comment if you want to see a farmstand added to our list. We love hearing from you.

South Fork Farm. (Placerville, CA)

Our favorite farm stand just reopened today for the season. Not like we have been stalking their Facebook page for weeks or anything. South Fork Farm is the most amazing organic farm stand off a windy country road in Placerville. If you haven’t been to this farm before. Read on. If you have. You already know.

I found South Fork Farm searching for a local CSA two years ago. Their website was intriguing and we set out for a visit. We were hooked instantly. The farm is about a 20 minute drive from our house in El Dorado Hills and it’s the most gorgeous drive through the country roads of El Dorado County. It’s hidden above the hills that frame the American River and is just outside of Coloma and sits close to the wineries that line this region. From Hwy. 50 in Placerville it’s about a 10-15 drive and completely worth the trip.

The farmstand is open this time of the year on weekends, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Later in the summer they occasionally open on Fridays too. Today the farm had radishes, kale, carrots, beets and chard in bins and salad mix and local goat cheese in the refrigerator. When we arrived today the farm was out of bread. The bread. My Husband and I talk about this bread daily. As often as we can. It’s one of the main reasons going gluten free is out of the question. This bread. Is so addictively perfect you won’t be able to quit thinking about it. Since the farm is only open during spring and summer months we have been deprived of this bread for far too long. We arrived today. Too late. The bread was gone. This bread is crunchy and charred on the bottom because it is wood fired in the outdoor oven just outside the farm stand. We have tried every variety and none can be singled out as our favorite. Because we are addicted to them all. I’m sitting here writing this thinking how I can get out of the house early enough to get our bread tomorrow. Here is what the farm says about their bread operation.

Our breads are handmade using traditional methods to ensure optimal nutrition and taste. We use no commercial yeast, instead our breads are leavened with a natural sourdough starter to allow for a long fermentation, resulting in a more digestible and flavorful loaf. We bake in a wood-fired brick oven that we built ourselves in the Spring of 2013. All of our flours are organic and our breads feature locally grown and seasonal ingredients, most of which come from our farm. We grow heirloom grains and are in the process of setting up our own on-site stone mill.

The farm has a picnic table for gathering together and some room to walk around the gravel driveway and look at the expanse of fields and farming that goes on. There is plenty of parking and is usally quiet with one or two other cars or visitors.

The fruit and vegetables we buy at this farm are unlike anywhere else we have been and my favorite part is the farm is unmanned. It’s run like a traditional farmstand with the honor system. Visitors figure out their shopping total and put their money in a money box. I mean. This is what organic farming should be all about right? Communities sustaining each other. Trusting each other. Living in a way that supports the individuals and the community as a whole? It’s perfection.

If you haven’t been convinced yet I don’t know what else to say. Except that South Fork Farm is worth the trip from anywhere around the Sacramento area. Our tots call this place the farm and they could stay for much longer than we let them. They have inspected every part of this place. Every flower. Every rock that leans into the fence overlooking the fields. Inspected every bit of farmining equiptment visible from the parking lot and every inch of the stand itself.

Now I need to get going so I can plan out our morning so as to ensure our stake on some of that bread. The farm opens at 10:00 am. See you there.

South Fork Farm is located at 941 Cold Springs Rd., Placerville and their website is www.southforkorganic.com