One of my favorite easy dinners this time of year is Strawberry Spinach Salad. It’s the perfect recipe to try with tots even after a long day of school when no one is up for much cooking. Like me. With minimal prep work it’s a fun group activity that gets dinner made and occupies younger sous chefs for a while.
The main rule of this salad is there are no rules. Add what you like and leave out what you don’t. To change it up we like to add grilled chicken breast, homemade croutons and onion slices.
Strawberry and Spinach Salad
Easy dinner for tots to prepare with parents. Use local in season spinach and strawberries for the sweetest salad imaginable.
We usually drive long distances to find in-season local fruit and vegetables that we can pick ourselves. This time of year, we don’t have to go far to get our fix. We live in the foothills outside of Sacramento, CA and we have some aweome local you-pick farms less than five miles from our house.
Strawberry season usually starts sometime in late March or early April and continues through November depending on the weather that year. We watch our local you-pick organic strawberry farm closely and since we drive by almost every day this is easy to do. El Dorado Hills Natural Farms is located just off Hwy 50 in El Dorado Hills off the Bass Lake Rd. exit. For anyone traveling to South Lake Tahoe this farm is a really easy stop off since the farm is actually visible from the highway.
El Dorado Hills Natural Farms is the only chicken, fruit and vegetable farm on the western slope of El Dorado County and they offer seasonal berries and some other selections along with farm eggs. The farm was a large dairy farm in the early-to-mid 1900’s and now has returned to its agricultural beginnings. The local farmer owners follow all-natural pest and weed control methods to provide pesticide-free products.
Strawberry picking is open weekends in the early season and opens more days as the season goes on. The El Dorado Hills Natural Farms Facebook page is the best resource to see when the farm is open and what’s available. The farm hosts community events complete with music and food throughout the year along with their public picking hours. There is also a farmstand during peak season for those customers that don’t want to pick.
Since El Dorado Hills is rattlesnake territory we make sure to wear our thickest rainboots or outdoor boots and keep a vigilant watch on our tots while they are picking. Some picnic tables are available for snacking or a quick lunch. Parking is in a dirt lot right in front of the farm entrance. The farm is cash only so hit the ATM before you go.
El Dorado Hills Natural Farms is located at 1941 Old Bass Lake Rd., El Dorado Hills, CA and hours vary by season.
Last weekend I spent the whole weekend doing a photography project for the El Dorado Winery Association and got to drive around the backroads of El Dorado County capturing the fun surrounding this yearly event. There are over 50 wineries in the El Dorado AVA with over 2,000 acres of vines planted. The El Dorado AVA was established in 1983 Established in 1983 and includes those portions of El Dorado County located between 1,200 and 3,500 feet in elevation and bounded on the north by the Middle Fork of the American River, and on the south by the South Fork of the Cosumnes River. El Dorado is a sub-appellation of the 2,600,000-acre Sierra Foothills AVA — one of the largest appellations in California — which includes portions of the counties of Yuba, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolomne and Mariposa. Getting to represent this wine region that is located so close to our home was such a fun adventure!
El Dorado wine country isn’t easy to find unless you know where you are going and that’s part of what keeps this region quieter than other wine growing areas of California. Wineries are mostly family-owned and have a warm welcoming approach to selling wine directly to the consumer instead of through the sales pipelines of larger wine operations. Expect small crowds and sometimes to be the only visitors are more hidden wineries in the area.
The wines here have intense flavors and deep colors due to the mountain vineyards on steep hillsides with warm summer days and cool night air. It’s an environment that gives wines luscious fruit, an alluring balance, gentle tannins, and body and depth that is different than wines from other regions. My favorite wines from El Dorado Wineries are the full-bodied Chardonnays and deep intense reds like Cabernet and Zinfandel.
One of the characteristics that we like about El Dorado wineries is that there are many wineries thet are child-friendly and encourage picnicking, hiking and spending time with the entire family. Since we live so close to the wineries they make a fun weekend destination that we don’t have to leave the kids behind to experience. Visitor guides are available on the El Dorado Winery Association website along with a list of the wineries in the El Dorado AVA.
This winter we had so much fun during our Instagram Takeover of the El Dorado Winery Association and you might have seen some of our photography featured on their social media sites. So this weekend we are headed back up to El Dorado Wine Country for Passport Weekend.
El Dorado Passport 2016 is more than just wine-tasting. In the 25th year, it has become widely known as a weekend dedicated to exploration, hands-on education, and celebrating one of the most beautiful areas in the Northern-California region.
It’s your passport to a weekend full of adventure. It’s your ticket to freely roam through the Sierra Foothills. It’s a time dedicated to engaging with all things local: landmarks, attractions, hot spots, amazing food, and most of all, locally-produced wine from award winning wineries.
Purchase your tickets, pick a starting winery, and off you go on a self-guided adventure through El Dorado Wine Country.
Tickets are available online until tonight. Tickets can also be purchased during the weekend at Skinner and Madrona Vineyards.
The wineries are open 11:00 am-5:00 pm this weekend, April 16-17 see you there!
Are you going to El Dorado Wine Country this weekend? Tell us your itinerary we would love to hear more!
Want to see more of our last trip to El Dorado Wine Country? See our recap post of our adventures from our winter weekend away.
It’s been hot here in California this week and it got so nice yesterday we all took a quick icy dip in our pool for the first swimming day of the season. It didn’t last long, and now there are more storms headed our way. We are going to try to get out in between rain downpours this weekend to pick strawberries! Two of our favorite local organic strawberry farms opened this week and we have been waiting to get some of the juicy local berries for ourselves! I’m so ready to make strawberry jam and syrup. Two of my favorites! We got our outside furniture all set up last weekend so I even got to have breakfast out by the pool this morning. Pictured here. At least I got out while I could! Here is what we are obsessed with this weekend. What are you up to?
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
Asparagus Festival April 15-17
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 16
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.
Sacramento Earth Day Celebration
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
BAY AREA AND SURROUNDING AREAS
Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival
April 9-10, 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
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
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
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!
Last week was one of those weeks that finishes before it begins. With Spring Break and the holiday weekend we are all ready for a nap! This weekend I want to get ready for pool season and get myself amped up for spring. We are going to finish putting our patio furniture outside and buy some pieces we need to complete our set. We need to stock up for the week at the farmer’s market and do some meal prep for the week to keep us on track. What are you doing this weekend? Here is what we are obsessed with today