Davis Ranch Strawberry Picking (Sloughouse, CA)

Just a short drive from Sacramento or Folsom, Davis Ranch is a local farmstand that has year-round farm activities for visitors young and old. Davis Ranch is a working farm and produce stand located in Sloughhouse CA. Known for it’s famous Sloughhouse Sweet Corn, we first heard about the farm when a coworker of my Husband brought us a bag of the sweetest corn we had ever tried almost ten years ago. If you haven’t had our famous corn, ask someone who has and they will tell you what you are missing. Davis Ranch hosts events throughout the year along with you-pick vegetables and strawberries. They also offer choose and cut Christmas Trees available starting the day after Thanksgiving and going until the week of Christmas.

During the spring the farm offers visitors farm-grown asparagus and it’s worth the drive! It’s so sweet and fresh that now we only buy asparagus from Davis Ranch. Around the same time, usually April or May strawberries start ripening in the you-pick area. Unlike other strawberry farms this one has raised pots of stawberries that are easy to pick without bending down.

The strawberry patch is located behind the farmstand next to the parking area. If there is no attendant at the strawberry picking area, guests are asked to come to the farmstand where they can pick up baskets and scissors along with instructions for picking.

Expect to spend about 20-30 minutes picking for each basket. It gets hot in this part of California especially during late spring and summer so take breaks at the shaded picnic tables next to the you-pick area and bring lots of water! After berries are picked and baskets are full payment is made back at the farmstead registers. The farmstand takes all forms of payment. Don’t forget to pick up seasonal farmstand favorites like oranges, cucumbers, squash, cherries, melons and more!

We like to pack a picnic and cool off in the shade after we make our purchases. Since school groups can sometimes be visiting the farm too, a picnic blanket is recommended if the tables are full. There is no running water at the farm so plan accordingly. Restrooms are outhouse style.

For more tips read about our visit last year to Davis Ranch.

Davis Ranch is waiting for you to explore at 3501 Jackson Rd, Sloughhouse, CA 95683 or reach them by phone at 916.682.2658 or online at davisranchproduce.com

Helwig Winery (Plymouth, CA)

Helwig Winery

On our recent trip with visiting family to Amador’s Wine Country we discovered another winery that is the perfect escape from the city. Helwig Winery is located right in Plymouth, CA and about a 30-45 drive from Sacramento. Our favorite time of year to visit this region is during spring when it isn’t too hot and views of rolling hillsides and flowers are everywhere.

Helwig Winery is a new, state-of-the-art winery located in the heart of picturesque Shenandoah Valley. The tasting room and other winery buildings offer unique modern architecture and a relaxed country vibe that instantly transports you to somewhere other than wherever you came from that day. Outside patios with incredible spanning vista views are available for picnicing and taking a bottle of wine to savor.

Helwig Winery

Almost every other tasting group at Helwig the day we went included babies and young children. It was nice to see families taking in wine country in a tot-friendly environment.  The winery offers multiple tasting experiences including cave tours and concerts are hosted at the winery pavillion throughout the summer months. The winery asks that tots under the age of 14 not join their parents in the tasting room or on cave tours.  Since the winery does host events and weddings, calling ahead to make sure the picnic area is available is advised.

Viognier, Zinfandel and Syrah are some of the most widely acclaimed wines from Helwig and we took home a bottle of library Syrah to have with grilled hamburgers and spinach strawberry salad that evening.

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Helwig Winery is located at 11555 Shenandoah Rd., Plymouth , CA and is open seven days a week from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. Advance reservations are required for Cave Tours and Tasting groups of 6 or more. Parking is a large paved lot and restrooms are available along with covered picnic areas.

Andis Winery (Plymouth, CA)

Andis Winery Logo

The year we moved to El Dorado Hills we started taking weekend drives out to Amador Wine Country to get away and slow down.   That same year we watched a modern new winery taking shape on a hillside along Shenandoah Rd. in Plymouth right in the middle of the Amador County winemaking region. We promised ourselves we would visit as soon as they opened the winery for visitors. That was five years ago. It might have taken us longer than we wanted it to only we did make it for a visit last weekend.

Our parents came to visit from Sun Valley, Idaho so we decided since they were escaping from the snow and winter days we needed to take them to Andis Winery to get a dose of springtime. The winery is easy to get to and when we arrived we were the only visitors there so the expansive parking lot was easy to maneauver and we found our way to the tasting room right away. The architecture of the building is modern and lends itself to the indoor outdoor lifestyle we sometimes take for granted here in California. The tasting room is so airy and open that expansive views of the vineyards surround you on all sides.

Since we brought our two tots we didn’t do focused wine tasting for long. We tasted the top white and red and then took some glasses out on the bocce court for a game and some old-fashioned wine country entertainment. There are covered chairs outside the tasting room and the bocce court is open for anyone to use during winery hours. There is also picnic tables, large grassy areas to run and other games to try.

Andis Winery Wine on Tap

The focus of the winery is to seek out the best vineyards in the Sierra Foothills to craft wines with balance, character, complexity and varietal correctness. The winemakers at Andis use both traditional and innovative winemaking approaches to produce wines that display the characterisitics of the region while maintaining a uniqueness that is all their own. Our favorite part of the tasting experience was the wine available on tap. Visitors can purchase a refillable bottle that can be filled on each visit from the wine on tap that day. Wine rotates throughout the year and prices vary.

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Andis Winery is located at 11000 Shenandoah Rd in Plymouth and the tasting room is open 7 days a week from 11:00am – 4:30pm. Wine tasting costs $5/person and is refundable with each bottle purchase.
Groups of 10 or more people: $10/person, non-refundable.  Club Andis members: free wine tasting for up to 4 adults. More information at (209) 245-6177

May in California. Tot Friendly Food Festivals and Events.

Sacramento Area

Galt Strawberry Festival

May 21-22
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.
www.galtchamber.com

A Day on the Farm

May 15
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.
www.soilborn.org

Sacramento County Fair

May 26-30
Sacramento, CA
The Sacramento County Fair is a family-friendly event with all the amenities of a traditional communal expo along with modern day entertainment. A livestock barn with auctions, freestyle motocross demo, carnival rides, demolition derby, buzzworthy local bands and bull riding events take place over the course of five days.
http://www.sacfair.com/

Bay Area and Beyond

Oakdale Chocolate Festival

May 21-22, 2016
Oakdale, California
IChocolate samples and items for purchase on Chocolate Avenue. 200+ Quality and variety vendors in Arts & Crafts, Chocolate Avenue a variety of food and Specialty Merchandise & Services. Amusement Park, Classic Car Show, and Western Show. Entertainment on: Chocolate Challenge Stage, Cowboy Cook’n Stage, and Main Stage.
https://www.oakdalechamber.com/