Farms

24Carrot Farm. (Apple Hill, CA)

24Carrot Farm Apple Hill

Since my Husband is overly obsessed with fall mornings spent in Apple Hill (Camino, CA) I decided to indulge him on his apple buying mission if he took a side adventure to see if we could find 24Carrot Farm on the way home.

I found this farm during a recent afternoon wasted on Facebook when I somehow came to their page. I couldn’t believe a new organic farm was open in our area and I hadn’t been there yet! I had to visit to see what this place was all about. (more…)

Best of Apple Hill 2015. Apples for Lunchboxes and Canning. Larsen Apple Barn (Camino, CA)

Apple Hill located in El Dorado County, just outside Sacramento, is our fall obsession. To be honest, we live so close, about 20 minutes away, we visit year-round only during fall we are even more frequent in our trips up Highway 50. Apple Hill is everything fall should be. Apple picking, hot apple cider, farm animals, pony rides, craft booths for early holiday shopping and people watching. You can find me throwing on a cozy plaid shirt and Uggs and heading up the mountain even during the hotest days of September. Why? Because it’s fall! Let’s get on with it already!

We head up almost weekly to do our fruit and vegetable shopping, so we decided to share our favorite farms with you. Follow along this series of posts, starting today, featuring our “Best Of Apple Hill” suggestions for this Apple Hill season.

A friend shared her family secret for finding the best apples for canning about five years ago and we have been going back year after year ever since. Larsen Apple Barn is the longest running family-owned farm in Apple Hill and has been running since 1860. It’s apple farm store is a picturesque corrogated metal barn filled with one of the widest arrays of apple varieties complete with apple tasting table.

For purposes of our “Best Of” review I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Larsen Apple Barn has the cheapest and best apples for canning that we have found. We not only use these apples for applesauce we buy our weekly lunchbox apples here because we can score a 40 lb box for only $16. These boxes are called their “seconds” and that just means they are smaller or have minor defects that make them less desirable than the full price apples sold here. We think they are perfect because they are the best size for our tots and we don’t waste any apples with half-eaten rejects and we don’t mind the defects at all.

Today the seconds boxes included Braeburn, Gala, Golden Delicious, Mutsu and Red Delicious as available varieties. As the season goes on sometimes these seconds boxes won’t be out in the sales area so be sure to ask a sales rep to grab you one from the back.

A tasting table is staffed by employees so visitors can try any of the varieties they are interested in purchasing. Also available for tasting are pears, grapes and peaches as available throughout the season.

Have we convinced you yet? If you are going to visit make sure you come Sunday-Friday, the farm is closed every Saturday and open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with a musuem and bake shop also available to visitors. If you pack a lunch Larsen owns the park right across the street that has picnic tables and shady areas for kids to run around.

Larsen Apple Barn is open from now through the Sunday after Thanksgiving, closed Saturdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 2461 Larsen Dr, Camino, CA 95709 and restrooms and parking are available.

September Tot Friendly Food Festivals and Events

Sacramento Area

The Fair Oaks Chicken Festival
September 19
Fair Oaks, CA
The Fair Oaks Chicken Festival is a celebration of rural history and present village atmosphere. The Village of Fair Oaks, colonized around 1895, was home to orange and citrus groves as well as olive orchards and assorted farm animals and, without a doubt, chickens were among them. Today the Fair Oaks chickens enjoy the freedom and hospitality of the village they call home.
www.fairoakspark.org

The Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair
September 24-27
Grass Valley, CA
Join the beautiful Draft Horses at the 2015 Draft Horse Classic. Majestic Draft Horse performances, breath-taking competitions, and seeing a Draft Horse “up-close” – it’s all part of the Annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. The Classic has grown to become the premier Draft Horse show in the western United States, and features six majestic performances, along with non-stop entertainment in between classes.
www.nevadacountyfair.com

The Farm to Fork Festival
September 26
Sacramento, CA
Designed to showcase and celebrate where our food and drinks come from, the Farm-to-Fork Festival brings us face-to-face with the people who are feeding our region and the world. The free festival hosted on the city’s iconic Capitol Mall boasts a delicious selection of Farm-to-Fork offerings that are produced and available in the Sacramento region. Attendees will find food, wine and beer from regional eateries and purveyors, as well as live music, five live cooking demonstration stages, a kids’ zone, interactive booths from local grocers, farms and ranches and more!
www.farmtofork.com

Bay Area and Beyond

The Walnut Festival
September 24-27
Walnut Creek, CA
An energetic and exciting celebration of arts, crafts, community, music, and food. The four-day Walnut Festival event offers family-friendly entertainment, two stages of live music, a large carnival with more than 30 rides a showcase of amazing local and regional talent, including Artists, Craftsmen, Designers, Jewelers, Builders, food specialties, a Beer Garden and more.
www.thewalnutfestival.org

August Tot Friendly Food Festivals

There are so many events going on this month we had to find our favorites to share with you. Our guide to August Tot Friendly Food Festivals only includes events that include activities for kids and have a child friendly environment. Get out and learn more about the foods that come from our area.

 

Sacramento and Surrounding Areas

Woodland Tomato Festival
Woodland, CA
August 8
8:00 am-2:00 pm
The event takes place on Main Street in Downtown Historic Woodland , this festival is known for its unique programming not found anywhere else. From Face Painting, to Heirloom Tomato Tasting and from tomato Salsa Competition with free samples open to the public, to the beloved Tommy Tomato mascot- this is the premiere Tomato Festival of Yolo County. Explore tomato country in Yolo County.
www.woodlandtomatofestival.com

Sacramento Banana Festival
Sacramento, CA
August 8 and 9
The Sacramento Banana Festival is an exciting two-day festival that kicks off with a 5k run/walk on Saturday. Enjoy your day filled with fun, food, exciting live entertainment, and exhibits. The event benefits the National Academic Youth Corps, which provides art and educational programs for over 15,000 youth and adults every year right here in Sacramento, as well as over a dozen other worthy local charities.
www.sacbananafestival.com

Soil Born Farms Tomato and Melon Jubilee and Fun On the Farm
Rancho Cordova, CA
August 8
A summer tradition at the farm stand. All the usual Saturday at the farm activites plus heirloom tomato and melon tastings, chef demos, live music by Millington Strings, preservation tips, farm tours, yoga and a free succulent class. The same day you can also join the fun and explore the American River Ranch: Meet the farm animals, dig in the garden soil, plant seedlings, make a farm fresh snack, create something special to take home. Pre registration is required for Fun on the Farm event.
www.soilborn.org

California Fig Fest
Fresno, CA
August 15
9:00 am-1:00 pm
Catch Bravo Network’s most beloved Italian Chef at our main stage! Fabio Viviani will be cooking up a delicious fig-inspired recipe in a LIVE cooking demonstration. With his contagious humor and wit, you will not want to miss this event. Be a part of a live audience as a production crew will be recording for new television show, Global Bites! Savor gourmet food samples from over 20 of California’s best executive chefs and restaurants. A collection of more than 50 vendors and sponsors will display and sell their fig-inspired (and other) items for all to enjoy. From fine-art, glass, pottery, cook books, culinary ware, jams, olive oils, fig trees, fresh figs and more! A true celebration of the California Fig Industry! Enjoy delicious fig-inspired favorites from six local food trucks.
www.CaliforniaFigs.com

Fairfield Tomato Festival
Fairfield, CA
August 15 and 16
Visit Tomato Alley where you can find hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, gourmet tomato products, and more waiting for you at the Fairfield Tomato Festival. A Salsa concert from 6 to 8:30pm will cap a day full of live entertainment, kids’ activities, a farmers market, a Film Festival (Attack of the Killer Tomato, of course), the West Coast Barbeque Championships, a Chili Cook-off, and more.
www.fairfieldmainstreet.com

Bay Area and Beyond

Gravenstein Apple Fair
Sebastopol, CA
August 8 and 9
Apple lovers from far and wide gather in Sebastopol, the Gravenstein Apple Capital of the World, to celebrate the crop with Gravenstein Apple Fair. Contests include apple peeling, apple juggling, candy apple eating, apple pie eating and apple pie baking contests, to name a few. Two days of exceptional musical talents on several stages. Wine tent, Microbrew Tent, Beer Wagon, Chef’s Tent, food tents, kids entertainment, and apples galore make this one of the healthiest festivals of the year in California. Drive along the Gravenstein Highway to arrive at the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair and you’ll pass by dozens of farms, many with roadside stands.
www.gravensteinapplefair.com

Harris Tree Farm (Pollock Pines, CA)

Blackberry season is here in the Bay Area and Sacramento. I have been on the search for a farm to go blackberry picking since we moved to the area years ago. Following a lead from a local tourism professional I called the owners of Harris Tree Farm. We ventured up to the farm this weekend and picked over two pounds of sustainably farmed blackberries in the quietest farm we have ever been.

If you aren’t familiar with Pollock Pines, it’s just up Highway 50 after Apple Hill on the way to South Lake Tahoe. The farm is only a quick detour about a five minute drive from the exit. It’s a quaint foothills town with towering trees and apple orchards as far as you can see. Look for the signs for Harris Tree Farm and turn into the driveway. There is gravel lot parking and the farm is usually not too crowded this time of the year. Once out of the car make your way to the barn with the large apple on the door and once inside you get instructions and equipment for berry picking. The family that owns and operates this farm couldn’t be any nicer or more full of information. Ask questions. They are area experts and taught us so much about their farm and the area.

I chatted with one of the owners of the farm that told me blackberry season is just starting in this part of the state and should run through September and maybe longer depending on conditions. Blackberries at Harris Tree Farm are farmed sustainably. This means the owners only use organic fertilizer and use sustainable growing practices.

When we visited the farm around lunch time on a Saturday we were the only guests. Unlike some of the more touristy farms this one retains it’s family friendly approach and we were able to just relax and run free since no one else was around. The landscape is so impressive the place instantly transports visitors to a different time. The blackberry growing area is surrounded by trees and rustic buildings that make for a real farm experience.

Blackberry picking is open Friday-Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm through the growing season. School groups and field trips can easily be arranged for other days by calling the farm main office. Individuals and groups are encouraged to bring picnic lunches and lunch tables are available under the apple trees. Homemade baked pies are also available for purchase. Bring cash.

Harris Tree Farm is located at 2640 Blair Road Pollock Pines, CA 95726

Farmsteads and Farms Open This Month. July.

Farms are opening quickly now! 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 July.
  3. We didn’t include produce stores, just traditional stands.
  4. 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
www.boavista.com

Pine ‘O Mine (You-Pick Blueberries)
Open Daily, Closed Mondays
2620 Carson Road
Placerville, CA
www.pineomine.com

South Fork Farm (Farmstand)
941 Cold Springs Rd.
Placerville, CA
www.southforkorganic.com

Placer County

Delta Farm (Farmstand)
8315 Horseshoe Bar Road
Loomis, CA
no website

Ikeda’s California Country Market (Produce Stand)

Open Daily
13500 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA
www.ikedas.com

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
www.otoworchard.com

Sacramento County

Davis Ranch (Farmstand)
Open Daily
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA
www.davisranchproduce.com

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

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

Yolo County

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

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

Impossible Acres Farm (You-Pick and Farmstead)
Open Wednesday-Sunday, 9:00 am-6:00 pm
26565 County Road 97D
Davis, CA
www.impossibleacres.com

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

Pacific Star Gardens (You-Pick Strawberries and Berries and Farmstand)
20872 County Rd 99
Woodland, CA 95695
Pacific Star Gardens Facebook Page

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.

July Tot Friendly Food Festivals.

July is full of family-friendly food events and activities. We have included a list of our favorite tot-friendly choices. Get out and explore California and all the food events celebrating our local farm favorites.

Sacramento and Surrounding Areas

California State Fair
Sacramento, California
July 10-26
The 17-day fair is a robust celebration of the State of California, its industries, agriculture and diversity of its people. Among the highlights are concerts, wine garden, midway rides, demonstration farm (with most crops grown in the state), livestock pavilion, fine arts competition, harness racing, and nightly fireworks. Tastes of the fair include exotic foods from around the world, plenty of healthy & nutritious options, as well as many deep-fried foods: zucchini, Twinkies, funnel cake, chicken, avacado, cheesecake, and more.
www.castatefair.org

Davis Ranch Corn Festival
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA
July 11th & 12th
Featuring local craft artists, pony rides, live music, food vendors, bounce houses, tractor rides and Sloughhouse Sweet Corn. Free admission and Parking.
www.zslproductions.net/cornfest/

Marysville Peach Fest
Marysville, California
July 17-18
The 16th Annual Marysville Peach Festival is going to be an exciting event with a wide variety of new and returning craft vendors, food vendors cooking for every taste bud, several delicious choices of peach related foods, and great entertainment for all ages.
www.marysvillepeachfest.org

Sacratomato Festival
Sacramento, CA
July 25
A family-friendly festival will take place outside on the grounds of Sutter’s Fort SHP. The free Sacratomato Festival will include lots to see and do, such as the following: an on-stage salsa making competition presented by Centro Cocina Mexicana, a tomato tasting garden, lawn games, a hands-on “Tomato Patch” area for kids – with face painting, balloon creations and a grow-your-own tomato activity – tasty foods for sampling and/or sale by Midtown restaurants and bars, cooking demonstrations by the area’s top chefs, Midtown Farmers Market vendors and entertaining live music.
www.exploremidtown.org

Courtland Pear Fair
Courtland, CA
July 26,
Activities at the festival include vendors, arts and crafts, bands, entertainment, a classic car show, fun run, wine tasting and youth duck calling. At the Classic Car Show guests can ooh- and ahh- over (pre-1973) street rods, muscle cars and classics, plus vintage tractors and steam engines.
www.pearfair.com

Bay Area and Beyond

Gilroy Garlic Festival
Gilroy, CAJuly 24-26
Featuring food, beverages, arts & crafts and live entertainment. The event includes three popular cooking competitions, presenting 60 live concerts, and serving a critically-acclaimed cuisine enhanced with over two tons of fresh California garlic.
www.gilroygarlicfestival.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!

Farmer’s Market. Midtown Farmer’s Market (Sacramento, CA)

The town where we are doesn’t have a year-round farmer’s market. That being said, we sort of like the challenge of finding new and interesting farmer’s markets during the months that ours isn’t going. Recently, we got invited to come see what the Midtown Farmer’s Market was all about in Sacramento. We jumped at the opportunity after hearing friends raving about the regionally curated market.

The market is held in a corridor of midtown flanked by uber cute new eateries and boutiques. I love this stretch of Sac with it’s twinkly lights strung though the trees and adjoining patios that create a downtown area that’s livable and safe for families with tots. It’s not a large size market. It’s just big enogh to get in and get out with what you need or stroll slowly and make a morning out of it.

What we loved most about this market was it’s nod to families with kids. In the center of the market there is a complete tot land with astro turf grass, bouncy toys, food theme placemets to color and child-sized chairs with umbrellas. We had to pry our two shoppers out of there when it was time to leave and we ended up spending much longer than we anticipated just because we actually got the chance to. Breath.

My Husband might have even been caught lounging in a chair, coffee in hand smiling from ear to ear laughing and joking. (If you know a Capitol employee during the summer you know how rare this behavior can be).

There was a waffle man selling right out of a vintage cherry red volkswagon van just like my in laws had in the 70’s and the most amazing gluten free baked goods from Davis. There were farm style flowers and mushrooms. There was fresh lemonade and chimichurri. This market had every flavor imaginable and we were digging it.

The Midtown Farmers Market is located on 20th Street, b/t J & K Streets in Midtown Sacramento. Parking is available for market patrons at 2020 J Street, adjacent to the market.

Free bike valet is a feature component of the Midtown Farmers Market, run by Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA). Bike valet will located every Saturday at the Market.

Farmstands and Farms Open This Month. June

Farms are opening quickly now! 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 June.
  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

American River Cherry Company
2240 Dias Drive
Placerville CA
www.americanrivercherryco.com

Boa Vista Orchards (Farmstand)
Open Daily
2952 Carson Road
Placerville, CA
www.boavista.com

Once in a Blue Moon Berries (You-Pick Blueberries)
1820 Arroyo Vista Way
El Dorado Hills, CA
www.onceinabluemoonberries.com

Pine ‘O Mine (You-Pick Blueberries)
Open Daily, Closed Mondays
2620 Carson Road
Placerville, CA
www.pineomine.com

Rainbow Orchards (You-Pick Blueberries)
Open Saturdays and Sundays
3010 Snows Road
Camino, CA
www.rainboworchards.net

South Fork Farm (Farmstand)
941 Cold Springs Rd.
Placerville, CA
www.southforkorganic.com

Placer County

Delta Farm (Farmstand)
8315 Horseshoe Bar Road
Loomis, CA
no website

Ikeda’s California Country Market (Produce Stand)

Open Daily
13500 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA
www.ikedas.com

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
www.otoworchard.com

Sacramento County

Davis Ranch (Farmstand)
Open Daily
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA
www.davisranchproduce.com

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

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

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
www.fullbellyfarm.com

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

Impossible Acres Farm (You-Pick and Farmstead)
Open Wednesday-Sunday, 9:00 am-6:00 pm
26565 County Road 97D
Davis, CA
www.impossibleacres.com

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

Pacific Star Gardens (You-Pick Strawberries and Berries and Farmstand)
20872 County Rd 99
Woodland, CA 95695
Pacific Star Gardens Facebook Page

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.

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