Farms

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.
www.fairytaletown.org

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.
www.galtchamber.com

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.
www.soilborn.org

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.
www.mhmmg.org

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.
www.artichokefestival.org

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
www.boavista.com

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

Placer County

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

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

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

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.

Strawberry Stands. (Sacramento County, CA and Surrounding Areas)

When I first moved to Sacramento almost ten years ago one of my favorite sights was the adorable strawberry stands that seemed to be around every turn.  The rustic white paint.  Red strawberries adorning the sides of the old fashioned stands.  It was one of my favorite parts of this time of year.


After further investigation I found that there is a strawberry stand in almost every part of Sacramento within a ten-mile drive.  There are over 90 stands total.  The stands are family owned and set up so that locals can purchase their strawberries right from the farmer.

The idea of the strawberry stand is pretty much my urban farming philosophy all bundled up in a cute package.  Having a small urban farm that’s only purpose is to provide just picked produce for their neighborhood.  The stands are set up alongside the land where the strawberries are farmed.  There are picked at the peak of ripeness and then sold right there by stand owners and family.  Owners get to know their neighbors and farmers and residents work and live together in perfect harmony.

I wanted to know more about these small-scale local strawberry farmers so I researched further.  I found out that about five years ago UC Berkeley and UC Davis Cooperative Extension and a grant from the USDA National Research Initiative set out to tell the story of the strawberry farmers in Sacramento.

Most of the 95 strawberry farm stands in and around the Sacramento region are owned and operated by Mien and Hmong refugees from Laos, a small country in Southeast Asia that neighbors Vietnam.
When the U.S. left Southeast Asia in 1975, hundreds of thousands of Hmong and Mien fled their homeland to avoid persecution. Over 120,000 were eventually resettled in the U.S. The population today has expanded to an estimated 300,000, with nearly 35,000 residing in the Sacramento area alone.  Most of the refugees were farmers in Laos. In an effort to rebuild their lives, many turned to farming in the U.S. Most growers lease small plots of land and grow several varieties of strawberries.

The scientists working on the grant identified the local growers and expanded their businesses.  They found that the average strawberry stand only makes about $15,000 a year in a perfect growing year.  They tried to increase the stand’s revenue by forging relationships with local school districts, restaurants and low-income community grocery stores.  This not only provided additional revenue streams for farmers, it provided farm-to-fork options for children to learn that their food could come from their own communities.  The local fruit was offered to students in five regional school districts: Sacramento City Unified, Yuba City Unified, Buckeye Unified and Rescue Unified in El Dorado County and Roseville City Unified.
 I for one am so happy to have these hard-working strawberry farmers as part of our communities.  Knowing more about their challenging history and work ethic makes me even more proud to see these stands in our neighborhood.  Want to know where you can buy strawberries near you?  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?

Get to know your local strawberry stand owners.  Purchase ripe strawberries the way they are intended to be enjoyed.  Talk to the families that run these stands and find out more about them.  If each of us can show our children what a valuable service these families provide, we are ensuring the successful future of urban farming in our communities.  Without our support, urban farmers can’t survive.

We chatted with the stand owner on Grant Line Rd. in Elk Grove today and learned about his business and more about the variety of Chandler strawberries that he uses.  Local farmers can teach us all something that we didn’t know about the food we eat.

Tell us the story of your neighborhood strawberry stand.  We would love to hear it!



The stands featured in this post are the stands on Grant Line Rd. in Elk Grove and the stand on Green Valley in El Dorado Hills.  The stands are opening around our area now and should all be fully open within the next month.  The Google map has phone numbers for most stands if you want to make sure your local stand is open.

Farmer’s Market. Historic Folsom. (Folsom, CA)

Since our city doesn’t have a farmer’s market this time of year we are always trying new places to do our weekly shopping.  This week it was a completely amazing day to head down to Historic Folsom to the Saturday morning market.  If you haven’t been to this market it’s a perfect blend of small size and organic options.  The best part of being in Historic Folsom is it is a short 5 minute drive off Highway 50 and has lots of tot friendly diversions besides food shopping.

My older tot loves trains.  He has visited the Folsom Railroad Museum since we first moved to this area and he doesn’t seem to get tired of it.  If you have a 2-6 year old boy.  I guarantee he would like it too!  The museum is only open on weekends from 11:00 am-4:00 pm and is a short walk from the Historic Folsom parking garage by the market.  On your way over you can also look at the Historic Folsom Turntable that allowed trains that had hit the end of the Sacramento Valley Railroad to turn around and head back the way they came.

Once you have your fill of trains you can walk down the streets of the Historic Folsom District and window shop, grab a coffee or peruse antiques.

Need quick tot friendly place to get a snack or lunch?  We recommend Karen’s Bakery across from the parking garage for homemade pastries, coffee or locally inspired breakfast and lunch options.  There is counter service with indoor or outdoor patio dining.  Karen’s can get crowded so sometimes it is best to select some pastries and premade salads and take them to go for later.  For restaurant style dining right on Sutter St. we love the Sutter Street Grill.  There is plenty of tot friendly indoor and outdoor seating and the funky decor makes it a worry free choice.  The portions are huge so spliting entrees with tots is a cost saving hint.  We love their omelets and biscuits.

 


Folsom Historic District Farmer’s Market

Saturdays Year-Round
8:00 am-1:00 pm
915 Sutter St.
Folsom, CA

Folsom Railroad Museum
Saturdays Year-Round
11:00 am-4:00 pm
198 Wool St.
Folsom, CA

 

Strawberry Picking Season. In March. (Yolo County, CA and El Dorado County, CA)

Strawberry season usually starts in April around the Sacramento region.  Not this year!  Strawberry farms are open and farmer’s markets are already bursting with my favorite berries!  It took us by surprise as we drove by our local strawberry farm this weekend and saw families out amongst the rows of spring plants excitedly picking.

Growing up in Marin County we had a small strawberry patch in our backyard.  I would spend hours staring at our little garden waiting for green strawberries to turn to red and usually I would pick them mid-ripening because the anticipation was too much for me to handle.  There is nothing like homegrown strawberries.  Nothing.  You know how grocery store strawberries are thick skinned and semi sweet?  Homegrown strawberries, because they don’t have to be packaged and shipped around are picked at the peak of ripeness (unless you are five and can’t wait a moment longer) and are different varieties with thinner skin and juicier fruit.  A strawberry picked right out of the garden is oozing with sugary sweetness and is so tender it practically melts in your mouth.  The only way to get a berry like this, without growing your own, is to visit a local strawberry farm.  Just do it.  Trust me.

There are two strawberry farms that my family likes to visit each year.  One is in Yolo County near Davis and one is in El Dorado County in El Dorado Hills close to our home.  In between these two farms are approximately 95 strawberry stands scattered around the Sacramento metropolitan area.

My absolute favorite strawberry farm is Pacific Star Gardens near Davis in Woodland.  I first heard about Pacific Star Gardens when I worked at UC Davis and some of my students talked about it.  Only in Davis would college students spend their weekend strawberry picking and then come back to school on Monday and tell their boss about their adventures.  I love Davis.  Pacific Star Gardens is located on a sleepy county road in between Davis and Woodland.  It is sometimes manned and sometimes unmanned so it’s cash only.  I think this is the first farm I ever visited that had a money box and used the honor system.  I had just moved to Davis and the concept of having a money box right out in the open was so mind blowing I could hardly contain my excitement and all faith was again restored that humanity wasn’t deteriorating as quickly as I feared.  Driving to the farm takes quick reflexes and patience.  The farm comes up quickly and just as quickly disappears so keep a watch out for signs and drive carefully.  Pulling off the road there is a small dirt parking area and a covered farm stand that also features eggs, berries and vegetables as they become available.  Strawberries are $3/lb. or $15 a bucket (provided by the farm) and are certified organic.  Restrooms are not available.  The farm is tot friendly and hoards of families can be found on peak days and times so try to visit during the cooler morning hours to get prime first pick.

The closest strawberry farm to my home is El Dorado Natural Farms.  A recent neighbor that just started offering you pick strawberries along with other offerings last year.  I loved seeing this farm start operations because they are less than five minutes from my house and have easy on and off access from Highway 50.  They are a sustainable farm and use natural farming practices in all they do.  They have events throughout the year and are becoming one of the most family-friendly places in El Dorado Hills for friends to gather during the growing season.  Because this farm is located right off the Bass Lake Rd. exit on Highway 50 it’s the perfect stop off going to or from South Lake Tahoe or Apple Hill.  Strawberries are $3/basket for you pick and there is also a farm stand if you don’t have time to pick yourself.  The farm is only open weekends for now and as production ramps up, open daily.  The owners and employees are friendly and informative and the facility makes it easy to pick strawberries at the only fruit, vegetable and chicken farm on the Western Slope of El Dorado County.

El Dorado Natural Farm
Picking open 10:00 am-4:00 pm, weekends
1941 Old Bass Lake Rd.
El Dorado Hills, CA
www.edhfarms.com

Pacific Star Gardens
Open 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, daily
20872 County Road 99
Woodland, CA
Pacific Star Gardens Facebook Page

Do you have a favorite you pick strawberry farm?  Tell us about it!  We would love to feature it in a later post.

Open Farmstands. March.


March isn’t the best month for farm visits, except there are some awesome farmstands open.  Here is a  list of open farmstands for this month in the Sacramento and surrounding areas.

  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 only farmstands that are open for business in March.
  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
www.boavista.com

Placer County

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

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

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

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

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.

Farm Visit. Davis Ranch (Sloughhouse, CA)

Last weekend marked the first weekend of asparagus season in Sloughhouse, CA and we anxiously waited for the fog to clear so we could go get this early spring favorite.  The weather didn’t cooperate and after piling the tots in the Subaru and making it to Folsom, only to turn around because of unsafe conditions, we threw in the towel and decided to wait a week.

This Friday Grandma was visiting so we decided a quick after school trip before the thunderstorms hit might be our best opportunity.  We headed out and it was worth the wait.  The drive to Sloughhouse this time of year is so amazing.  The green pastures, cows lazily strolling through open land and cool temperatures are perfect for a scenic drive.

This usually crowded farm stand packed with Sacramento residents and tourists was completely empty.  We had the entire ranch to ourselves.  Parking lot was empty.  Farmstand empty.  Since it’s so early in the season the selections are limited.  We purchased tomatoes, onions, potatoes, apples, oranges and aparagus.  The asparagus is grown right on the ranch and comes in hourly from the fields.  Right now it’s $3 a bunch and the price just gets cheaper as the season gears up.

Davis Ranch has events throughout the year and festivals that draw large crowds.  This time of year the options might be sparse, only it’s the best time to get away from it all and have the place to yourself.  There are picnic tables ready to accomodate your tots along with portable bathrooms with running water to wash after.  Expect minimal grown on the ranch options, asparagus really being the standout this month.  We let our tots run around the picnic area and look at all the old farming equipment on display around the parking area.  This month it’s so quiet it’s the perfect time to let them explore and discover all the areas bordering a working farm.

We drive out to Davis Ranch throughout the year.  Our favorite time is late summer when corn is plentiful and their no-GMO corn is grown on the ranch and some of the best we have had.  Look for more reviews as we get further into the growing year.



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

 

Farmstand Visit. Boa Vista Orchards. Apple Hill (Placerville, CA)

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Apple Hill is known for it’s fall season that runs from Labor Day through November.  The season dips for a week or two and then returns with excitement the day after Thanksgiving when eager families from Sacramento and surrounding areas come looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  Apple Hill often gets some early snow in the fall months making it a chilly excursion we keep returning for year after year.  My favorite time in Apple Hill comes after the busy months.  Winter is my favorite season when crowds have thinned out, parking becomes easier and my country buzz isn’t spoiled by throngs of tourists.  Most apple farms  are shuttered by this time and only my favorite remains.  Boa Vista Orchards.

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Boa Vista is open every day year round making it a destination for any season.  We use Boa Vista as a nice 20 minute drive to shake off our routine and get out of the city.  For Sacramento residents it’s about 45-60 minutes up Highway 50 towards South Lake Tahoe.  Apple Hill gets some snow occasionally, except usually is below chain control, so it’s the perfect stop for weary Tahoe travelers.  It’s only about a 2 minute departure from Highway 50 and offers restrooms, easy plentiful parking, picnic areas and lots of room to stretch out and take a break.

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Boa Vista is a family owned farm that features their own products along with those of neighboring farms and beyond.  Apples are available year round so my family can get our fill of the giant boxes we crave.  Because it’s a fully operational farm stand Boa Vista also offers baked goods, dairy products, frozen pies, juices, artisan sauces and marinades, local honey and more.

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I can do all my weekly shopping at Boa Vista in one easy stop.  Seasonal produce is available so summer months offer mouth-watering sweet peaches, cherries and more.  Each month offers a new surprise so we try to come throughout the year.  During the fall busy season Boa Vista features local artists and craftsmen and has a fully operational barbecue stand giving hungry visitors a variety of options.  During slower months and year round there is also food available at the bakery window inside the stand.  A wood burning stove is a cozy gathering spot on cold days to enjoy a warm beverage and your choice of apple baked goods.

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Today we got two 20 pound boxes of apples that were the BOGO (buy one get one) price of $14.99 making each box only$7.50 and that’s way cheaper than any of our surrounding grocery stores.  (Boa Vista Orchards does not feature organic produce except it is mostly local so for me it’s a partial win).  We also picked up Bosc pears, a pineapple, tomatoes, lemons and a big bag of oranges.  We also picked up some unpasteurized apple cider that was also a BOGO price of $7.99 making each gallon jug only $4.  These jugs are freezable so picking up one extra and throwing it in the freezer is easy and preserves the juice for another week or two.  There are more bottled juice options available outside the refrigerator area including apple, pear and more than I can list.  Just venture off to the deepest corner of the stand next to the refrigerators.

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I don’t usually buy frozen pies except this year my family picked one up for me for a post Thanksgiving party we were hosting.  The pies are often on sale for just $6.99 for the traditional apple pie variety and it baked up to make the most impressive homestyle apple pie I have had.  There are lots of interesting varieties so if you want to be able to take your Apple Hill bakery experience with you to replicate at home this is the place to make your purchase.

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Boa Vista is waiting for you to explore at 2952 Carson Rd., Placerville, CA 95667.  Reach them at 530.622.5522 or online at www.boavista.com