food

March Food Holidays.

Yogurt Ranch Dip

Have you noticed all the weird and wacky food holidays people seem to be celebrating these days? Maybe it’s the popularity of Instagram and Pinterest that have brought some of the more obscure food holidays to the forefront as food bloggers and moms scramble for content and meal ideas. I’m all for reasons to celebrate only some of the food holidays being celebrated across the Internet are just plain. Bad. For. You.

Around here we try to keep processed foods to a minimum and we definitely aren’t going to buy and eat a certain brand or food product just because it’s that food’s “special day.” What we do try to do is keep our weekly menus interesting, seasonal and fun. You can do that without falling victim to cheezy marketing ploys by food companies trying to sell you something you don’t need.

So this month as we celebrate all the awesome seasonal foods we can buy locally in California we definitely won’t be celebrating National Oreo Day or National Cake Pop Day. We are definitely going to get in on the fun for National Crunchy Taco Day, National Waffle Day and more. Stay with us as we share some of our favorite recipes this month for local, seasonal fruit and vegetables that are at their peak during early spring.

Pictured is our homemade Yogurt Ranch Dip we shared on our Instagram last summer. It’s one of our favorite after school snack recipes and works for tomorrow’s celebration of National Ranch Day.

March Food Celebrations

National Fresh Celery Month
National Noodle Month
National Flour Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Peanut Month
National Hot Cross Bun Day (Good Friday)
National Sauce Month

Daily Holidays

March 1
National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day

March 2
National Banana Cream Pie Day

March 3
National Cold Cuts Day

March 4
National Poundcake Day

March 5
National Cheese Doodle Day

March 6
National Oreo Day

March 7
National Cereal Day

March 8
National Peanut Cluster Day

March 9
National Crab Day

March 10
National Ranch Dressing Day

March 11
National “Eat Your Noodles” Day

March 12
National Milky Way Day

March 13
National Chicken Noodle Soup Day

March 14
National Potato Chip Day

March 15
National Peanut Lovers’ Day

March 16
National Artichoke Heart Day

March 17
National “Eat Like an Irishman” Day

March 18
National Sloppy Joe Day

March 19
National Oatmeal Cookie Day

March 20
National Ravioli Day

March 21
National Crunchy Taco Day

March 22
National Water Day

March 23
National Chips and Dip Day

March 24
National Cake Pop Day

March 25
National International Waffle Day

March 26
National Nougat Day

March 27
National World Whisky Day

March 28
National Black Forest Cake Day

March 29
National Chiffon Cake Day

March 30
National Turkey Neck Soup Day

March 31
National Oysters on the Half Shell Day
National Clam Day

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe (Carmel, CA)

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic CafeMost of our fruits and vegetables are grown locally. We try to only use organic and local in our home cooking as much as possible. We do buy some of our produce at Costco or the grocery store and when we do we try to buy California grown organic products. One of our favorite brands is Earthbound Farms. We buy their salad mix and carrots when we can’t get to farmer’s market or the farmstand that week. I like that the brand is semi-local (less than 200 miles away) and is creating more organic farmland in our state every year. Earthbound Farms has over 50,000 acres of organic agriculture in their network of growers. On a small piece of that land sits the adorable Earthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe in Carmel, CA. This place is exactly what Carmel means to me, earthy bohemian and artistic California chic.

We travel to the Monterey and Carmel area often because my younger sister lives there and both my brother and sister went to boarding school there. For years we have been staying out our favorite hotel, The Hyatt Regency Monterey, and exploring all that the area has to offer. Because we travel so often we often stock our room with our own food and try to eat as clean as we can while we are there.

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe

A friend that also travels to the area often mentioned we should try the Earthbound Farm for lunch one day on a recent trip. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t been there before or even heard of it! I tried looking on Google and found it was difficult to even find the address and then found the Yelp page and we were on our way.

When we pulled into the parking lot I was instantly obsessed with this perfect local stop. Earthbound Farms started with a 2.5 acre organic raspberry farm just down the road from the current farmstand in 1984. The farmstand was opened 8 years later and then expanded to the farmstand and cafe in 2003. Earthbound Farms has brilliantly put a quaint authentic face on their large agriculture brand and allows locals to engage directly with the people who provide food to thousands of consumers around the country. By allowing people to see how the brand started and sample what they produce now families are able to interact directly with a company they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get to know.

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe

The Cafe

The cafe was our first stop after finding our way into the farmstand building and we were hungry and ready for lunch. Led by Executive Chef, Sarah La Casse, the cafe offers organic menu choices that showcase Earthbound Farms produce and allows guests to understand her passion for fresh and flavorful food that utilize the palette of the fields right outside her kitchen. The cafe also serves as a creative venue for recipe tasting and sampling new food combinations. The menu board shows what is available and it is kept simple and straightforward. Every day there is a meat and vegetarian grilled panini for $8.95 that changes throughout the day, a market salad for $8.95 and choice of 2 soups, cup for $3.95 and bowl for $5.95. A salad bar offers all the Earthbound Farm specialties and big wood bowls for those that want to make their own at $8.99/lb. There is also a kids’ menu that includes organic grilled cheese on house made bread for $4.95 or peanut butter and jelly for $3.95. Organic and fair-trade coffee along with frozen yogurt completes the simple approach to dining menus.

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe

There are shaded tables just outside the farmstand main entrance and a larger group-dining area with picnic tables in a cooler open barn area. Sitting outside on the patio we were so entertained by the fields and gardens surrounding us we all relaxed and chatted for much longer than vacation lunches ususually last with a 3 and 5 year old. I ordered the kale and white bean soup with house-made French baguette slices, Ben got a sliced Italian meat panini and the tots each got grilled cheese sandwiches. We finished lunch off with organic chocolate frozen yogurt and made our way through the gardens that had been tempting us throughout our lunch. Everything we tried was perfectly prepared and didn’t leave us with that post-vacation regret.

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe

The Gardens

Walking through organic gardens after a nice meal might be my favorite afternoon activity with children. The Gardens include a kid’s garden, herb garden, berry patch, flower garden and more. Each are of the garden areas are accessed through gorgeous arbors and paths that make the whole experience more adventure than teaching. We were the only people in the gardens during our visit and our children could just run and explore without fear of bothering anyone or getting lost. We tasted raspberries right of the vine, admired flowers and learned about organic farming methods all while being immersed in a storybook like environment that each of us could appreciate.

The Gardens also play host to private and public events throughout the year. Posted events include educational days, craft days and more.

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe

The Market

We returned to the market after our garden tour to stock up on local fruit to have in our hotel room during our stay. Prices might be higher than other local farmstands only considering the location of the place in one of the highest rent areas of the state along with the ease of purchasing so much in one stop makes the prices realistic for a travel budget. Not to mention more affordable than dining in local restaurants. The market stays full year round of Earthbound Farms produce that is all organic and locally-produced. There is a refrigerated section that includes take-away deli selections perfect for easy hotel lunches and dinners. Bakery choices are available too along with gourmet specialty grocery selections and Earth-friendly gifts. Definitely where I am going to be buying souveniers from now on. A flower stand outside offers specatular organic flowers featuring what’s local and in season. We made off with overflowing baskets of strawberries, blueberries and fat juicy peaches we demolished in the car before we even hit the main road. Having fruit and vegetables as snack options in our hotel room when we travel is one of my travel secrets and this place makes it easy and fun to do just that.

Earthbound Farms Market and Organic CafeEarthbound Farms Market and Organic CafeEarthbound Farms Market and Organic CafeEarthbound Farms Market and Organic CafeEarthbound Farms Market and Organic CafeEarthbound Farms Market and Organic Cafe

Earthbound Farms Farmstand and Cafe is open 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily and is located at 7250 Carmel Valley Road Carmel, CA. The Farmstand and Cafe Facebook page is the best resource to view upcoming events and valuable information. A dirt parking lot and restrooms with running water are available to guests.

This is not a sponsored post and is a real review of a place we like.

Eat Local. October.

Pumpkins at Davis RanchOctober in California means summer crops are starting to dwindle and cooler weather offerings are starting to come to local markets. Here is our list of what we have been seeing around.

Market availability varies by region. This is a general guide for Northern California based on Bay Area and Sacramento growers.

Summer Crops Making Their Exit

These selections are entering the last phase of their season so grab them while you can or wait until next year.

Basil
Eggplant
Melons
Peppers
Plums
Summer squash
Tomatoes

Fall Favorites

These selections are right at the peak or middle of their season so find them and try out some new recipes while availability is widespread.

Almonds
Apples
Beans
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Chard
Lettuce
Onions
Oranges
Pears
Persimmons
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Winter squash

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.
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!