organic

Farms and Farmstands To Visit March. (Northern, CA)

Davis Ranch

Farm season is starting and some farms and farmstands in Northern California are starting to open. Here is a list of some that we recommend.

  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.

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.

Farm Lessons. What is Dry Farming.

Dry Farmed Apples from 24 Carrot Farm

What is Dry Farming

I have been hearing more about dry-farming lately. It’s not the first I have heard of the practice. Back when I worked in the wine industry I worked for some of the most famous ultra-premium wineries in Napa and Sonoma and many of our vineyards were dry-farmed. At that time wineries with dry-farmed grapes were getting rewarded with top reviews and bringing in the highest dollar value with wine conoisseurs. Now, with the California drought continuing it seems like more farmers and consumers are becoming aware of the practice and supporting it. Interestingly enough, California utilized dry-farming during the 1800’s and even through part of the 20th century until modern agricultural practices shifted to less use of the practice. (more…)

Recipe. Sweet Potato Harvest Hummus.

Harvest Hummus Dip

Summer vegetable platters served with cool creamy yogurt dips were our after school snack staple for months so now that the seasons are changing I have had to reinvent what to make for my hungry tots.  I revamped our basic hummus recipe to incorporate some of the flavors of fall.  This hummus is best served with fresh toasted pitas sliced into wedges, pretzels or pita chips with seasonal vegetables.  We like to buy whole wheat pitas, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic.  Place on a cookie sheet under the broiler for 2-4 minutes until toasty and golden brown.

This recipe makes enough for two days worth of dipping or two small glass containers, so I divide the hummus into two batches and refrigerate one for another day.

Sweet Potato Harvest Hummus.
Print Recipe
A harvest inspired hummus perfect for after school snacking or seasonal entertaining.
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Sweet Potato Harvest Hummus.
Print Recipe
A harvest inspired hummus perfect for after school snacking or seasonal entertaining.
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: glass containers
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in Cuisinart blender until desired consistency is reached. Add additional olive oil for a more luxurious dip. Season as desired. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds or candied pecans. Serve with grilled or toasted pita wedges and seasonal vegetables.
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What’s at Market. October.

Melon from 24Carrot Farm

This week’s shopping was a quick trip to Apple Hill where our current favorite organic farm, 24 Carrot Farm is located. We picked up everything we could to keep us going through the week. It seems like we are clinging to the last of the tomatoes, peppers and summer squash and starting to incorporate some winter squash into our dinners too. Since it’s 90 degrees this week here in Northern California it’s hard to get into too much fall baking just yet. What’s in season October. (more…)

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

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…)

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.