Sacramento

El Dorado Wines Passport Weekend. (Northern CA)

EL Dorado Wineries

This winter we had so much fun during our Instagram Takeover of the El Dorado Winery Association and you might have seen some of our photography featured on their social media sites. So this weekend we are headed back up to El Dorado Wine Country for Passport Weekend.

El Dorado Passport 2016 is more than just wine-tasting. In the 25th year, it has become widely known as a weekend dedicated to exploration, hands-on education, and celebrating one of the most beautiful areas in the Northern-California region.

It’s your passport to a weekend full of adventure. It’s your ticket to freely roam through the Sierra Foothills. It’s a time dedicated to engaging with all things local: landmarks, attractions, hot spots, amazing food, and most of all, locally-produced wine from award winning wineries.

Purchase your tickets, pick a starting winery, and off you go on a self-guided adventure through El Dorado Wine Country.

Tickets are available online until tonight. Tickets can also be purchased during the weekend at Skinner and Madrona Vineyards.

The wineries are open 11:00 am-5:00 pm this weekend, April 16-17 see you there!

Are you going to El Dorado Wine Country this weekend?  Tell us your itinerary we would love to hear more!

Want to see more of our last trip to El Dorado Wine Country? See our recap post of our adventures from our winter weekend away.

Farm Tots Weekend.

Pancakes and Strawberries

It’s been hot here in California this week and it got so nice yesterday we all took a quick icy dip in our pool for the first swimming day of the season. It didn’t last long, and now there are more storms headed our way. We are going to try to get out in between rain downpours this weekend to pick strawberries! Two of our favorite local organic strawberry farms opened this week and we have been waiting to get some of the juicy local berries for ourselves! I’m so ready to make strawberry jam and syrup. Two of my favorites! We got our outside furniture all set up last weekend so I even got to have breakfast out by the pool this morning. Pictured here. At least I got out while I could! Here is what we are obsessed with this weekend. What are you up to?

Want to know where to find local strawberries in the Sacramento area? Here is our guide from last year

Last year we were picking strawberries in March, this year the two local farms for picking organic strawberries are just opening this week

Since we are talking about strawberries we definitely are going to try these Strawberry and Vanilla pancakes

Why stop now let’s just say I’m packing some make ahead lunches with this Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Goat Cheese

We are trying to figure out how to escape some of our obligations on the weekends to attend some food festivals and family friendly events this month too

April in California. Tot Friendly Food Festivals and Events.

It’s April. The weather is changing and family events are filling up our weekends. Here is a listing of what is coming up this month is Sac and our surrounding areas. Most of these events are free or low-cost and benefit our community as a whole.

SACRAMENTO AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Asparagus Festival
April 15-17
San Joaquin Valley Fairgrounds, Stockton
Entertainment, arts, crafts, cooking demonstrations, and children’s’ play area all celebrating asparagus. The festival includes performances and a carnival. The food favorite is deep-fried asparagus.
http://sanjoaquinasparagusfestival.net/index.html

Picnic Day at UC Davis
April 16
UC Davis Campus, Davis
This family friendly event is free for all to come and experience the richness of diversity and achievement at UC Davis and the surrounding community in the areas of research, teaching, service and campus life. More than 200 events will take place throughout campus and will include exhibits, shows, competitions, demonstrations, entertainment, animal and athletic events, Student Organization Fair, Multicultural Children’s Fair, Parade and much more. The event has many ag related booths and activities.

Sacramento Earth Day Celebration
April 19
Southside Park, Sacramento
The Sacramento celebration of the 46th annual Earth Day will be filled with diverse business, non-profit, cultural, and government vendors with practical information, goods and services for saving money, living healthier, and protecting the environment. There will also be great entertainment, activities, and cuisine.
www.ecosacramento.net

Sacramento Children’s Earth Day Celebration
April 22, 11:00 am-1:00 pm
The Sacramento Children’s Museum, Sacramento
The Sacramento Children’s Museum is partnering with Assemblyman Ken Cooley to host the Children’s Earth Day Celebration. Attendees will enjoy interactive, Earth-friendly activities from event partners.
www.sackids.org

BAY AREA AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival

April 9-10, 10 am – 5 pm
Westshore Rd., Bodega Bay
Weekend is packed with music, food, and entertainment with the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet as a highlight. Food booths have something for every pallet from lamb to oyster barbeque. A favorite attraction is the wine tasting booth featuring more than 25 Sonoma County wines. Live music and entertainers perform on the band stage both Saturday and Sunday. Great venue for kids, with a play area with face painting, games, spin paintings, free kite lessons, pony rides, and, llamas on parade. 80 artisan and vendor booths offer wide selection of arts and crafts.
www.bbfishfest.org

California Nut Festival

April 16
The vibrant and entertaining one-day festival pays tribute to Chico’s rich agricultural heritage with a bounty of farm-fresh food sampling, cooking demonstrations, live music on two stages, an art show and, of course, lots of sampling of wonderful delights, wine and beer! Proceeds benefit the Historic Patrick Ranch Museum, a restored mansion and working farm managed by the Far West Heritage Association.
www.californianutfestival.com

Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival
April 16-17
Ives Park (on Jewell Ave. and Willow St.) and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts at the Veterans Memorial Building, 282 High St., Sebastopol
The apple is the star of the show and is featured in a parade, arts, crafts, and food. You will also find children’s’ activities, historical and horticultural displays, beer and wine sampling. There are children’s activities celebrating the farm and a free animal area including geese, ducks and chicks. There are other activities ranging from mechanical bull rides to zip lines, tea cup rides, water race games, a train station, Jr. Jurassic Adventure and more!
www.appleblossomfest.com

Butter and Egg Days
April 23-24
Petaluma, CA
The town celebrates their agricultural ties with the dairy and poultry in this annual event in Petaluma. The affair includes a parade, cheese tasting, kids’ in chicken costumes, and the Cutest Chick in Town contest.
www.petalumadowntown.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!

5 Places to Get Outside in Northern CA This Weekend. (Northern, CA)

Anyone else getting housebound with all this rain? We are not complaining. We just have to get out of here and fast. Here are some weekend ideas we are kicking around and wanted to share with all our Farm Tots friends here in Northern CA.

Full Belly Farm Tour-Full Belly Farm is a certified organic farm in the Capay Valley in northern California and this Saturday they are offering a public event with a farm tour. The tour starts at 11:00 am and guests can bring a picnic lunch to have at the farm after the tour.

Full Belly Farm
16090 County Road 43
Guinda, CA

Daffodil Hill-Each spring Daffodil Hill explodes with thousands of blooms, attracting visitors from around the world to this farm that is open to the public. Admission is free and the season only lasts for the daffodil season.

Daffodil Hill
18310 Rams Horn Grade
Volcano, California
Open daily 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Soil Born Farms Early Spring Plant Sale-Visit this community farm stand for their annual plant sale and fill your early spring garden with seasonal vegetables, flowers, medicinal and/ culinary herbs and edible perennials, including fruit trees.

Soil Born Farms
2140 Chase Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA
Open Saturday, March 19, 2016, 9:00am – 01:30pm

Picnic in Apple Hill-Bring a picnic and hit up Boa Vista. This year-round farmstand offers seasonal produce, bakery favorites, apple cider and more. Picnic tables are pletiful and there is space for tots to run around and have some fun. Take time to buy your weekly groceries and some car snacks for the way home like apple doughnuts and apple cider.

Boa Vista Orchards
2952 Carson Road
Placerville, CA
Open 8:00 am-5:30 pm daily

Folsom Farmer’s MarketThis outdoor market is held on Saturdays from 8:00 am-1:00 pm in Historic Folsom. More than 40 local vendors come out for this market that offers locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, baked goods, fresh eggs and dairy items, live music and so much more! Covered free public parking is available.

Folsom Farmer’s Market
Folsom, CA

Ag Day 2016. (Sacramento, CA)

Ag Day 2016 is coming to Sacramento next week! On Wednesday, March 16 ag exhibitors from around California are going to set up booths and demonstrations at the California State Capitol. The event is open to everyone and is free to attend.

Exhibitors last year included

Ag in the ClassroomAlmond BoardCal ExpoCalifornia Agricultural Commissioners & Sealers AssociationCalifornia Alpaca BreedersCalifornia Cattlemen’s AssociationCalifornia Department of Food and AgricultureCalifornia Farm Bureau FederationCalifornia Grown CampaignCalifornia Invasive Plant CouncilCalifornia Milk Advisory BoardCalifornia Pork Producers AssociationCalifornia Poultry FederationCalifornia Rice CommissionCalifornia School Garden NetworkCalifornia State Beekeepers AssociationCalifornia State Floral AssociationCalifornia State GrangeCalifornia Strawberry CommissionCalifornia Thoroughbred Breeders AssociationCalifornia Walnut CommissionCalifornia Women for AgricultureCalifornia Wool Growers AssociationDairy Council of CaliforniaFFA & 4-HThe Forest FoundationFlying U RodeosFresh ProducersPacific Gas & ElectricU.C. Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesUSDA – Natural Resources Conservation ServiceWagons WestWestern Fairs Association

Come join us as we celebrate agriculture!

Ag Day 2016
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
10:30 am to 11:30 am – Elected Officials & Staff Tour Booths
11:30 am to 1:30 pm – Open to the Public
Stage Program Begins at Noon

Sacramento Farmer’s Market. (Sacramento, CA)

1452555425_full.jpegThere are no farmer’s markets in our town during the winter so we have to get out to find local fruit and vegetables. One of the largest markets in Sacramento is the Sacramento Farmer’s Market on Sunday that takes place under the freeway at 10th St. and W St.

1452555700_thumb.jpegWe have been going to this market since we moved to the Sacramento area almost 10 years ago. It’s known for being one of the least expensive markets with bulk fruit and vegetable selections from around California available for prices that seem to be slightly less than some of the other local markets.

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There are olive oil vendors, honey vendors, wineries, bakeries and more each weekend and the market gets larger and smaller depending on the season.

Some of our favorite purchases this weekend were large 10 lb. bags of mandarins and oranges, kiwis, broccoli, eggs and pretzels.

Parking is available in free lots surrounding the market along with outhouse style restrooms.

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The Sacramento Central Farmer’s Market is located at 8th and W St. and runs from 8:00 am- 12 pm year-round.

Colwell Thundering Herd Ranch. Mandarin Farm. (Penryn, CA)

Colwell Thundering Herd Ranch Mandarins

Just before Thanksgiving break a friend and I took one of my tots and hit the country roads from Loomis to Penryn in the Northern California foothills. This area is part of the Mountain Mandarin growing region and has some of the best mandarins we have tried, grown along sleepy country roads. We didn’t know exactly where we were going. We just had a map and drove around for hours exploring this countryside which was completely new to us.

We saw the driveway to Colwell Ranch and couldn’t tell if it was open. It was a Tuesday morning and the roads were quiet so we decided to drive in to make sure. The ranch was open and we were immediately chatting with the friendly family members that own the place. We even got introduced to one of the youngest generation of farmers on this land, a tot on a push toy being entertained by his grandma, ranch co-owner, Nancy Colwell. (more…)

Northern California Cut Your Own Tree Farms (Northern CA)

Farm 9

One of the best times to live in the foothills outside Sacramento, CA is during the holiday season.  It’s icy cold outside and seems like we are in the mountains and there are tree farms everywhere.  Tree farms can be found in many counties in the area and we are fortunate enough to have some less than 30 minutes away.  Since we were away for the break last week we are going to cut down our tree this weekend.

We wanted to share a comprehensive list of where to cut down your own Christmas tree in Northern California.  The tree farms listed are open this 2015 season.  If you have a favorite to share we would love to hear more about it.  Comment and tell us your favorite tree farm or tradition. (more…)

The Mountain Mandarin Festival. November Tot Friendly Event. (Auburn, CA)

Mountain Mandarin Trees in Penryn, CA

The Mountain Mandarin Festival marks the official beginning of Placer County Mountain Mandarin season. The event takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving every year at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. This 3-day celebration draws 30,000 visitors from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area and Reno. Just off Hwy 80 between Sacramento and North Lake Tahoe this event is easy to get to and is the perfect stop for anyone on their way to Tahoe.

Festival attendees can sample fresh mandarins hand-picked by Mountain Mandarin Growers’ Association members, as well as a variety of mandarin-based products including olive oils, marinades, marmalades, syrups and mandarin blossom honey. Growers will have plenty of 5 and 10 pound bags of mandarins for sale, ready for holiday enjoyment. Most growers can also ship mandarins to your friends and family. (more…)

Best of Apple Hill 2015. Best Pie. Apple Pantry Farm (Camino, CA)

Apple Pie in Apple Hill

Apple Hill, the apple growing region just outside of Sacramento boasts over 50 farms growing local apples and offering visitors experiences of all types. Located just off Highway 50 on the way to South Lake Tahoe, Apple Hill is the perfect diversion for tourists and locals. Most apple farms in the area serve up homemade style apple pies during peak apple season. We asked around and tried our share of pies and found our favorite this apple season.

Apple Pantry Farm is in it’s 12th season and has been providing a quaint picturesque stop to guests to try their homemade style pies served up with creamy vanilla ice cream. The farm is located on Hidden Valley Road a country road off the beaten trail and tourists thin out here and the pace immediately slows down. During our visit on a Friday during peak season, tourists were arriving by busload at the more crowded farms and this one we had the whole place to ourselves for part of our visit. (more…)