travel

Farm Tots Weekend.

Dillon Beach

We are already almost to four weeks into summer around here and the lack of routines and schedules is making us all a little jumpy. I have to admit, I don’t love summer. Sleeping in, seeing friends and going exploring is cool for a while and then my tots start marching off the edge with boundless energy and opressive hot summer days.

This week we had a quick getaway to see some friends at Dillon Beach. I definitely want to share some tips with you since this was our second year vacationing there. If you haven’t heard of Dillon Beach, it’s a sleepy beach on the Marin coast where cool summer days becon those of us overheating in the valley.

This weekend we are unpacking and packing again for our next short trip to Sonoma wine country next week. So ready for some lazy days by the river. We are also going to try to get out for some blueberry picking, farmer’s market shopping and getting some house projects finished. Here is what we are obsessing over around here right now

Planning where to go blueberry picking this weekend in Apple Hill

Making a breakfast dessert tomorrow with this Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake with our leftover strawberries from the week

The food blog that inspired our nacho night for dinner tonight

The cute summer sale overalls I bought myself by tagging onto my tot’s summer vacation clothing online order

The adorable summer barbeque hosted by a local mom and I want to steal all the perfect details

Andis Winery (Plymouth, CA)

Andis Winery Logo

The year we moved to El Dorado Hills we started taking weekend drives out to Amador Wine Country to get away and slow down.   That same year we watched a modern new winery taking shape on a hillside along Shenandoah Rd. in Plymouth right in the middle of the Amador County winemaking region. We promised ourselves we would visit as soon as they opened the winery for visitors. That was five years ago. It might have taken us longer than we wanted it to only we did make it for a visit last weekend.

Our parents came to visit from Sun Valley, Idaho so we decided since they were escaping from the snow and winter days we needed to take them to Andis Winery to get a dose of springtime. The winery is easy to get to and when we arrived we were the only visitors there so the expansive parking lot was easy to maneauver and we found our way to the tasting room right away. The architecture of the building is modern and lends itself to the indoor outdoor lifestyle we sometimes take for granted here in California. The tasting room is so airy and open that expansive views of the vineyards surround you on all sides.

Since we brought our two tots we didn’t do focused wine tasting for long. We tasted the top white and red and then took some glasses out on the bocce court for a game and some old-fashioned wine country entertainment. There are covered chairs outside the tasting room and the bocce court is open for anyone to use during winery hours. There is also picnic tables, large grassy areas to run and other games to try.

Andis Winery Wine on Tap

The focus of the winery is to seek out the best vineyards in the Sierra Foothills to craft wines with balance, character, complexity and varietal correctness. The winemakers at Andis use both traditional and innovative winemaking approaches to produce wines that display the characterisitics of the region while maintaining a uniqueness that is all their own. Our favorite part of the tasting experience was the wine available on tap. Visitors can purchase a refillable bottle that can be filled on each visit from the wine on tap that day. Wine rotates throughout the year and prices vary.

Andis WineryAndis WineryAndis WineryAndis WineryAndis Winery

Andis Winery is located at 11000 Shenandoah Rd in Plymouth and the tasting room is open 7 days a week from 11:00am – 4:30pm. Wine tasting costs $5/person and is refundable with each bottle purchase.
Groups of 10 or more people: $10/person, non-refundable.  Club Andis members: free wine tasting for up to 4 adults. More information at (209) 245-6177

May in California. Tot Friendly Food Festivals and Events.

Sacramento Area

Galt Strawberry Festival

May 21-22
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 15
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

Sacramento County Fair

May 26-30
Sacramento, CA
The Sacramento County Fair is a family-friendly event with all the amenities of a traditional communal expo along with modern day entertainment. A livestock barn with auctions, freestyle motocross demo, carnival rides, demolition derby, buzzworthy local bands and bull riding events take place over the course of five days.
http://www.sacfair.com/

Bay Area and Beyond

Oakdale Chocolate Festival

May 21-22, 2016
Oakdale, California
IChocolate samples and items for purchase on Chocolate Avenue. 200+ Quality and variety vendors in Arts & Crafts, Chocolate Avenue a variety of food and Specialty Merchandise & Services. Amusement Park, Classic Car Show, and Western Show. Entertainment on: Chocolate Challenge Stage, Cowboy Cook’n Stage, and Main Stage.
https://www.oakdalechamber.com/

Farm Tots Weekend.

Daffodil Hill

We have been trying to soak up the gorgeous weather we have been having this week by getting outside, going for hikes and playing tourist at some local farms. More rain is on the way this weekend so we are going to get out while we can and celebrate the start of little league and get some spring cleaning out of the way before break next week.

Here is what we are obsessing over this weekend.

How to get outside and where to go

Making this Sesame Soba and Ribboned Omelet Salad this weekend for lunches next week

Sneaking off to my favorite bakery for hot cross buns and coffee

Making these for National Oatmeal Cookie Day tomorrow

What to do with all the local asparagus I bought this morning

What are you up to this weekend?  Any farm finds or recipes you think we should try?  Leave us a comment and tell us what you think of Farm Tots!  We love hearing from our friends.

 

Be Right Back. (San Diego, CA)

South Mission Beach San DiegoWe are taking a break this week and getting out of town.  San Diego is one of those places that has so many meanings for us that it’s almost difficult to capture everything in words alone.  It’s our place to log off, relax and explore.  We hope you have the chance to take some time off this holiday break.  We are going to be back with some travel tips, recipes and farm visits soon!

Farm Tots Weekend.

Struble Ranch Mandarin Farm Visit Placer County CaliforniaThis week at Farm Tots was full of exploring and learning about citrus farming in our area. This was the first year we were able to get out of the house and visit some of our local mandarin farms. My tots are obsessed with mandarins and call them orangies because they are a cuter smaller version of oranges. Instead of buying them at our usual store, Costco, I wanted to get outside and find where we could buy them locally.

We are getting ready for a Farm Tots style Thanksgiving and preparing for some upcoming travel. While I am doing laundry and organizing our household here is what I am thinking about and reading and what my weekend inspiration is this week. (more…)

Guest Post. Hither & Thither. 10 Farms to Get Closer to Agriculture.

Apple Hill Farm

Today I am featured over on Hither & Thither a blog written by a local mom, Ashley Muir Bruhn. Ashley asked me to write a local guide for her so I wrote a guide titled, Ten Farms to Get Closer to Agriculture in Apple Hill (Camino, CA).

I started reading Ashley’s writing this summer after she found me on my Instagram and I have had fun reading her lifestyle and travel blog since then. She features many of the same restaurants and getaways that are our favorites too.

Head over to her blog to access my guide. Apple season is wrapping up here in Northern California so it’s the perfect time to plan a trip. I always tell friends to try to visit Apple Hill midweek since weekend crowds make traffic and parking extremely difficult and the farms become so overrun with tourists that the experience is not ideal. (more…)

Watch. History of Apples in El Dorado County. (Apple Hill, CA)

HIstory of Apples In El Dorado County

We spend so many weekends in El Dorado County’s gorgeous apple growing region of Apple Hill, CA. See how this region started with a video produced by El Dorado County Ag in the Classroom. We even saw some adorable cameos by my tots’ friends from the area which made this video even more endearing.

I learned that El Dorado County’s number one commodity is apples! Since this is our home it was fun to learn that a snack my tots eat daily contributes to the success of farmers in our area.

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.