Jeremy Shepherd has been tending to his growing flock since 2009. He sells mutton to local markets but also works his herds as mobile mowers with local farmers in Yolo County.
A global cocoa shortage threatens to put a damper on the good tidings and cheer, as worldwide demand for chocolate outstrips the waning production in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, which produce more than 70 percent of the world’s mass-market cocoa.
Chris Jarosz is the founder of Broderick Restaurant & Bar and co-owner of the Wicked ‘Wich food truck. This year, he also took on the overhaul of midtown’s Capital Dime restaurant and its sister eatery, Trick Pony, which have been folded into the Broderick Roadhouse family of restaurants. It’s not all glamorous, but it is pretty tasty.
In a county where 218,510 residents are food insecure (meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from), and where a local food bank will distribute groceries to 40,000 individuals each month, food activists are continually innovating ways to break the cycle of poverty—for good. The solution is actually under our feet: the soil.
Zinfandel from Lodi’s Mokelumne River American Viticultural Area comes in two main styles: west side and east side. West-side vineyards, with their shallower soil, have lusher growth and tend to be earthier or loamier, sometimes pungently compost-like. East-side vineyards have a lower water table, producing smaller clusters and smaller fruit, which generally have more color, tannin and acidity.
You might say the old grapevines look otherworldly. With their contorted limbs and thick trunks, these Zinfandel vines look more like squat alien-trees, twisting up out of a sandy 3-acre spit of land in southwest Lodi. “Look how this vine is growing here,” says Stuart Spencer, owner of St. Amant Winery. He’s standing in the dirt at nearby Marian’s Vineyard, pointing to a vine with a hole as big as a fist. “The vine just splits over time.”
The wine tasting room at Harmony Wynelands in Lodi was built with a far different purpose. Bob Hartzell, an aficionado of old-fashioned theater pipe organs and former president of the California Winegrape Growers Association, built the hall to house his pride and joy – a 1921 organ that was once installed in the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The room’s acoustics are specially designed to show off the organ’s commanding sound.
Bartenders around the region have provided us with their best bets for holiday cocktails featuring gin, rye and bourbon — spirits that are now being produced locally by craft distillers.
In a makeshift distillery tucked into a Rancho Cordova business park, Greg Baughman mashes and ferments batches of his Wheel House American Dry Gin using a still he designed and built himself, a gleaming vision of stainless steel and copper. But actually sell you a bottle? For that he needs to hire a middleman due to regulatory hurdles dating back to Prohibition.
At the crush pad of a custom-built winery, the 6-foot-4 winemaker in tie-dye socks shuts off the forklift, realizing he missed a call.
“I didn’t hear my phone ring,” says Layne Montgomery, 55, general manager and founding partner of m2 Vintners Inc. in Acampo.
“It’s harvest,” jests one of his volunteers. “Who has time for a phone?”
Sacramento is America’s Farm-to Fork capital for many reasons: fresh, seasonal food available year-round, almost 8,000 acres of boutique farms, and the largest Certified Farmers’ Market in California. Last month, Slow Food Sacramento recognized seven local businesses for their commitment to providing products and services that use regionally grown seasonal produce, honoring them with the Snail of Approval award and decal.
Pick your poison, find a pairing, and let us know your favorite local brewery in the Capital Region.
Despite living near some of the most productive farmland on earth, many Sacramentans are unable to find produce that’s both fresh and affordable in their own neighborhoods.
On hot summer weekends, a 20-barrel brewery west of Winters overflows with patrons. They flood the taproom and crowd around shaded picnic tables, sipping beer while soaking in live music. A few kids play baseball in the gravel lot. Others pull wooden blocks from an oversized Jenga set by the food truck. Some are locals, but many come from Davis, Sacramento and beyond to get a taste of whatever Berryessa Brewing Co. has on tap for the week.
Todo un poco means “a little bit of everything,” and that’s exactly how co-owner Marie Mertz describes her strategy. She runs the bistro’s operations, cooks, builds menus, chooses the daily specials, buys fresh produce, trains staff, handles community relations and hand-selects her wines. She’s proud of being in business for so many years, but “who’s counting when you’re having fun?” she says.
It was a question they’d asked themselves time and again. Could Placerville support fine dining? Surely, they thought, the market for their envisioned eatery, The Independent Restaurant and Bar, must exist.
The whole DIY video tutorial trend might be good if you want to concoct a hair conditioner with condiments, practice putting on lipstick with crayons or make pencils float in midair. But if you’re trying to brew your own beer at home, you’re going to need a bit more than a six-minute YouTube clip.
Our local coffee roasters have been putting Sacramento’s coffee scene on the map. While roastery fame is an exciting addition to our Farm-to-Fork movement, it’s not the only way our local cafes are having a positive impact on our city. They also help…
“Eat local.” You’ve heard the phrase a billion times. It’s the guiding principle of the farm-to-fork movement, nudging us away from the Industrial Food Complex and toward our neighborhood farms. But there’s something even more local than a ranch down the road: the orange tree in your front yard.
Thousands of pounds of urban produce are growing on trees and bushes all around you, and if you know where to look, you can gather enough fruits and vegetables to stock a food bank, plan a dinner menu and can a dozen jars of organic blackberry preserves.