When the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau declared Sacramento as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital in 2012, the region exploded with ideas and events. The Farm-to-Fork Festival will take place on Sept. 26, but Sacramentans have embraced the farm-to-fork identity with their own activities beyond SCVB’s planned events. Here’s the beat on six unique events that will get you out of traditional city spaces for a combination of farm and urban culinary experiences, beginning in Farm-to-Fork Month and extending into the fall harvest season.
Gather, Sept. 10
Once a month, Oak Park lights up under the twinkle and whirl of Gather, a pop-up street festival produced by Maritza and Roshaun Davis of Unseen Heroes. The family-friendly affair hums with live music, food trucks, local crafts, activity vendors and a long community table at which to gather. This is an outdoor event with strong street credibility, known for attracting local Sacramentans with over 1,000 attendees at a time. The organizers sum it well: “Inspired by warm California nights, Gather is a take on a city block as a dining table.”
Farm to Every Fork, Sept. 12
In a community where over 200,000 residents don’t have enough food, Slow Food Sacramento wants to celebrate Farm-to-Fork Month with a culinary event that benefits some of Sacramento’s hungriest. Not only do proceeds from the dinner benefit anti-hunger organizations like River City Food Bank and Loaves and Fishes, but tickets pay for two seats: one for you and one for someone experiencing hunger. The two tickets cost $150.
The event is designed to build conversation while breaking bread, allowing for shared stories and experiences that send guests home with a better understanding of the hunger problem in our region.
Fair Oaks Chicken Festival, Sept. 19
Here’s something to crow about — Old Fair Oaks, known for its free-roaming chickens, holds its 10th annual fowl-friendly festival. Start the day with an old-fashioned pancake breakfast, then enjoy live music, craft beer, vendors hawking chicken-inspired wares and more. There’s also a pre-festival BBQ & Egg Dance. Cost of all this feathery frivolity? Free. That’s nothing to peck at.
Urban Farm-to-Fork Dinner, Sept. 20
In 2012, when Sacramento first declared itself as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, urban farmers Judith and Chanowk Yisrael threw a party at their Yisrael Family Farm in south Oak Park, where the couple has a plentiful garden, fruit orchard, chickens and bees. They describe the area as a “forgotten neighborhood” and hope to remind attendees of the rich bounty tucked away behind chain link fences in their corner of Sacramento.
“We want to bring the farm-to-fork movement to the food deserts in Sacramento, where hunger is a reality and access to healthy food is minimal,” says Judith Yisrael.
This year, guests can expect live music, garden tours and a family-style Ethiopian meal. Ticket prices have yet to be determined, so keep an eye on their website for future details.
Hoes Down Harvest Festival, Oct. 3-4
The Hoes Down Harvest Festival will feature music, dancing and camping at Full Belly Farm, where live music will be featured on two stages. The 2-day affair will offer organic food, including grilled lamb, falafel, burritos, gourmet pizza and artisan ice cream. Those ready to learn can experience hands-on agricultural workshops about sheep-shearing, handling farm equipment, growing herbs and flowers, and a range of farmer-friendly classes — some are even taught in Spanish. They also offer yoga and an all-day farmers market showcasing the local harvest and crafts.
Folks who want to stay for the whole weekend can camp for $25 without an advance reservation. Otherwise, tickets for adults are $25 at the gate or $20 in advance online. Kids tickets are $5.
Stick a Fork In It, Oct. 8-11
Urban farmers and avid cyclists Dawnie Andrak and Tim Bailey of Two Hearts Productions are sharing the farm-to-fork experience from the seat of a two-wheeler. The two are bike and food tourists hoping to recreate the fun of their travels in their hometown. Stick a Fork In It is a 4-day bike ride packed with music, farms and a lot of Sacramento flavor.
Andrak believes Sacramento provides the perfect recipe for cycling tourists: great food, gorgeous scenery and approachable terrain. Each day of the tour features a trip that starts and ends in Sacramento with destinations ranging from the Delta to a West Sacramento farm to the American River Parkway. Ticket fees include breakfast, lunch, rest stop libations, swag bags featuring local restaurants and producers, entrance to an Oktoberfest event with live music from Mumbo Gumbo and a dinner event highlighting local cuisine.
“This is a celebration of the bounty of the region. Cycling is a wonderful way to be able to see it,” says Andrak.
Tickets for the 4-day event go on sale for $525 on August 15 through the company’s website, and the event is limited to 300 riders.