Fresh, local feasts

“COOKING IS AN ART. CAREFUL SHOPPING, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need,” summed up the late British celebrity cook Keith Floyd. “There is one more thing — love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things, you can be an artist.”

In the foothills and Truckee-Tahoe, the possibilities abound for preparing a fresh, local feast for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s. We are blessed with local farmers and ranchers, farmers markets, a growing number of artisan food makers, and stores that feature local produce and meats. Here are some suggestions for finding the ingredients and preparing a fresh, local feast:

“They’re only for summer,” you might think. Not so. The Foothill Farmers’ Market in Auburn is open year-round on Saturdays at the Old Town Courthouse parking lot, on Auburn-Folsom Rd. at Lincoln Way.

The Nevada City Farmers Market, and the Nevada County Certified Growers’ Market are both open Saturdays until November 21.,

“The Patch,” the biggest organic market in the foothills, is a one-stop shop for local, organic produce as well as beef, venison, poultry and seafood. Vegetarian and vegan items also are widely available. After two years of research into options for the store’s future, BriarPatch decided that the market will remain at its current location.
290 Sierra College Dr., GV, 530-272-5333

Owner-rancher Jim Gates’ filet mignons are a favorite for holiday dining. This time of year, the stew meat, short ribs and soup bones make for a gourmet comfort food meal. Gates’ beef is available at BriarPatch, SPD Markets and at the ranch.

This store and deli features all things “PlacerGrown.” Gourmet gift boxes for the holidays. Owner Jan Thompson’s great, great grandfather farmed in Placer County, and Jan and her husband, Francis, continue the tradition with Twin Brooks Farm.
9230 Cypress St., Newcastle, 916-663-2016

Proprietor and cheese expert Mary Dedrick offers the highest quality cheeses from throughout the world, along with salami, olives, crackers, and a variety of other specialty food items. Dedrick’s is based in Placerville, but it has other satellite loca- tions at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley, The Pour House Wine Shop in Truckee, and Obexer’s Market and Dart Beverages in Lake Tahoe, among other locations. It also sells cheese at the local farmers markets.

Based on Tahoe’s North Shore, it offers fresh, local, organic produce and dairy, along with a gourmet deli, daily soup menu, juice bar, exceptional selection of beer and wine and more. Their trucks go direct from local farms to the market throughout the week.
8487 N. Lake Blvd.,Kings Beach, 530-546-8344

Owner Theresa Huck makes artisan crackers, spice blends and baking mixes, with organic, non- GMO ingredients in plastic-free packaging. The crackers are sold at Tess’ Kitchen Store, BriarPatch, New Moon Natural Foods in Truckee and Tahoe City, Gaia’s Basket in Auburn and Newcastle Produce, among other locations.

The cheese shop in Nevada City offers artisan cheeses, including Cowgirl Creamery from Petaluma and imported varieties from Europe, and it will soon begin making its own soft-ripened cheeses. It also sells crackers from Huck’s Hollow Farm, Cello Chocolate and other local artisan foods.
209 Commercial St., Nevada City 530-478-1665

“A party without cake is just a meeting,” —Julia Childs
Grass Valley is home to two of the region’s best bakeries: Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli ( and Emily’s Catering & Cakes (, each with their own specialties. Their cakes and desserts are made in-house, using fresh ingredients.

In Nevada City, Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co.’s pastries, cakes, pies, scones, muffins, and cookies are baked from scratch with organic flour, butter, eggs and sugar.

(Photo: John Edwards)

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