Sierra Foothills’ food & wine featured at State Fair

A THEME FOR THIS YEAR’S CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR, from July 11-27 at Cal Expo in Sacramento is “From our Farm to Your Table.” It draws 700,000 people annually, more visitors than most professional sports teams attract in an entire season.

Nowhere is the counties’ exhibit theme more appropriate than for our region. We offer an abundance of fresh, local produce from dozens of small farms around Nevada City, Grass Valley, Auburn, Loomis and Newcastle. Truckee is served by some in Plumas County, such as Sierra Valley Farms, as well as ones in the foothills.

The fresh, local fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry and eggs are sold at farmers markets: Foothill Farmers Market, Jardin del Rio in South Nevada County, the Nevada County Certified Growers Market, Grass Valley Thursday Night Market and the Nevada City Farmers Market, among others.

“When summer produce hits the stands, suddenly we’re devouring all the flavors we’ve missed during the cooler months,” says Jan Thompson, owner of Newcastle Produce and Twin Brooks Farm. “We are savoring local peaches, plums, pluots, cherries, berries and apricots, along with tomatoes and beans.”

Besides farmers markets, our region also has farm stands such as Ikedas and Machado Orchards in Auburn, and Bierwagen’s Donner Trail Fruit in Chicago Park.

BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley, Newcastle Produce, New Earth Market in Yuba City and Tahoe Central Market in Kings Beach all specialize in fresh, local produce and meats.

Some farms, such as Mountain Bounty Farm, Sweet Roots Farm and Greg’s Organics, also offer weekly CSA’s (or “veggies in a box”).

Food & Wine in South Nevada County
Last summer, we wrote about Jardin del Rio farmers market and Sierra Knolls’ Bear River Tasting Room in South Nevada County as an emerging food and wine destination.

This pair, just off Hwy. 49 near the Bear River, continues to grow. Jardin del Rio (Garden of the River) is open Saturdays and Sundays, offering fresh veggies and tree-ripened fruit.

Bear River Tasting Room now has a shaded outdoor pavilion, along with picnic benches. It has more frequent live music (such as a tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel on July 26), and its popular wood-fired pizza oven is cranked up on most Fridays.

Jardin del Rio’s award-winning produce includes fresh tomatoes (70 varieties), eggplants, (11 kinds), melons (20 kinds), zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, corn, homemade pickled goods and more. The market also offers fresh eggs and raw, unfiltered honey.

The atmosphere at Jardin del Rio and the Bear River Wine Tasting Room encourages a sense of community.

Farm-to-Table Dinners
Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli is planning a Harvest Festival on Sept. 13. The four-course meal features local organic produce, exceptional cuisine, organic wine and music by Motoshi Kosako. Featured farms include Riverhill Farm, Boxcar Farm, Woolman Farm and James Ranch.

Nevada City also plans to host its annual farm-to-table banquet Aug. 10 on Commercial Street in the historic district. It drew 100 guests last year. An eight-piece band will perform.

Local Farmers Markets

FOOTHILL FARMERS MARKET
has a dozen markets including: Saturday Auburn (Courthouse) and Rocklin Sunday Granite Bay
Tuesday Roseville, Truckee Regional Park and Kings Beach in Lake Tahoe␣ Wednesday Auburn (DeWitt Center) and Foresthill
Thursday Folsom, Tahoe City, Downtown Truckee FoothillFarmersMarket.com

GRASS VALLEY THURSDAY NIGHT MARKET
Thursdays through Aug. 14, 6-9 p.m. in historic downtown Grass Valley. HistoricGrassValley.com

NEVADA CITY FARMERS MARKET
Saturdays 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Union St. in historic downtown. NCFarmersMarket.org

NEVADA COUNTY CERTIFIED GROWERS MARKET
Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. North Star House, Grass Valley␣ Tuesdays 2-5:30 p.m. Eric Rood Administrative Center, Nevada City TheGrowersMarket.com

(Photo: Greg’s Organics tomatoes by Akim Aginsky)

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