A new generation of food shops is emerging across the West with an old-fashioned focus on local, artisanal food, but at Taylor's Market in Sacramento, this approach has been a tradition for 50 years now.
That's why the Land Park institution takes its place alongside brash newcomers in Sunset magazine's list of the 50 best food stores from New Mexico to Montana, from Arizona to Hawaii.
"We love Taylor's for what they've been doing for a long time. They teach butchering classes, and they locally source their food," said Christine Ciarmello, Sunset's deputy editor.
Store manager Dave Hunter estimates that 30 to 40 percent of Taylor's food comes from local sources. Its thick-cut, crunchy sauerkraut and "local legend Pasta Dave's fresh noodles" got Sunset's notice.
Speaking of Dave Brochier, he'll be teaching an Oct. 15 class at Taylor's on the secrets of making orecchiette, a pasta typical of southern Italy. Learn more at www.taylorsmarket.com.
Ciarmello said independent stores such as Taylor's are just the right size for local artisans such as Brochier because they don't have to try to supply a massive chain and they find a clientele willing to pay more to get food from someone they know.
"There's just this growing need now by people to know where everything comes from," she said, "and typically what's happened is that you had to wait until Saturday to go to the farmers market. Now these new grocers are opening, and they're kind of like farmers markets, except that you can go to them all the time."
The Sunset article, which appears online and in this month's print edition, names butchers, bakeries, charcuteries, cheesemongers, fishmongers and grocers. The magazine, distributed in 13 states, goes to 1.25 million subscribers.
He's all show
Mike Stone has been bitten by dogs so many times that he's lost count. Nonetheless, you'll find him this weekend surrounded by more than 1,000 well-pedigreed pooches at the Donner Trail Kennel Club Dog Show in Roseville.
Dog owners nationwide seek out the 55-year-old Granite Bay resident, but not as a chew toy.
No, it's because Stone, a professional dog handler, doesn't have enough teeth to count the number of national champions he's shown or top-ranked dogs he's campaigned over a career that spans about four decades.
"I do 75 or 70 shows a year," Stone said, "but most of those shows are within four hours of home. There was a point in time in my life where I would travel all around the country."
Dog handlers of Stone's stature can earn $75 to $100 each time their client goes into the ring, and they may show anywhere from 10 to 20 dogs in a show. Stone has shown Weimaraners, Dalmatians, pugs, whippets, Afghan hounds, American foxhounds, Alaskan malamutes, basset hounds, Australian silky terriers, greyhounds, German short-haired pointers, golden retrievers, and more. He's been interviewed on Animal Planet, and before he cut back to 75 dog shows, he estimates that he traveled as many 30,000 to 40,000 miles in a year.
Stone also owns the Granite Bay Kennels with his partner Alisa Syar, and they breed Alaskan malamutes. This week, he's showing Blossomhill's Hello Dolly at the Basset Hound Nationals outside Boston, but he'll return Friday, just in time for the Donner Trail event from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It's free, by the way, at the Placer County Fairgrounds.