While the debate about whether Sacramento should be crowned the “City of Trees” or “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” hasn’t blown over yet, one thing is clear: Locals will come in droves to celebrate the area’s deep-rooted history in agriculture and food.
This year’s Farm-to-Fork Festival demonstrated that notion, with event planners estimating late Saturday that crowds likely reached about 60,000 to 65,000 people, possibly more.
It’s the fifth year that festival has been offered, taking place on Capitol Mall between Third and Eighth streets, and organized by Visit Sacramento.
“In the last few years, people have taken note of what is coming out of the region,” said Kari Miskit, a spokeswoman for Visit Sacramento. “It’s been really great to see how the response has grown every year. The event grows more and more.”
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It’s been really great to see how the response has grown ever year. The event grows more and more.
Kari Miskit, Visit Sacramento spokeswoman
If you wanted to attend the festival but couldn’t, or just didn’t hear about it until it was too late, here’s what you missed:
Most to give
There was a lot of free food and raffles. Nugget Market, headquartered in Woodland, took the cake, however. The grocer had one of the biggest booths at the event and offered a huge selection of free food, including deli items and samples from their catering menu.
Blue Diamond, the Sacramento-based company that’s nuts about almonds, also came prepared, offering an array of free food. Snacks included smoothies, an almond-sprinkled key lime pie and a creamy polenta, dishes all made using the company’s almond milk.
The best deal
Farm-to-Fork attendees were treated to a taste of regional wines at the festival’s Wine Pavilion, where five samples cost a mere $10.
That included a fruity chardonnay from Placerville’s Lava Cap Winery. Danny Mantle, who works as a sales director for the winery, said the grapes are harvested at a high elevation, conditions that benefit the grapes by keeping them under plenty of sunshine during the day but cool during the night.
A jalapeño-infused pear cider from Hemly Cider, which is based out of Courtland, was also among the selections available. Sarah Hemley said she’s been making the cider for close to three years, taking inspiration from her husband’s family, which has been in the pear-farming business for six generations. The pears, and the jalapeños, are grown on their farms.
Wine tasting for $10? Take that, Napa.
The longest lines
For some, a long line is an unwanted inconvenience. For others, the number of people waiting to buy something is a measure of how amazing a restaurant or store will be. This year’s Farm-to-Fork Festival had no shortages of long lines, though two vendors stood out. The first was at the Chando’s Tacos food truck, where a row running close to 50 people deep stretched along a portion of Capitol Mall between Third and Fourth Streets. The Sacramento-area restaurateur is known for serving authentic Tijuana-style Mexican cuisine.
“No matter where you go, whether it’s the food truck or it’s the restaurant, the food is always good,” said James O’Mary, who waited in line for more than 15 minutes before ordering his plate.
Lines were just as long at the festival’s beer stands, where a mix of brand-name beers and local brews flowed throughout the day – for a price. The festival included brews from local vendors like Sacramento’s Track 7, which served up their Left Eye, Right Eye, a hoppy double IPA. Device Brewing Co., also from Sacramento, offered its Kid Casual Blond Ale.
A cold beer and a pair of spicy adobada tacos is a duo that just can’t be beat, apparently.