Summer has arrived and farmers markets are bursting with freshly picked produce. Blackberries and apricots drip with juice. Cucumbers and corn are dressed in bright greens and yellows. To top it all off are tomatoes: cherry, beefsteak, green zebras, even Mr. Stripey heirlooms.
Many local farmers are vendors at neighborhood farmers markets and sell their tomato varieties throughout the year. The popularity of tomatoes runs deep in local history. For decades over the past century, at least five canneries operated in Sacramento.
With a filled stamp card from The Upper Crust Baking Company, I happily make my way to the Certified Farmers Market under the W/X Freeway. It’s a bright Sunday morning and I’m eager for a fresh loaf of birdseed bread. But when I turn the corner along Southside Park, I don’t see the cars, vendor umbrellas or usual market bustle. It’s empty. Confused, disappointed and breadless, I turn around to walk home.
Had I ventured further under the Highway 50 overpass, I would have found the answer: Posters taped to concrete pillars explained where the market went. A 10-month construction project forced the weekly Certified Farmers Market to temporarily relocate. The market will be in the parking lot of Arden Fair Mall behind Sears until December.
Conscious Creamery has been mixing up scrumptious, small-batch gelato by hand since 2016. The business operated out of a commercial kitchen, but now the vegan treat shop has a storefront in Oak Park.
For owners Andrea and Kevin Seppinni, choosing the location at 3400 Broadway was like waiting for the perfect pint of cookies and cream. Says Andrea, “We’re thrilled to be opening there specifically. It just feels right and we’ve been welcomed so far. It feels like home to me.”
Few things beat picking a ripe tomato from the backyard or biting into a juicy pear from your own fruit tree. But for those without time or space for their own gardens, the next best thing is Community Supported Agriculture.
CSA is a partnership between a farm and a group of subscribing members, and creates a relationship between the production and consumption of farmed food. Members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season and purchase a share of the harvest, which is usually delivered weekly to a convenient drop location.
The “grass-fed beef” label may inspire scenes of happy cows roaming across open pastures while grazing on lush green grasses. But with complicated food labeling and misuse of definitions, that may not always be the truth.
SunFed Ranch was co-founded by ranchers Chris Donati and Matt Byrne. Based in Woodland, SunFed Ranch produces hormone-free, grass-fed beef on multiple ranches across Northern California.
Byrne points out some labels on beef are misleading, so it’s important to trust the brand and understand what the labels mean. Labels may indicate the product is organic, but what does that mean for the life and health of the animal?
Food and nutrition insecurity are ongoing struggles for millions in California, including those living in Sacramento. In the highest agriculture-producing state, some local groups and government agencies have created ways to distribute freshly farmed food to families in need.
The Food Literacy Center is a Sacramento nonprofit whose mission is to inspire kids to eat their vegetables. Through its distribution of Veggie STEM Boxes, the center provides families facing food insecurity with meals that are accessible and healthy, while teaching kids about science and math through cooking.