BY ANN M. EVANS

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Almost every city worthy of the title "culinary destination" has a chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier (LDEI), an organization of professional women leaders in the food, beverage and hospitality industry. Why not Sacramento, the farm-to-fork capital of the nation? Elaine Corn, reporter at large for Capital Public Radio, former food editor for the Sacramento Bee and a long time member of LDEI San Francisco, decided it was time. Sacramento had become a culinary force.

Read more: Sacramento's Culinary Women

BY AMBER K. STOTT

 

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Darrell Corti, owner of beloved grocery store Corti Brothers, is world-renowned for his knowledge of wine and food. While his reputation places him on a very tall pedestal in the food world, he's actually a true blue Sacramentan at heart, a practical guy, a home cook and purveyor of quality products that help everyday folks shine in their own kitchens.

When it comes to tradition and to holidays, Corti's approach blends his love of history with a realist's simplicity. These are his tips.

Read more: Holiday Food Traditions from Darrel Corti

By Joan Cusick

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At the end of a white-knuckled drive on County Road 144 in Clarksburg, Bogle Winery offers a welcome respite from the twists and turns of the outside world. It's peaceful here: lush and welcoming.

If there's any doubt about what makes Bogle different, it's spelled out in foot-high letters on the tasting room wall: FAMILY. But that word is much more than a slogan. It's a way of life for three Bogle siblings who will oversee the farm-to-table production of an estimated 2.5 million cases of wine this year.

Read more: Bogle Winery: The Label’s Roots Run Six Generations Deep—So Far

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOAN CUSICK

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Early morning harvest at Soil Born Farms' American River Ranch.


Shawn Harrison is a man on a food mission. If you ask the co-founder of Soil Born Farms about the nonprofit's purpose, you'll get a history lesson and personal vision all rolled into one.

Read more: Envisioning an Edible City: Soil Born Farms Connects Community to Food

BY JOAN CUSICK / PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOAN CUSICK

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The new recipe for success at the all-American lemonade stand is sustainable, charitable and all organic.

For 9-year-old twins Connor and Ryan Gerome, "sustainable" started with the stand itself. With the help of their mother, Michelle, they gathered recycled wood from a construction project and turned it into a bright yellow attention-getter.

Read more: Squeeze Play: A New Generation Makes its (lemonade) Stand

BY AMBER K. STOTT

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Illustration: Hayley Doshay


Mention the word "water" in California right now, and you're asking for heated opinions. Nearly every aspect of our thirsty lives depends on the ever-limited liquid, from the trees we grow to shade our homes to the dishwasher that runs at our favorite restaurant. The biggest use of water comes from our everyday diets.

When it comes to saving water through our food choices, there are a number of factors to consider. On a scale of human priorities, water itself demands attention along with factors such as nutrition and jobs. If we consider the absolute best use of our precious water resources, these issues should be measured together—and they often point to a diet that includes more veggies.

Read more: The Drought-Tolerant Diet: How Eating Your Veggies Positively Impacts Health, Environment & Economy

BY MIKE MADISON

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Illustration by Annie Tsou

It happens every year. I go out to the greenhouse to check on my seedlings, and in the seedling flats I find rows of tiny excavations where the seeds had been. A mouse has been in the greenhouse, digging up the seeds.

The mouse doesn't bother with the tiny seeds, like tomatoes or onions or snapdragons; she goes for the bigger seeds—squash, cucumbers and melons. Some of the hybrid melon seeds that I grow are outrageously expensive, and the mouse's humble meal costs me more than dinner for two at Chez Panisse. And so the situation demands action, and in the past that action has been to set mousetraps.

Read more: Mice in the Greenhouse

BY DIANE NELSON / PHOTOGRAPHY BY KASSIE BORRESON

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Ten large, shiny tanks stand near the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis, holding more than a year of rainwater and the key to processing food and drink during a drought. The water tanks, and the teaching-and-research winery they support, are showing students and winemakers throughout the world how to reduce processing costs, improve wine quality and protect the planet's dwindling natural resources.

Read more: Environmental Winemaking 101: UC Davis Demonstrates Model for Sustainable, World-Class Wine

BY MARK ERIC LARSON

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Danna Cao, an instructor and Chinese tea expert at the Confucius Institute at UC Davis, is quick to note that tea drinking is on a big upswing in the United States. And loose-leaf Chinese tea is a big part of the trend.

"I cover all different categories of tea," she says. And while it's getting more popular in this country, she adds, tea drinking is already big everywhere else. "It is the second-most-consumed beverage worldwide, after water."

Read more: Confucian Wisdom: Tea Nourishes the Mind, Body & Soul

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN DONAHUE

"The people I love to work with are the great storytellers: the restaurants that are having so much fun with it. They're not taking themselves too seriously, they're confident and they are making their food about beauty, texture, brightness, freshness and a celebration of market-driven ingredients."

Read more: De Vine Inspiration: Seasonal Ingredients as Cocktail Mixers

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