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We All Love the Bounty of Summer Produce, but Fall in Sacramento Yields Its Own All-Star Lineup of Fruits and Vegetables, Offering a Range of Intense Flavors and Textures. We Asked Some of Our Favorite Restaurant Industry Experts What Autumnal Ingredients They Look Forward to the Most, and Which Local Farms They Source From.

Director of Digital Marketing, Selland Family Restaurants
Last Bite: My favorite fall produce is really an end-ofsummer selection: last-of-theseason local heirloom tomatoes. They are so good in September! We tend to get our summer tomatoes from Watanabe Farms, and get our end-of-the-season beauties from Patrick's Garden in Placerville.

Read more: Local Restaurant Industry Experts on Autumnal Ingredients and What Farms They Source From


sweet peppers

The most popular and most familiar sweet peppers in the United States are bell peppers.

We tend to think of peppers as a summer vegetable but it is really fall—when the evenings and mornings are cooler and the days a little shorter—when the sweet peppers take over the market stalls in all their colorful glory.

All sweet peppers start out green. When they are green they are immature, but edible, as we all know, but as they mature they become red, yellow, orange, purple, "chocolate," even white, depending upon the variety, and also become much sweeter. The most popular and most familiar sweet peppers in the United States are bell peppers. A key element of the bell pepper is that it does not produce capsaicin, the compound responsible for heat in all the other peppers in the Capsicum genus.

Read more: Sweet Peppers: Savor ’em, Stuff ’em, Celebrate ’em

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The organizations came together with a vision to ensure that EVERY fork gets to transport healthy, good quality foods to every mouth.

What happens when we combine the determination of the food justice movement with the resilience of people who fight for the rights of the hungry and homeless? We get a coalition called Farm to Every Fork (F2EF). The organizations behind this coalition came together with a passionate vision to ensure that EVERY fork gets to transport healthy, good quality foods to every mouth. Period.

Farm to Every Fork is embodied by Slow Food Sacramento; Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee (SHOC); Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services; River City Food Bank; Food Not Bombs; and several local urban farms. F2EF strives to acknowledge, support and spread awareness about the importance of food equality to ensure everyone has an opportunity to lead healthy lives.

Read more: Farm to Every Fork: Work Together to Bring Everyone to the Table


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The turning of honey processed coffee under a solar dryer.

I'd wager that many people don't realize how much coffees differ. Besides being produced in different countries and regions there are different levels and ultimately different tastes in the cup.

 Coffee is grown in the Equatorial range between the Tropics of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. It needs elevation, rainfall and sunlight, shade trees and breezes, a nutritious soil and careful pruning to be produced well.

Read more: Commodity VS. Specialty Coffee


Early fall is the crossover season. Summer fruits and vegetables are still available, such as tomatoes, eggplant and stone fruits. At the same time the seasonal hallmarks of fall begin to appear, such as apples, persimmons and quince. It's the time of year when peppers are at their sweetest, when grapes of all kinds become available and pumpkins start to show themselves in the markets. These recipes—some from my books, others from my personal collection—reflect the cooling days of the crossover season, when everything seems possible in the kitchen.


oak park epicenter 1Is it plausible that the epicenter of our local food movement is in Oak Park? If you pull back the layers and look deep into the soul of that neighborhood, you'll find an inspiring and rising current of change and possibility.

Step into a local elementary school, and you'll find kindergarteners cooking with vegetables during an after-school food literacy program. Walk past a local high school, and you'll find a bustling school garden. Peek into a backyard, and you'll find a child's playhouse equipped with a rooftop backyard garden. Even the local food bank boasts a thriving vegetable plot tucked behind wrought iron bars.

Oak Park, Sacramento's first suburb, is a scene of collaboration, change and surprisingly delicious food. In many ways, the food itself is driving the improvements.

Oak Park was once known for violence, drugs and prostitution. In 2007, a grant called Weed and Seed invested funding to improve the area. Based on dialog with residents, existing nonprofits like NeighborWorks invested those funds in food. They created the Oak Park Farmers Market and garden crop swaps.

Meanwhile, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services was turning the idea of food banking on its head. Instead of asking hungry people to come to them, they began a series of mobile food distributions, reaching deep into this community to bring food where it was needed most.

Food. It's fundamental to a healthy life. Imagine living in a world where a majority of residents are hungry. Imagine a neighborhood where the nearest store sells only junk food and liquor rather than produce and groceries. This sort of neighborhood is known as a "food desert."

Read more: Oak Park: Epicenter of the Food Movement


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The value of "farm to fork" (meaning a local, seasonal food economy with few intermediaries between farmer and diner) is supported by three main arguments:

1 The culinary argument is that local produce, harvested at the peak of ripeness when it is fragrant, delicious and fragile, will always be superior to produce shipped from a distance, which has to be harvested at an immature stage in order to survive the rigors of long-distance travel.

2 The argument of community solidarity emphasizes the social and economic connections between farmer and diner, which build a strong community and contribute to food security and political independence.

3 And the topographic argument describes the increased rootedness and sense of place, as well as the heightened awareness of seasonality, that come from a local food economy.

Read more: Farm-to-Fork and the Real Cost of Food


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Denpasar, Capital of Bali

My trip to Bali began with missing my flight. Once on the plane, even if two days late, I set about soaking in every bit of food culture I could, beginning with the food on the Singapore Airlines flight originating in San Francisco.


I perused the dinner menu. It had Indian vegetarian, Korean or Western options. I was sorely tempted by the Korean Style Grilled Eel but instead chose Braised Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes. It sounded bland enough to ensure no queasiness during the 20-plus hour flight.

Read more: A Taste of Denpasar, Bali


clarksburg chenin blanc 1

The Farm to Fork movement in the greater Sacramento area has focused attention on local food production and consumption. This emphasis on products that end up in a kitchen and on a plate is important, but it would be remiss to overlook that which ends up in a wineglass. With over 200 wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms within an hour's drive of the city, no discussion of Farm to Fork would be truly complete without consideration of the region's wine grape crops.

The spirit of the movement supports the cultivation of agricultural crops that are appropriate for, and are successfully grown within our area, and this is certainly applicable to many grape varieties.

Read more: Clarksburg Chenin Blanc: Journey from Grape to Glass




farm to fork many voices

The City of Sacramento declared itself the Farm-to-Fork Capital of America in 2012. Since then, food has taken over the city. Streets and bridges that once held cars have been temporarily transformed to hold cows and dinner parties. Everything from bowling alleys to coffee shops has embraced the "local food" mantra.

Sacramentans have embraced their inner farm-to-fork. The way they choose to express it varies widely depending on who's cooking the food and who's eating.

Read more: Farm-to-Fork In Many Voices