What makes Sacramento America's Farm-to-Fork Capital? A year-round growing season and ideal climate for more than 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches growing over 160 crops! This bounteous region offers several ways for families and kids to dig into all this farm-to-fork fun - and the time is ripe since September is the Farm-to-Fork Festival.
1. Celebrate the region at the seventh annual Farm-to-Fork Street Festival. Sacramento’s agricultural and culinary notoriety is recognized each September with several celebrations. The largest and most popular celebration by far is the Farm-to-Fork Street Festival – a free family-friendly event held on Capital Mall downtown. The festival allows attendees direct access to farmers, ranchers, grocers, food distributors, restaurateurs, and more. In addition to fabulous food, attendees will enjoy great music with six bands as well as interactive cooking demos on multiple stages. For kids, activities include the ever-popular petting zoo, face painting, a Sacramento Kings activation area for kids to practice their game, photo ops with a giant Kings basketball, and a Sutter Health passport to help encourage kids to visit different booths and vendors.
2. Visit a Farmers Market. One of the best ways to teach your children about farm-to-fork and healthy eating is by visiting a farmers market. With 14 Certified Farmers Markets in the Sacramento region, families can easily find a market in their neighborhood. This is a great way to involve your kids in the shopping process while also teaching them what is grown and available right in their backyard. The kiddos will love helping pick out the fresh produce that will go into their dinner later in the day while talking with the very farmers who cultivate the food.
3. Celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday at nearby Apple Hill. Just a few miles east of Sacramento near historic Placerville lies a farm-to-fork wonderland. More than 50 family-owned farms make up the Apple Hill Growers – a conglomerate of orchards, vineyards, flower gardens, pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms. Each fall – from Labor Day through Christmas, Apple Hill showcases its best. Be sure to head up the hill the third weekend in September to celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday at participating farms. Specifically, Delfino Farms (formerly Kids Inc.).
4. Visit a farm. While there are more farms to visit than one can count in the Sacramento region, there are a few standouts that cater to families and kids. Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture & Education Project is a nonprofit farm whose goal is to help cityfolk connect with their food. Check out Soil Born Farms’ website to see all the events, activities and programs your family can be involved in. Another family-friendly farm is Vierra Farms in West Sacramento, also home to Dave’s Pumpkin Patch. Enjoy a farm-fresh dinner on the first Friday in October with all produce sourced just steps away. Make sure to stay for family movie night after dinner (also offered on Saturday nights).
5. Take a leisurely drive along the Sacramento River Delta. Remember back in the day when taking a drive was an activity? Well, in the this fast-paced, digitally distracting world, taking a drive is just what is needed in order to catch a breath these days. The perfect route for doing this is along the Sacramento River Delta. Buckle the kids in the car and leave electronic devices at home if you really want to enjoy the delta. Along the hundreds of miles of roads between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay, you’ll find winding levees, tiny islands, marshland, quaint historic towns, and plenty of farms, orchards, ranches and wineries. Check out the official Delta Grown Farm & Winery Trail for your guide to exploring the delta.
6. Visit the California Museum. Did you know that your kids can learn about healthy eating at the California Museum? That’s right. One of the museum’s signature exhibits is Health Happens Here – an interactive exhibit that helps kids learn all the ways and places “health happens” in California, including how where you live affects your health, and what different communities around the state are doing to improve the health of residents. Check out the museum website for more information.
7. Get cooking! Last, but not least, enjoy the region’s scrumptious bounty without leaving your house. Simply head over to the website of Sacramento-based Food Literacy Center for some great recipes to try with your kids. The site has a special cooking with kids section where you’ll find recipes ranging from pizza dough to berry muffins to “Rainbow Soup.” There’s even a date cocoa-nut candy recipe that looks very intriguing. Click here for the full library of recipes.