Sacramento Area Farmers Markets

If you talk to a Sacramentan for more than a few minutes, one of the things that you’ll discover very quickly is our obsession with our famer’s markets. We are beyond lucky to have so many to choose from, all over the city and surrounding areas, with many of them being year round. Positioned between two rivers, the Sacramento has always been a rich agricultural region.

Eating field to table has become a way of life here because of the close proximity to fresh, inexpensive, seasonal produce but beyond our dinner tables, farming has also sustained many of our families financially. My own grandmother used to travel from Placerville, via Folsom Blvd before Highway 50 existed, when she was a teenager and pick pears in the along the river during the summers.

Although access to local produce is abundant, it also can be overwhelming because there are so many options. I’ve rounded up quite a few (though not all) local farmer’s markets and and a couple of neighborhood farm stands – mostly inside the city but I included a few in the surrounding, more suburban, areas – and listed them below. I’ve even marked the markets that are my personal favorite with an asterisk. These are the markets you can find me at most weeks, especially during the summer when I forgo the grocery store and rely heavily on shopping outdoor markets.

Tuesday:

Roosevelt Park

10:00 AM – 1:30 PM

9th and P Streets

Open May through September

 

Fremont Park*

10:00 AM – 1:30 PM

16th and P Streets

Open May through September and Accepts EBT

 

Roseville Farmer’s Market at the Fountains

8:30 AM – 1 PM

Parking Lot Near West Elm and Whole Foods at The Fountains

Galleria Blvd and Roseville Pkwy

Open All Year

Wednesday:

 

Chavez Park

10:00 AM – 1:30 PM

10th and J Streets

Open May through October and Accepts EBT

Thursday:

 

Capitol Mall

10:00 AM – 1:30 PM

6th and Capitol Mall (between 5th and 6th Streets)

Open May through September

 

Florin Sears Store

8:00 AM – Noon

Florin Road & 65th Street – South Sacramento

Open All Year and Accepts EBT

Saturday:

 

Oak Park Farmers Market*

9 AM – 1:00 PM

McClatchy Park, 35th Street and 5th Avenue

May through October and Accepts EBT

 

Midtown Farmers Market*

8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

20th Street between J and L Streets

Open Year Round and Accepts EBT

 

Davis Farmers Market

8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Central Park

(Davis, CA)

Open Year Round

 

North Natomas Regional Park – NEW MARKET!

8:00 AM- Noon

2501 New Market Drive

Open June 3 – September 16

 

Country Club Plaza

8:00 AM – Noon

Watt and El Camino

(Butano Drive Parking Lot)

Open All Year and Accepts EBT

 

Sunrise Light Rail Station

8:00 AM – Noon

Folsom and Sunrise Blvd.

(Light Rail Parking Lot)

Open All Year and Accepts EBT

 

Laguna Gateway Center

8:00 AM – Noon

Laguna and Big Horn Blvd

(Elk Grove, CA – Front of Dick’s Sporting Goods)

Open All Year and Accepts EBT

Sunday:

 

“Under the Freeway” Market aka The Big One*

8:00 AM – Noon

8th and W Streets, State Parking Lots

Open All Year and Accepts EBT

 

With the farmer’s markets and urban gardening becoming popular, urban farm stands have started popping up, adding to the famer’s market landscape in the Sacramento area. The idea is to simply share the bounty of your garden with neighbors instead of it going to waste.

We’ve all planted zucchini thinking it was all fun and games until harvest and you have bags and bags of squash that you are just begging for people to take. The idea behind urban farm stands is to spread that wealth and encourage community. The city restricts the ability for these stands to charge for their produce but bring something to trade and/or make a monetary donation (that gets reinvested back into the gardens) to the farm stand is highly encouraged.

Below are a few of the local urban farm stands that I know of in our area. Check their social media feeds for more information about when they’re open and what produce they offer seasonally. When they’re open; stop by say hello and support these local urban farmers.

East Sac Farms

56th Street between J and M, Sacramento

Farm Stand Open Tuesdays

Instagram: Kyle @urbanfarmstead and Morgan @dailyflourish

 

Purdy Urban Farm

63rd and Tahoe Way, Sacramento

Farm Stand Open Wednesday

Instagram: @purdy.urban.farm

 

The Yisrael Family Urban Farm

4625 44th Street, Suite 38, Sacramento

Instagram: @yisraelfamilyfarm

Facebook: www.facebook.com/yisraelfarm

ps. If you live in the Sacramento area and know of more neighborhood farm stands that are popping up, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

A guide to find a Farmers Market any day of the week in and around Sacramento.

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Fun, Easy (and Last Minute) Cinco de Mayo Party Tips

Cinco de Mayo always seems to sneak up on me. I usually end up wanting to celebrate but don’t want to put a lot of planning into it because it’s coming off the heals of Easter and spring feels like it’s here in full force with ALL the activities. Over the years I’ve discovered a few last minute tips and tricks to throw together a festive Cinco de Mayo celebration with minimal effort and all the fun.

Look around your house for decor that you most likely already have. Raid you kids musical toys and pull out thinks like maracas for photo props and also to add to the spirit of the party. I grab a basket that I usually use for magazines to corral them.

Create a fast and easy photo booth by draping fabric or outdoor blankets that you might have around the house as your backdrop. I used a colorful fabric from Ikea (above) to create this Photo Booth for less than $30 (fabric was from Ikea a few years ago).

Also, pull out those birthday dinner hats from Chevy’s – we all have one or two!

These signs were made with scrap wood and leftover white paint. If you aren’t feeling up to being crafty, you can totally skip doing something like this.

An easy way to add ambiance and get everyone in the Cinco de Mayo spirit quickly is to chill your favorite Mexican beer and Coca-Cola in outdoor tubs filled with ice. I also attach at bottle opener with twine to the handle of the bucket so there’s always an opener handy.

Brush off a few Ikea lanterns that you have hanging around.

Order take out from your favorite Mexican restaurant, let them do all the work. Or if you insist on doin the cooking yourself keep it super simple. Stick to simple recipes like marinated shrimp that you can grill up super fast on the BBQ.

Carnations will be your best friend for a party like this. You can buy them at your local grocery store, they’re inexpensive, give an instant, bright pop of color and will last for weeks after your party – just change out the water every few days to keep them looking their best. I used festive salsa and enchilada cans that I emptied out (and used for food prep) as vases here.

I’m all for regular plates and silverware and am conscious of my impact on the earth in my daily life but give yourself permission to keep life simple and use disposable plates and cutlery. I’ve seen some great biodegradable options out there, too.

Pick up an extra piñata when you’re at your local Mexican grocery store to use as decor.

Lots and lots of cold fruit sodas equals happy teenagers.

Before a party, I always cut up a lots and lots of limes because they can be used in cocktails, sodas, water, squeezed over shrimp and guacamole. They also are on sale at my market this time a year for 10 for $1, so I can stock up before a party.

Above all else, keep things easy, simple and FUN.

Remember your friends care more about seeing you than a perfect party.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Arugula and Basil Pesto

Spring has officially hit Northern California which means it’s spring dress, sipping rose and grilling outside weather. Last night I was at a loss for dinner. I had just done a Costco run which meant I had the basics but I was tired and wasn’t sure what to make out of what I had. So I started with the spiralizing the zucchini that I needed to use up. I decided to make a quick pesto for the zoodles out of the basil I had in the backyard but after heading out to gather it, I realized I didn’t have as much as I needed so after doing a quick vegetable drawer raid, I decided to substitute the rest of what I needed with arugula. A few whirls in the Vitamix later, I had a easy pesto for my zoodles. I didn’t need all the pesto for the zoodles so I used the rest of it as a  quick marinade for chicken thighs that I had in the fridge and grilled up after letting them marinade for about an hour. I diced up a container of cherry tomatoes and had a perfect colorful spring dinner that came together quickly and easily.

When I make a batch of pesto, I always have extra. Here are a few ways I like to use it up:

My favorite sandwich from a hole in the wall bakery in San Francisco is a grilled fresh mozzarella, tomato and pesto sandwich so that’s always first on my list to make with leftover pesto. You can also swirl a few tablespoons into your ranch dressing (I love this yogurt ranch) for salads and mayonnaise for sandwiches. I also fold it into meatballs and use as a sauce for noodles, diced vegetables, as well as marinade for chicken and fish. Pesto freezes well so I sometimes spoon into ice cube trays and freeze for future use. Note: I have ice cube trays that I use just for savory things like broth, pesto and minced garlic.

Arugula and Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil - washed and spun dry in a salad spinner
  • 2 cups arugula - washed (I buy the bag of preached organic arugula)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 cup olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  • Toss arugula and basil in a blender (or food processor) along with garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil and pine nuts. Blend for about 30 seconds, then with the blender going slowly drizzle in oil until smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of your machine a couple of times until you get the consistency you want. Add the cheese and lemon juice and pulse a few times to incorporate.

Notes

You can substitute walnuts for pine nuts if you don't like pine nuts or don't have them at home. You can also leave out the cheese if you are dairy free.

Lemon isn't a traditional ingredient for pesto but I like to add it for a brightness of flavor and to also to keep the pesto from oxidizing and turning brown.

http://www.caracrowley.com/arugula-basil-pesto/

Arugula & Basil Pesto Recipe

End Of Summer Entertaining

End Of Summer Entertaining

End Of Summer Entertaining

End Of Summer Entertaining

End Of Summer Entertaining

End Of Summer Entertaining

End Of Summer Entertaining
End Of Summer Entertaining

The end of summer is my favorite time to entertain.  The days are warm but the nights have a cool, crip feel to them.  Produce and flowers are straddling the seasons and guests are getting back into the swing of things after the summer season of vacations, weekends away, camping adventures and days by the pool.  The end of summer produce and farmers markets make it easy to create a fresh and light menus that feel like summer but have a comfort food quality to them, like fresh baked pies, herbed goat cheese and heirloom tomatoes crostatas and rustic bean soups loaded with farmers market produce.

My personal favorite time of the evening is when guests linger at the table under white cafe lights and lighted votives while finishing dessert and sipping their last few sips of wine.  It makes me the happiest when my guests are full, happy and are having a great time connecting with others at the table.  It’s my favorite moment and the moment I live for.

End of Summer Entertaining

Giving Your Basic Jeans an Update

Last week when the Boden catalog arrived, I looked through it for a couple of options to update my fall wardrobe.  I saw these boyfriend jeans and marked the page to keep as a possibility to order.  When I went back through my dog eared pages the next day to narrow down the items that I was going to order, I realized that I had already purchased a pair of boyfriend jeans a few days before at Nordstrom Rack for about half the price.  All of a sudden the pair that I had purchased, didn’t look as appealing anymore.  What was wrong with me?  Why did I want these other jeans so badly? I tried to dissect my desire and then realized that I loved the small detail of the navy and white twill ribbon that covered up the seam on the outside cuff.  That’s it.  That’s why I loved them.  Was it worth $78 to get that small detail when I had jeans that fit me perfectly for half that price? Nope, especially because I knew that I could DIY my way to the same look.

I stopped at my local fabric store and quickly found a similar blue and white striped ribbon sold by the yard. The ribbon was $.99/yard and purchased a yard. For this project, I only needed 10″ of ribbon, total. I took the ribbon, jeans and catalog picture with me to my local dry cleaner that also does small alterations and asked her to sew the ribbon to the first 5″ of my cuff so that when I turned the cuff over twice the ribbon would show.

I could have sewn in the ribbon myself but I wanted the it to really be secure and hold up the daily abuse of being worn and laundered.  She charged me just a few dollars for the job and for me it was well worth the money to have the project completed quickly and ribbon securely attached. I love the result and the unexpected detail that the ribbon offers.

Basic Jeans Update

Hydrangea Help

Hydrangea Help

Hydrangea HelpThis spring, I posted photos on Instagram of freshly cut hydrangeas from my garden and received a lot of questions about how to care and grow them.  I originally planted 12 Nico Blue hydrangeas nine years ago in the front garden bed.  At the time the bed was about half the width as it is now and it didn’t have anything but a small palm that I removed when I widened the bed before planting.  I purchased the hydrengeas at Target, back when Target had a garden center, and they had one bloom on a stem per plant with a couple of leaves and cost $2.99 per plant.  At the time I planted these, my front yard was full sun that was a little too intense and the first few years the bushes did get burned but over time the front of my house has become more shaded as the trees around my house have grown in size and I now have more of desirable area for them and they do much better throughout the hot summer months.  In the nine years since I’ve planted them they have grown from one blossom and 8″ high to hundreds of blooms to close to 6 feet tall! Here are my tips for growing hydrangeas ~

  • Water every other day.  Water the roots only, I don’t water the leaves or the blooms as that can set the plant get burnt by the sun.  I flood the front bed with water and let the water seep into the roots of the plant.  I think this might be why my plants have done so well and have grown so tall.
  • When cutting blooms for vases, cut 12″-15″ below the bloom and clip above a leaf cluster and use clippers that are sturdy and made for woodier stems.  Do not use scissors since that will not result in a clean cut.  I clip as many blooms as I like, it doesn’t seem to effect the amount of blooms the next year.
  • In the late fall, you’ll need to tend to and clean up the plants.  Clip off all dead blooms and remove any leaves that may still be on the plant, leaving the bare canes long.  Clean up the base of the plant by removing leaves and debris that may have collected at the root of the plant.   With garden clippers remove canes that are old, dead or diseased.  Don’t clip off all canes, only those that aren’t healthy anymore.
  • After pruning and cleaning up the plants, fertilize with a fertilizer that is specific for hydrangeas and high in acidity.  If the colors of the blooms aren’t the color that you desire, you can change that with the acidity of the soil.

That’s it!  I keep it as simple as I can and it’s paid off with prolific blooms.

How to have beautiful blooming hydrangeas

Peonies

Summer Peonies

Summer Peonies

Summer PeoniesPeonies are my favorite flower and it’s season is coming to an end. I plan on stopping by my local Trader Joe’s tomorrow to pick up my final bunch of the season, I love purchasing my peonies at Trader Joe’s since they tend to be very fresh and affordable.  These are some of the blooms I’ve been lucky enough to have grace my nightstand this season.

My Favorite Place to Buy Peonies

A Few Thanksgiving Shortcuts

Thanksgiving is coming up fast and furious and everyone is buzzing around planning their meals and decor. Here are a few of my favorite things to help you streamline your day so you can spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen or in the dining room getting ready.

Decor

There are so many great free printables around the internet but my favorite are from Caravan Shoppe. They have festive invites and place cards that you can download and print off for FREE. It’s a great way to add organization and a festive feel to your meal. I also love that they have coordinating thank you notes to send out after the holiday.

Food

I always make ahead the cranberry sauce and gravy the day before. It’s a huge time saver and I don’t have to worry about making the gravy while everyone is waiting and the food is getting cold. I use the Barefoot Contessa’s gravy and make a fresh cranberry sauce that couldn’t be easier to make. If you can boil water, you can make cranberry sauce. Both will keep well if you make a day or two ahead of the big day.

Guests

I love using Chinese takeout containers from Smart and Final or Amazon to send your guests home with leftovers without having to part with your beloved tupperware or glass storage containers. If you want to add a little something extra special, you can print off these cute labels from Oh Happy Day, to label your leftovers for an extra special feel. Use full sheeted adhesive labels from your local office supply store to print off the free printable on. I also pick up craft colored or white handled bags, like these, from my local dollar store to use to pack up the takeout containers. It’s nice to be able to hand your tired guests a bag that they can put in the fridge when they get home for the next day, or a midnight snack.

Fun Extras

This mocktail looks delicious and would be a fun drink that you can serve your entire family to get your everyone in a festive mood. This page is full of fun and easy crafts you can set up for the little ones in your life to keep them entertained while the food is cooking and the adults are visiting. Most of the supplies for these crafts can be found at your local supermarket and/or dollar store.

Between posts you can find me on Instagram (caracrowley) sharing highlights of daily life

(image credit)

My Favorite Thanksgiving Shortcuts

Getting Guest Room Ready

As the summer comes to a close, there might be a couple more house guests coming your way. Here are a few tips to get your guest room (or office in my case) guest ready:

1. Layer bedding so they stay warm.  I use an inflatable bed that sits as high as regular bed and uses twin bedding for me to make a nice bed.  I like to open the house up at night so I provide an extra blanket or two incase it gets too cool for my guest.

2. Drape a throw on the end of the bed.  Sometimes, your guest might want to read in bed in the afternoon and a throw is nice for them to curl up with, without having to unmake their bed.

3. Provide light for night readers. A simple, small table lamp works perfectly for this. Make sure you show your guest how to turn on the light when showing them their space.

4. Have a desk nearby for quick work sessions.  I keep my desk clean and organized for guests to be able to use to send a quick email.

Summer Bucket List | 2013

Summer Bucket ListWhen I was a kid, I remember the summers seemingly lasting forever. There was day after day of slow time. Our family would take an occasional trip here or there and us kids had different camps to attend but mostly they were slow days for us to explore and take time off from the school year. One summer day, I remember telling my mom that I was bored and she told me that I will one day I would wish for a day that I was bored. Funny enough, that day has come. The seasons are passing way to fast for my liking and I find myself not taking enough personal time to stop work and smell the roses. This year I made a personal Summer Bucket list of things I would like to do before the summer is over to remind me there is more than work and to take advantage of the longer, warmer days that will soon be over. Sooner than anyone will like school will start again, darkness will come at 5pm and the cold days will make us wish for long summer days again.
Here is my list of 20 items that I wish to accomplish before September. I’ve already done a few of them. I encourage everyone to create a summer “to-do” and ditch their never ending real life “to-do” list every now and again. I don’t think any of us will regret it.

Summer Bucket List

1. Build chicken coop and get chicks. Done!
2. Build raised beds and plant a summer garden. Done!
3. Take more day trips to Mill Valley (my personal favorite little town in Marin), Stinson Beach (done!) and Marin Headlands.
4. Visit Strauss Family Creamery in Marin and take the dairy tour.(http://strausfamilycreamery.com)
5. Take a cake decorating class.
6. Make homemade ice creams from this book. (http://tinyurl.com/nrw4trz)
7. Host a backyard movie night.
8. Bake pies with seasonal fruit.
9. Find and explore new (to me) farmer’s markets.
10. Kayak on Lake Natoma.
11. Make homemade popsicles.
12. Finish decorating and styling my own home (!!)
13. Have my nephews over for playing in the sprinklers and fresh watermelon.
14. Head up the hill to a U-Pick berry farm.
15. Make and can fresh berry jam.
16. Purchase fresh summer flowers once a week.
17. Buy a pretty new bathing suit and big floppy hat and head to the beach.
18. Trade my safe baby pink nail color for bright summery pink, because you only live once.
19. Eat alfresco as much as I possibly can.
20. Ditch my TV for the backyard and watch my flowers, garden and chicks grow.
What fun plans do you have for summer? Do you compile a list of things to do during the season
or just play it by ear?