Your Guide to Farm-to-Fork in the Sacramento Area
As America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, Sacramento takes pride in its agricultural heritage. The city is surrounded by acres upon acres of agricultural land — 1.5 million acres to be exact — producing everything from peaches to pears, watermelon to walnuts.
Sacramento focused on farm-to-table cuisine before it became mainstream, with farmers’ markets springing up across the region (including the state’s largest, the Davis Farmers’ Market) and local restaurants serving locally sourced, seasonal cuisine. In fact, the Sacramento area has some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the state, if not the nation.
At the heart of Sacramento’s agricultural pride is its annual Farm-to-Fork Festival, a weeks-long celebration of food and wine. This year, the event will be held Sept. 7–23 in locations throughout downtown Sacramento. It comprises several key events, which include music, local vendors, and of course, plenty of food!
Legends of Wine
The Farm-to-Fork Festival commences with Legends of Wine to be held Sept. 7 from 6–9 p.m. at the State Capitol. It highlights the world-class wineries that surround the Sacramento region, including those from Yolo, Placer, Calaveras, and Amador counties, as selected by international wine legends Darrell Corti and David Berkley. The evening includes wine tasting, food from the area’s top restaurants, and live music.
Tower Bridge Dinner
The festival’s signature event is the Tower Bridge Dinner scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 10. The dinner takes place along the city’s iconic Tower Bridge, which is closed to traffic and transformed into a beautiful dining space, with a long communal table down its center. The meal is prepared by the region’s top chefs, including Rebecca Campbell of Sac City Brews & Nourish Event Kitchen, Sean Rumery of Canon, Derek Sawyer of Allora, Dennis Sydnor of Renegade Dining & Café Federico, and Craig Takehara of Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining.
Farm-to-Fork Street Festival
The event culminates with a two-day street fair to be held Friday, Sept. 22 from 4–9 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 23 from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. The street festival, held along Capital Mall, offers local food, regional wine, craft beer, cooking demonstrations and a vendor fair featuring area artisans and makers.
There will also be live music. This year, the event welcomes singer-songwriter Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals; rapper Michael Franti & Spearhead; indie pop band Cannons; R&B/soul artist Danielle Ponder, blues guitarist Eric Gales, R&B musician Cautious Clay; teenage pop singer Zia Victoria, plus others. There’s even a Spotify playlist where you can listen to the lineup from the festival!
Ticketed events during the event include The Grand Tasting: 10 Years of Farm to Fork. Held from 6–9 p.m. on Sept. 22, the experience includes tastings from 20 regional chefs, libations, and live entertainment. Another exclusive event is Farm x Fire x Fork with Tyler Florence, in which the Food Network chef prepares a great BBQ meal with all the fixins. It also includes a performance by country-pop singer Lindsay Ell. It will be held from 4–7 p.m. Sept. 23.
But the Sacramento region’s love for its agricultural heritage doesn’t end with the official festival. There are plenty of other celebrations scheduled around town as well! The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg is hosting its annual Farm-to-Fork Uncorked Weekend Sept. 1–4, featuring tastings from its 14 onsite wineries, food trucks, artisan vendors, hands-on workshops, and live music. There’s also a special Farm-to-Fork Dinner in the Orchard held at Mandarin Hill Orchards in Penryn on Sept. 15, which supports the Placer Breast Cancer Foundation. In October, the city of Davis celebrates the region’s farm-to-fork season with its annual Village Feast, modeled after the “Grand Aïoli,” the late-summer communal feasts found in Provence, France. The family-style meal showcases food from Yolo County and across the region, with proceeds benefiting Davis Farm to School and Saint John’s Program for Real Change, which Lyon Real Estate regularly supports during its annual Community Service Day and through grants from the Lyon Cares Foundation.
*Featured photo courtesy of Farm to Fork Festival.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What does “Farm to Fork” mean? Farm to Fork conveys the message that local produce and agriculture feed into our meals. This means that local restaurants and chefs throughout the Sacramento Region use locally sourced produce, ingredients, and products to create their menus. Typically, they’re purchasing directly from farms and gardens within a short distance!
Does using locally sourced ingredients mean it’s healthier? In short, yes! It’s been shown to provide benefits to nutritional value, taste, and quality.
Why is Sacramento the Farm to Fork Capital? With over 1.5 million acres of farms around the city, Sacramento has made a name for itself by prioritizing partnering with local farms for our food year-round, as well as supporting local agricultural businesses that are based in the city. Our city’s agricultural bounty is unmatched!