Welcome to Our December Box
Certified Organic Contagallo Coffee Beans
Pachamama Coffee Cooperative – Sacramento, California
Pachamama not only roasts high quality coffee beans, they also may be one of the most unique coffee roasters in Sacramento. It is a cooperative that is wholly owned and governed by coffee farmers in Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Ethiopia. This vertical business model allows farmers to not be subject to commodity prices. Not a foodie story, you may think, but Pachamama represents how small farmers can not only survive but flourish through community support.
Pachamama represents an idea that although is indeed commerce, and profitable, it is entirely owned and operated by family farmers, not huge corporations. The farmers are in control of pricing and have removed the middle man, allowing them to flourish in business and in life. The cooperative formed in Peru in 2003, founded by now president, Raul del Aguila (COCLA), who led the legal formation of the cooperative along with Merling Preza (PRODECOOP), Carlos Reynoso (Manos Campesinas) and Tadesse Meskela (OCFCU). That year, they also hired Thaleon Tremain as their first employee in California to build the business. Three years later, they sold their first bag of roasted coffee to the Davis Co-op. Since then Pachamama has opened several retail locations throughout Sacramento and Davis. They also offer a subscription service, which we highly recommend, so you never run out of beans.
Another thing that we think is really cool is they created a website where you can trace your coffee to the exact farm and farmer it came from. They also have a feature where you can tip your farmer. So look on the bag of coffee in your box for the source code and meet your farmer, or even better, send them a tip! The beans in your box are medium roast and grown in San Jeronimo, Nicaragua from the Co-op: Héroes y Mártires de Cantagallo. When tasting this coffee look for notes of stone fruit, roasted almond and chocolate.
Premier Walnut Company – Yuba City, California
Premier Walnut Company is family owned and has been in operation for over 50 years. They are also one of the few walnut growers that also pack and process their own nuts - they control every step of the operation. They take pride in the quality of their product. Fresh walnuts are actually a rarity for most people. When you buy walnuts from a supermarket bulk bin it is impossible to tell how old they are. Oxygen is not a friend to nuts, so buying them in bulk bins can be risky unless you know your market well. The best way to buy nuts is directly from the farmer. Many farmers now sell direct online, such as Premier. Buying direct provides you with freshness, and in most cases a transparency that you can't get from buying at a big box store. Buying direct also supports small farms, which is good for the economy and the environment. But most of all...you will get fresh nuts.
I remember the first time I really ate a fresh walnut. I was a grown adult, really. I went most of my life thinking the nuts I had been eating were good. Then about 12 years ago we decided to move from the Bay Area, to Sacramento. That year I was making many trips up to Sacramento to house hunt. Our daughter was a toddler back then, and on this particular day she really needed a break from her car seat and a snack. I was in what I thought was the middle of nowhere, but was actually Dixon. After a long stretch of nothing but fields (now I know that is agriculture and farms!), I pulled off Interstate 80 at the first site of a place to stop. It happened to be the Dixon Fruit Market. This little market stand has been around for 40 years and is bursting with fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, and all sorts of wonderful treats. I bought a bag of shelled walnuts to snack on and we got back on the road. As I crossed the causeway I ate a walnut. It didn't taste like any walnut I had ever eaten. It was just so fresh and so good. It forever changed me when ti came to nuts and where I buy them.
Enjoy these right out of the bag or lightly toasted. Include them on our next cheese board or toss them in a salad. I think they would be great in a homemade Baklava with honey! Here is a link to a recipe I like. And do not forget to drizzle your Baklava with your Tempranillo Chocolate Wine Sauce. If you don't use your walnuts right away be sure to store them in the freezer. The freezer is the best place to store nuts unless you use them within a short period of time.
Tempranillo Chocolate Wine Sauce
Turkovich Winery – Winters, California
Yolo county, the home to Turkovich Winery and vineyards, is a hidden gem, and few people outside of the area realize it is only five miles from Napa, just east of the Vaca Mountains. This area benefits from delta breezes and cool winds from Lake Berryessa, creating a long growing season. It’s especially great for Rhone varieties and Spanish Varietals such as Tempranillo. Like you, I am really looking forward to being able to get out and enjoy the good things in life, such as local wine tasting in Yolo. When the time comes, be sure to check out Visit Yolo's Wine Pass that gets you either 3 or 6 wine flight tastings in the area. It's a beautiful region worth exploring.
Meanwhile, indulge in Turkovich's delicious chocolate sauce. Turkovich makes some of the best wine in the Sacramento Valley. Their Tempranillo Chocolate Wine Sauce Sauce is sophisticated and decadent, without being overly sweet. A natural pairing for vanilla ice cream, and in our house lately it's been getting drizzled on vegan cheesecake.
Shebear Herblove – Sacramento California
Shebear Herblove is the product of one woman's love and interest in encouraging more home cooking and creating a connection to the world of plants. Owner/maker Stephanie Schaber infuses herbology, natural medicine and folklore to create her very special blends. The Chai Powder in our December Box is hand sourced and made with herbs and spices from local farms. It’s the real deal chai powder, not infused with unnecessary sugar. Open the lid and just take a good inhale and smell all the complexities in this little jar. In addition to making the traditional tea, try adding it to your coffee, or your next batch of cookies or even rice. In addition to being delicious, this chai spice blend is known to aid digestion.
Stephanie is also the creator of a seasonal necessity and favorite – Allergy Tea, sold at beloved local spice store, All Spicery in Sacramento, as well as Magic Party Tea featured in our 2020 July Box. Learn more about Stephanie and her inspirations behind her creations by reading this blog post. Watch our video to meet Stephanie as we visit one of the local farms she sources from.
Apple and Star Anise Jam
berry&thyme – Sacramento, California
We are especially pleased to have partnered with berry&thyme this month. We discovered her through another young female entrepreneur, Crystal Azua of Tabled Co, who makes gorgeous grazing boxes with locally sourced ingredients. berry&thyme owner/maker Erin took a giant leap of faith starting her business recently, with little to no culinary experience, and yet she creates intuitive and delicious jams. Each jam is made with fresh ingredients and no preservatives or thickeners. But the real star is the botanicals and the flavor combinations Erin comes up with. She made this Apple Star Anise jam just for our December Boxes and we think it and she is pretty special.
Be sure to follow berry & thyme on Instagram as that is where she announces her numerous popups and flash sales. And she ALWAYS sells out.
Lavender Spiced Almonds
Capay Valley Lavender – Capay California
I’ve been a fangirl of Capay Valley Lavender and owner/farmHER Sherri Wood since the first time I met her and visited her magical farm. She has created a picturesque botanical dream in just a few short years since leaving a job in finance in San Francisco. She grows many different varieties of lavender each suited to their best end use; ornamental, fragrance or culinary. One of our favorite things she makes is her Lavender Spiced Almonds. They are the perfect crunchy salty sweet treat with a hint of lavender.
Learn more about Sherri's journey and her wonderful farm by reading our blog post here. We love her farm so much we included it on our new Capay Valley Farm Tour which is on hiatus until it is safe to gather again. We were able to squeeze in one tour in October of 2020 and it was fabulous! Be sure to sign up for our emails to get updates on tours. You can sign up at SacTown Bites.
Meet the FarmHER Sherri Wood in our video we did back in the summer of 2020 and get a glimpse of her dream.