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Welcome to our June box

Welcome to our June Farm to Fork in a Box.

We think of this as a 'food tour in a box' where you get to taste some of the best products from the Sacramento Valley delivered right to your door. We have carefully curated and hand selected each product, have met each farmer and maker to be sure their products are delicious and their business practices align with SacTown Bites' philosophy. We look for organic ingredients that are sustainably grown and try to partner with smaller purveyors that make excellent products, although they may be lesser known in the marketplace. We have provided you with details about each product and partner, as well as some informative videos. We even have a cocktail making demo this month. So let's begin!

 

Lavender Spiced Walnuts

Capay Valley Lavender, Capay Valley

Sherri Wood, FarmHER and Owner 

I absolutely love Sherri's story of how she ended up in the Capay Valley with a piece of land and no idea what she was going to do with it. She is brave and remarkable. Her farm is the cutest little spread nestled in between two ranges of picturesque hills. Every time I visit I take a deep breath and feel at peace. You can read more about Sherri's path in this blog post. 

See the farm in full bloom and meet Sherri talking about her love for farming in this video

Sherri not only grows organic lavender, but she also distills the buds to make lavender essential oil. From that she makes several culinary and bath products. This month we are featuring her Lavender Spiced Walnuts. The walnuts are sourced from the Capay Valley and are so fresh – you have never had a fresh walnut you are missing out. The freshness of the walnuts combined with the salty and sweetness on the nuts is pleasantly addictive.  

In our house they rarely stick around long enough for us to do anything except snack on them, but they are great sprinkled on salads or on top of vanilla ice cream. We think you are going to love them!

 

Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Séka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room, Capay Valley

Yocha Dehe Wintun Tribe, Owners, Land Stewards

We are thrilled to be partnered with Séka Hills this month. They make very special products of the highest quality. We believe it's because of their special connection to the land. Séka Hills is owned and operated by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a federally recognized tribe of Wintun people. Their ancestors were the original inhabitants of the Capay Valley and they consider themselves stewards of the environment. They have 17,000 acres of the most diverse farming in Yolo County. This biodiversity contributes to the health of the soil and helps pollinators, among other benefits. You can learn more about this here.

In our June box we have included Séka Hill's Arbequina olive oil. It's fresh, grassy, green and peppery at the finish. What am I talking about? Olive oil tasting is much like wine tasting. Learn more about how to taste olive oil with Edie Hafdahl of Séka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room, by watching our video. You can follow along with the video by using wine glasses and a few olive oils. Invite some friends and make a party of it.

We love this olive oil on just about everything. My favorite way to use it is to simply drizzle it and Séka Hill's Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar and a pinch of sea salt on a salad. The two, together, complement each other perfectly and it doesn't get easier than that. We also love it drizzled on bread with tomatoes and avocado topped with pepitas and a sprinkle of smoked salt. For something really different, drizzle it on vanilla ice cream and a pinch of sea salt...do you see a pattern here? It's perfect for making salad dressings. I have a version using a shrub syrup from Burly Beverages. I've included the recipe below. 

 

 Mandarin-Elderflower & Pomegranate-Pink Peppercorn Shrub Syrups

Burly Beverages, Sacramento, California

Gabriel Aiello, Owner and Maker

Burly Beverages makes truly handcrafted, small batch products. Owner and amateur chef, Gabriel Aiello, makes each shrub himself in his tasting room's kitchen in Del Paso Heights in Sacramento, California. He hand selects seasonal and locally grown ingredients as carefully as he selects the farmers he sources from. We love Burly's shrub syrups for so many reasons – here are a few. One is that they are made with the best ingredients available. Two, the flavors are complex and unique. And three, they are incredibly versatile. 

Ingredients are King when it comes to making a good shrub. Gabe carefully selects his farmers, and ingredients and allocates those ingredients at the height of ripeness. Learn more about one of Gabe's farmers, Rich Colwell of Thundering Herd Mandarin Ranch, and the ingredients in Burly's Mandarin-Elderflower Shrub by watching this video. 

If you have never heard of a shrub or used one, you can find out more here. In the June box we have included the Mandarin-Elderflower and Pomegranate-Pink Peppercorn shrubs. They can be used to make sodas, think Italian soda, by simply adding about an ounce of any shrub to your favorite sparking water. Or, you can get fancier and make a mocktail or cocktail. We were tickled when Gabe invented a cocktail just for us and called it The Mandy. See how simple it is to make The Mandy by watching this video.

The shrubs are so versatile and Gabe has an amazing palate – he comes up with some intriguing combinations, such as Black Lime-Bay Leaf, and well, the Pomegranate Pink-Peppercorn. We like the Pomegranate-Pink Peppercorn by putting a splash of it in a glass of Prosecco! 

 

Raw Wildflower Honey

Pure Honey, Winters, California

Doneice Trotter, Owner

We fell in love with raw honey 8 years ago when we began keeping our own bees. Learning about bees and the incredible complexity of the hives and the amount of effort that goes into making a pound of honey is truly astounding. And pure, raw honey is the best you can get. We've included Pure Honey's Wildflower Honey in this months box because we know they produce some of the best honey around.

Pure Honey is located in Yolo County, right outside of the adorable little town of Winters, California. It is part of a family owned business that includes Henry's Bullfrog Bees Apiary. This means they control where their hives are located which ensures the bees are not pollinating plants or trees that have been recently sprayed. And in order to get a varietal, such as wildflower or lavender honey, the bees must gather nectar from a single type of flower, or in the case of wildflower honey, only wildflowers. Learn more about bees and Pure Honey by clicking here.  

Doneice Trotter, owner of Pure Honey, grew up around bees and her dad's apiaries. She is a farmer and producer, a hard worker, and mother-to-be. She makes all her own infusions using her mother's recipes, and with the help of her small staff, bottles and labels the honey herself. Meet Doneice in this video

 

Hand Sanitizer

J.J. Pfister Distilling Co., Rancho Cordova, California

We know hand sanitizer is an odd choice for a gourmet food box. But let's face it – we are all going to need an abundance of this for many, many months. Besides being practical, it's made by really good people. J.J. Pfister Distilling Co, in Rancho Cordova, California stopped production on their spirits as soon as they saw a community need. You can read more about that in our blog post here

J.J. Pfister makes excellent spirits and we highly recommend a visit to their tasting room in Rancho Cordova. We also suggest you try their vodka or gin to mix with the Burly Beverages Shrub, also in the June box. We hope someday, when our food tours are back up and running, after the risk of infection from Covid-19 goes way down, that we can put together a distillery tour that includes them.  They have a really cool tasting room that is well worth a visit. 

Until then, you can learn more about how awesome they are by watching this video they produced. 

 

Korova Sablé Cookies

Puur Chocolat, Sacramento, California

Chef Ramon and Nicole Perez, Owners

Have I saved the best for last? Perhaps...because who doesn't love a sweet, chocolatey cookie to finish things off? These, by appearances, are simply cookies. But bite into one and you'll taste a perfect marriage of buttery cookie, rich chocolate and an unexpected hint of salt. Made with the best ingredients such as 70% dark chocolate, organic brown sugar and Tahitian Vanilla make these slightly addicting. 

They come from the kitchen of Chef Ramon Perez that has a resumé longer than this blog. His training and experience are humbling and his creations are stunning. Read more about Ramon and Puur Chocolat in our blog post here

We got to see him in action in his kitchen on a very busy day for him, making 140 cream puffs for a pop-up later that day. My mind is still blown away by his flavor combinations and techniques. Watch our video here to see Chef Ramon Perez in action. 

 

Recipes

The Mandy Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 small mandarin
  • 3/4 oz. Burly Beverages Mandarin-Elderflower Shrub Syrup (Any of Burly's syrups will work with this recipe)
  • 2 oz. Gin or Vodka (we highly recommend J.J. Pfister's Capital Gin or Organic Vodka – their flavor profiles and botanicals pair nicely with Burly's herbaceous shrubs.)
  • Sparkling water, Champagne or Prosecco
  • Ice
  • Dried Meyer lemon Slices

Equipment 

  • Cocktail glass
  • Jigger or measured shot glass
  • Muddler or thick wooden spoon
  • Cocktail shaker and strainer (or two pint glasses)

Instructions

Fill cocktail glass with ice to chill. Muddle the mandarin in a pint glass. Pour in 3/4 oz. of shrub and 2 oz. of spirits. Fill glass with ice. Cover with cocktail shaker and shake for 20 seconds. If you don't have a shaker, simply pour back and forth between two pint glasses to mix and chill. Strain, or not, into chilled cocktail glass. Top with sparking water, Champagne or Prosecco. Garnish with dried Meyer lemon slices. If you don't have dried, you can use fresh or just leave out. Have fun with it. Experiment. Enjoy!

 

Easy and Fast Salad Dressing

 Ingredients

  • 1 T Raw, Wildflower Honey from Pure Honey
  • 1/2 oz. Mandarin-Elderflower Shrub Syrup form Burly Beverages
  • 3 T Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Séka Hills Olive Mill
  • 2 T Meyer lemon
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

This recipe is really made to personal taste, so play with the quantities to get the balance of acid and sweet that works best with your salad. I throw everything in a small mason jar and make sure the lid is on tight and shake the heck out of it. Taste and adjust seasonings. Try adding mustard as a variation or a different variety of vinegar. Adding tahini is also a really nice option to mix things up a bit. Enjoy!

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