In an effort to foster community pride, celebrate regional farming, and to create further demand for the region as a culinary tourism destination, the Sacramento Region is laying claim to being “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” and made the announcement at a press conference on October 31, 2012.
Sacramento is positioned to claim this identity because no major city in America is more centrally located amid such a diverse range of high-quality farms, ranches and vineyards.
“This recognition as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital isn’t something that this region needs to grow into because we’ve been walking this walk for decades,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “It is part of who we are and this is our opportunity to embrace that identity, celebrate it locally, and champion it to the rest of the world.”
Sacramento is the capital city of the largest producing state of agriculture in the nation and, locally, 70 percent of the region’s land is agricultural, forest or other open space. Additionally, the region contains 7,000 to 8,000 acres of boutique farms and provides numerous public sales platforms at more than 50 regional farmers markets, many of which are year-round fixtures.
In fact, Sacramento is home to the largest “Certified Farmers’ Market” in California and offers the most ethnically diversified market in both produce offerings and customer demographics.
Local restaurants utilize the abundance of regionally-grown products to create a Farm-to-Fork freshness that’s unparalleled in this country. While many local farms ship their products across the country — a process that can take days — regional restaurants can pick up fresh product in the morning and serve it to patrons for lunch and dinner.
“We buy blueberries from Stockton, lamb from Dixon, lavender from Placerville, fresh fish from Sloughhouse and broccoli and cauliflower from Sacramento,” said Randall Selland, owner of The Kitchen, Ella and Selland’s Market. “There is no other place in the United States that grows and distributes more food for consumers than the Sacramento region does.”
Aside from local restaurants, regional farmers provide products to establishments across the United States. Superior Farms in Dixon provides product to restaurants in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Snake River Farms beef, which is raised at VanVleck Ranch in eastern Sacramento County, is distributed locally at Corti Bros. Market and nationally in San Francisco, New York, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Silva Family Farms, located in Yuba City, ships walnuts to New Jersey, Tennessee, Washington, Philadelphia, Dubai, Turkey, China, Korea and Spain.
On the heels of this proclamation is an announcement from Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) President & CEO Steve Hammond that Sacramento will host a culinary week in the fall of 2013. The week-long celebration will include events at local farms, at restaurants across the region, and will be anchored by a major festival on Capitol Mall. High-end dinners, wine tastings, other culinary-focused events—and even a cattle drive in downtown Sacramento—will be scheduled throughout the week.
“In 1992, Austin, Texas, became known as the Live Music Capital of the world because the city had more live music venues per capita than any other city. Since then, Austin has embraced this identity and used it to positively brand the city and draw in visitors,” said ammond. “Similarly, Sacramento is being amed the America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital because we have thousands of acres of outique farms and year-round local sustainability. This region literally provides tons of food o the rest of the country and it will be the job of the SCVB to market that identity o the rest of the world.”
The SCVB is currently in the planning stages for the 2013 event and is collaborating with the regional restaurant and farming community, The California Farm Bureau, The Certified Farmers’ Markets, and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, among others. The branding ampaign will be on-going, and the culinary promotions will be an annual celebration.