Del Rio Botanical, located on old River road between Sacramento and Woodland, is a privately owned 200-acre ranch producing open-pollinated organically grown seed and freshly packed specialty produce. All of Del Rio’s produce is harvested in the morning for same day delivery through Produce Express to over 50 restaurants in the region, including Mulvaney’s, Waterboy, Masullo, Grange and the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. Their unique offerings include baby squashes with blossoms attached, Italian cucumbers, heirloom cherry tomatoes, lemon basil, Early Lady beans, calendula
petals, chocolate mint, and 125 other specialty products grown on this organic farm. Del Rio offers farm tours and dining opportunities to help educate the community about the importance of organic farming. At every level of their operation, attention is paid to the sustainability of their farm. They use only multi-use boxes and permanent equipment. In addition, they provide year round employment for six agricultural workers.
On April 17, Slow Food Sacramento announced the latest honorees of the “Snail of Approval” program. The Snail of Approval program recognizes local businesses that contribute to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of food in the community.
This year, Slow Food Sacramento introduced two new award categories: Producers and Supporters. Past awards were conferred on restaurants offering menu items that meet the Slow Food mission of good (authentic flavor), clean (grown so it does not harm the environment) and fair (food producers receive fair compensation). In response to the growing interest by auxiliary food businesses and organizations, the new Producer category recognizes businesses producing locally unique and sustainable foods. The new Supporter category acknowledges organizations that encourage sustainable business practices in the food community.
The restaurants receiving the Snail of Approval are:
- Spataro Restaurant and Bar
- Paragary’s Bar and Oven
- Esquire Grill
- Centro Cocina Mexicana
- Juno’s Kitchen and Delicatessen
Awardees in the Producer category are:
- Soil Born Farms
- Devine Gelateria
- Del Rio Botanicals
- Revolution Wines
Awardees in the Supporter category are:
- Edible Pedal
- Green Restaurant Alliance of Sacramento
- Produce Express
“Sacramento is at the forefront of a national movement of consumers and businesses embracing locally grown, sustainable foods. This is our way of recognizing and honoring the businesses in our region that focus on good, clean, and fair food,” says Karen Auwaerter, president of Slow Food Sacramento.
For more information on Slow Food Sacramento and the Snail of Approval selection criteria, click here.
The Central Valley Region of California was honored to host Paolo di Croce for a regional event on Sept. 11 during his whirlwind visit to Northern California to connect with chapter leaders and Slow Food donors. Paolo is the Executive Director of Slow Food International and serves as International Secretary of the Slow Food International Board of Directors. With him was Shayna Bailey, a Slow Food International staffer who wears many hats, including liaison to Slow Food USA.
On short notice we brought together Slow Food members from 15 counties, including leaders from 8 chapters. Regrettably, three chapters who were signed up had last minute glitches. Those who made the long drive to the border between Sacramento and San Joaquin counties were inspired and energized by the witty, passionate, arm waving Italian. And Paolo was very pleased to hear from chapter leaders about the many and various projects being carried out up and down the valley.
We started with an intimate meeting at my home, where Paolo could hear from leaders of each chapter and could share his thoughts for the future of Slow Food International.
We moved down the road to MacFarland Ranch for the joint Sacramento and Lodi Chapter Heirloom Bean Picnic attended by about 130 people with talks featuring heirloom beans being farmed on the nearby Mohr Fry Ranch. We tasted chef-prepared bean dishes, heard from Ken Albala (author of Beans, A History), the farmers Chip Morris (California’s King of Beans) and Jerry Fry, and from Robert Klein of Olivetto in Oakland (whose Community Grains project is helping create markets for the beans as well as heirloom varieties of flint corn and red wheat). Once again Paolo inspired the crowd—especially to connect to this organization as a global effort. We heard about the Thousand Gardens in Africa initiative and learned that more than 100 chapters in Italy have already “adopted” a garden. We could do that!
The culmination of the visit was a tour of the bean fields. In the height of harvest season these talented farmers had mustered and labeled their equipment and labeled the bean varieties. We wound through the fields learning about the challenges, flexible thinking, and quick action that undergird success. The capper was an exuberant 8 year old who, at about the third stop, announced, “Mom! I want to be a farmer when I grow up, so I can grow beans!” Music to our ears.
Charity Kenyon, SFUSA Governor, Central Valley Region of California