July 31, 2012

Coming Back & Catching Capay Tomato!

As you'd imagine, we've gathered some great memories from farm events over the years. What you might not know is that it's the stories shared by those who visit, by many of you, that really allow us to experience the event in a whole new way - that make the very best stories.

Here's one such story shared with us by Nicola, on her own blog Growing Berries, and graciously reposted here so we could share it with all of you! 

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By Nicola of Growing Berries
We have just returned to France, where we are living for a couple of years, after a four week visit to our home in California. When we first arrived back in the United States, for the home visit it seemed like we had so much time stretching ahead of us and I expected we would fill much of it doing some of the touristy things we never got around to whilst living here, like visiting Alcatraz or walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in its 75th anniversary year. The four weeks flew by though and those activities will have to stay on our bucket list as we chose to spend our time staying local, near friends and our favorite swimming pool, with my older daughters attending camps and more sleepovers than we could count!

On our final weekend though, we did fulfill a long held desire to attend the Tomato Festival, at Capay Farm. We started getting a Farm Fresh to You box about four years ago and it completely changed the way we ate. I already loved cooking at home, but starting our menu planning with the vegetables we had available rather than the meat seemed to be a much healthier approach and never quite knowing which seasonal vegetables were going to turn up in our box really got the whole family trying new foods on a weekly basis.

We had attended lots of open days at the farm in every season whilst we lived here, but the heirloom tomato festival in the summer never seemed to fall at a good time for us. This year though we finally made it with our good friends who share our love for the contents of those boxes.

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The farm is about an hour and a half's drive north of our home in the East Bay and looked so green and pretty in the perfect weather that blessed the day of the festival. Tractor rides took visitors around the fields, filled at this time of year with summer squash and asparagus.

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There were plenty of activities for the little ones. Arts and crafts, hula hoops, herb salt making and my daughter Florence's favourite...

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The main event though was the Heirloom Tomato Tasting.

Not only did the family who run Capay Organic pioneer organic farming in the region, farmer's markets and fresh produce delivery, they also reintroduced heirloom tomatoes to our table. Here's how...

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What a great story!

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Now, although those organic boxes have got my kids eating carrots, pistachios, spinach and even kale, my eldest daughters, India, Georgia and Savannah still maintain that they hate tomatoes and cannot usually be persuaded to eat them. I think they may have been converted though after this weekend. All three girls tried and liked the huge variety of tomatoes on offer.

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Someone who doesn't need any persuading to eat a tomato though is Florence. She adores them and she was in tomato tasting heaven here.

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The party continued with live music.

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Just a few more tomatoes.

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And dancing.

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A wonderful day out in the fresh air with good food, great company and more tomatoes than you can eat.

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Miam! Miam!
Thank you again to Nicola and be sure to check out her blog for more amazing photos and tales of her family's adventures.

Original Post

July 27, 2012

Capay Tomato Festival 2012 - Our Thanks & Winners!

Capay Tomato Festival 2012

Thank you to everyone who came out to our 5th-Annual Capay Tomato Festival in support of the Kathleen Barsotti Non-Profit for Sustainable Agriculture (KBNP).

Capay Tomato Festival 2012

Opening our farm for monthly farm tours and events like our Capay Tomato Festival never ceases to move us, and remind us how very important and humbling it is to share this land with you, our community, the folks that allow us to continue growing organic fruits and vegetables and continue growing our work for a better, more sustainable food system for all. 

Capay Tomato Festival 2012

Thank you to all who joined us and helped to make this event such a success!   We want to once again thank our amazing employees for their hard work in readying and sharing our farm with visitors.  Many, many thanks go to all the amazing companies, organizations and individuals who donated to our Silent Auction benefiting the KBNP.  We are so very grateful!

Capay Tomato Festival 2012

We’d also like to thank the many partners who made the event delicious and fun...

Tacos Jesus Maria, Caffe Italia and Cracchiolo’s Market for the amazing local tacos, wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches; The Pleasant Valley Boys, Miss Lonely Hearts and Old Man Markley for their amazing talents that set the day to music. 

Add to that The Pop Nation for their refreshing popsicles; Seka Hills and Whole Vine for sharing their olive and grapeseed oils and Bay Area Bee Company for honey tasting; Dilly Dally the Clown for creative face painting, Harmony Henna for their original henna tattoos; and the Health Education Council for providing delicious, healthy recipe ideas!

Capay Tomato Festival 2012

As visitors danced around the twinkle-lit stage late into the night, little ones fell asleep in chairs with dirty little feet hanging over the edges. As the festival wound down, you could hear those not staying to camp marveling at the stars as they headed back to their cars.  Still today, there is quite a buzz around the farm about the fun times that were had by all.

Thank you again to everyone who came out to help us celebrate all things tomato – and to make that connection between the sustainable organic food we grow and the food you all enjoy.

Be sure to check out our photos from the event and keep reading for the Tomato Tasting and Best Picnic Winners!



Tomato tasting is one of the highlights of the Capay Tomato Festival. Visitors are invited to taste and vote on their favorite heirloom and cherry tomatoes from over a dozen varieties. 

In fact - we enjoyed over 750lbs of tomatoes for the event! {drum roll} This year’s winner in the heirloom category is...

Brandywine — full and rich, not too sweet or too acidic.

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In the cherry tomato category, the Sungold cherry tomato — light orange colored, thin-skinned and very sweet, was crowned winner once again after giving up its title last year to Chiquita.



It was not easy choosing a Best Guest Picnic Contest winner - in fact, it was near impossible to decide and required bringing in additional people to take part in tie-breaking!

This year’s Guest Best Picnic is awarded to Tom and Company who displayed a great variety of goodies including cured meats, olives and artichokes, fresh fruits and cheeses, wine and beer, an assortment of handmade salads, cookies and muffins, and even a pie for Tom — the birthday boy! Congrats Tom, and thank you to all who joined in on the picnicking fun!

2012 Capay Tomato Festival Best Guest Picnic Contest

Congrats Tom and Company for winning three Farm Fresh To You deliveries!  You can see more picnic contest photos on our flickr page and see to whom we awarded honorable mention prizes! We just couldn't help ourselves!  http://bit.ly/picnicshots 

Thank you to all who participated - Hope to see you again next year!

July 10, 2012

Outstanding in the Field Comes to Farm Fresh To You!

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Earlier this year, we posted on our blog how excited we were to be chosen to take part in a "roving culinary adventure," as the acclaimed Outstanding in the Field (OITF) chose us for one of their amazing events. I had not fully realized the true, indescribable force of this traveling, fine dining experience taking place in the fields of farms across the United States. It was not until the trucks, trailers filled with tables and chairs and OITF staff appeared on our Farm Fresh To You farm that I got the actual pun – Outstanding in the Field and the dinner happens to be an outstanding meal while standing in a field.

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It was a bit of a mystery where the dinner was actually going to be held. We suspected that they would organize their long row of tables near the fig orchard on a bench of soil that overlooks both lower fields of the farm, however, the spot they picked was where the Mission figs met the Candystripe figs, a long and straight patch that is a dirt road in the summer and early in the fall gets a ditch pulled through it to facilitate the rainwater that runs off the hills, through the farm and into the creek.

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It was a beautiful evening for June, the high temperature for the day was in the low 80’s, which was splendid considering the late June potential for one-hundred-degree-plus days. The event kicked off with a reception in the shade of our oak trees and passed hors d'oeuvres. We enjoyed cherry tomato bocconcini, artisan sausages and summer squash puttanesca crostinis. Berryessa Gap Wines offered their refreshing 2011 Verdelho that paired nicely with the food and weather. 

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Jim and Leah from OITF welcomed the guests and told us a little about their first dinner, and how they are now taking their dinners to farms across the nation.   

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Freeman and I both gave quick tours of the farm. 

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We showed guests the summer squash fields, fig and citrus orchards, irrigation canal and strawberry fields. 

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Chef Oliver Ridgway from Grange Restaurant in Sacramento did a splendid job of incorporating into the menu our summer squash from the field by the office, the first cherry tomatoes from the field by the creek and figs from the orchard that we were being shaded by. 

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In a tradition that continues since OITF first started, people bring their own plates, showing a myriad of colors and styles - each contributing to the unique table composition. 

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Once seated, the first dish presented was a beautiful California Farmers Salad with our fruits and vegetables, mezzo secco and raspberry balsamic dressing. The salad was paired with a 2009 Berryessa Gap Malbec.

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The next course was a delectable quail from Wolfe Ranch with a wild rice pilaf from Lundberg Family Farms, preserved fruit and a Bing cherry glaze. The wine served with this course was from the 2007 Berryessa Gap Rocky Ridge Collection Tradition, which is is a mix of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel.  

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Next came the California King Salmon with our summer squash, Full Belly potatoes and a flowering herb butter. This succulent dish was paired perfectly with a 2009 Berryessa Gap Zinfandel. And last, but definitely not least, was dessert: a summer fruit composition with sweet and salty choux buns.

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While sitting there, I admired our Candystripe fig orchard that was full and budding with fruit that will harvest in August. They did pick a nice spot to set up the tables. To the left and right were guests and the end of the tables was met by background of rolling golden hills speckled with olive green oak trees.

It was a magical night in a field in Capay, and we could not feel more honored to take part.
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