Produce Festivals Hot Stuff for Markets

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG)  |  By Susan Maxwell Skinner
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Peachy keen market visitors Isabella and Matthew Ramirez sampled fruit at the Carmichael Peach Festival.
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Living Smart Farmers Markets staffers Sydney Love (left) and Alliyah Esmael model vine-ripened accessories. Farmers market patrons will vote for favorites tomato varieties in Historic Folsom on August 18 and at Sunrise Mall on September 8.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - With summer harvests falling from branches, farmers markets are celebrating local growers. Carmichael and Folsom markets recently hosted peach festivals. Historic Folsom will host its annual “Tomato Taste Off” on Saturday, August 18. A similar festival is scheduled for Sunrise Mall (Citrus Heights) on Saturday, September 8.

Dozens of tomato varieties are grown in Sacramento and surrounding counties. At the Folsom taste Off, vendors will present cherry, beef steak, zebra and heirloom specimens.  Customer votes decide winners for categories such as most beautiful, meatiest, sweetest and best-tasting. Patron-participation contests, explains Living Smart Farmers Markets founder Marie Hall, aim to educate buyers on the many types of tomatoes available. “We set up stations with sliced samples,” she says. “People get to taste and vote for their favorites.”

Hall’s recent peach festival brought 3000 people to Carmichael Park. In addition to the fresh fruit, vendors offered peach-flavored treats, including ice creams, gelatos, cookies, cobblers, cakes and ever-popular peach pies. Thirteen chefs presented dishes for the annual dessert bakeoff. A cheesecake-in-a-jar won first prize for Dr Sarah Astarte; second place winner was Rhonda Mohr's deep-dish peach pie; third prize went to Kathleen Quinones for a platter of peach and basil tartlets.

“These festivals are a great way to bring attention to our local farmers,” approves Marie Hall. “Shopping for food shouldn’t just be a chore, it should be fun.” 

Historic Folsom Farmers Market is located at 915 Sutter Street, Folsom. Sunrise Mall Farmers Market is at 6196 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights.

Learn about the produce festivals at www.ILoveMyFarmersMarket.com