Sunday, September 21, 2014

#PlacerGrown Week is Coming Soon

Over the last year or so I have been able to get more involved with Placer Grown. It's interesting to learn more about all the items grown in Placer County, once one of the top grape (yes, that means wine) and stone fruit agriculture regions in the world. Now the biggest export is actually rice, but walnuts, grapes (for wine), fruits, vegetables and hops (for beer) are all making a resurgence.

I started my afternoon off with the official event at Wise Villa Winery, where I, along with a few other bloggers and members of the media enjoyed a fabulous lunch with wine pairing. The farm fresh arugula and beet salad was a highlight, but the steak, pork chop, pasta, tuna and wines were all spectacular and enjoyed by all. I even bought a bottle of Wisdom of Wise (their red wine blend) for "Wine Fridays" at my office.

While at lunch a few people had mentioned Goat House Brewing Company just down the road, so ... not being one to miss out on opportunity ... I decided to make the three minute drive to enjoy their beer flight. It was a good decision, eight beers for $18, while talking to great people, including the husband and wife brewery proprietors. I'm looking forward to going back with my dad so he can taste the beers too.

Placer Grown Week is October 11-18, 2014. It includes a variety of events, including a Crop to Tabletop Dinner (I already bought my tickets ... limited quantity available and it's only $35/pp), family fun, farm tours and much more (see below).
Photos for those with iPads.

Family-Friendly Events Offer Farm-to-Fork Fun and Award-winning Wines 

AUBURN, Calif.—The third annual Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week, October 11th through the 18th, will showcase the more than 100 family farms, 20 Placer County Wine Trail wineries and 9 farmers’ markets in the Placer County region.  Families should mark their calendars for family-friendly activities, farm-fresh eats and award-winning wines.

“This is the best opportunity throughout the year to experience the Placer County region’s abundance of farm-fresh food and wine,” notes PlacerGROWN Executive Director Carol Arnold.  “It’s a great way to meet local farmers and ranchers, and experience unique Placer County activities firsthand.”

“The Placer County Board of Supervisors proclaimed Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week in 2012 and the commemorative week has since grown in scope and popularity,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “We look forward to welcoming back families and friends to join in the celebration.”

The 2014 “Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week” includes four, fun events:
Auburn Wine & Food Festival: Saturday, Oct. 11th from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy Placer County wines and dishes sure to delight the palate. Tickets are available at at $45 each; designated driver and food-only tickets are $20 each.

PlacerGROWN Farm & Barn Tour: Sunday, Oct. 12th from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Take part in a free, self-guided tour that includes farms, ranches and vineyards, all spanning the beautiful Placer County countryside. Visit for details.

PlacerGROWN Harvest Festival: Saturday, Oct. 18th from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 19th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin.
This family-friendly fest includes a pumpkin patch, scarecrow-building contest, farmers’ market, free family movie at dusk and more. Visit for details.

Placer County Farm Bureau Hoe Down: Saturday, Oct. 18th with dinner held at 6:30 p.m.
The 25th annual event includes dinner and a live auction benefiting agricultural students. Call 916-663-2929 for tickets and more information.      

Supported by Placer County, PlacerGROWN is the information source dedicated to educating residents about the freshest agricultural products the region has to offer.  Through its website, social media channels, and other outreach programs, PlacerGROWN connects community members with the farms, orchards, ranches, wineries, nurseries, farmers’ markets and specialty food stores in one of the most diverse growing areas in Northern California. To discover the bounty of agricultural products produced by farmers who call Placer County home, or for more information about PlacerGROWN, visit

Lunch and wine tasting was provided by Wise Villa Winery and PlacerGROWN. I purchased my own bottle of wine to take home and beer tasting. All thoughts are my own.

Food, Wine and Soccer

So I am not sure it can really get any better than that. Great Food, Great Wine, Great Soccer.

From a Masters Winemaker Dinner with Duckhorn Vineyards at The Meritage, featuring an excellent menu, to a run in West Sacramento and two soccer victories, it was an amazing eight days. There were also home cooked meals (salmon with vegetables, and shrimp pasta), a clean oven, harvest of the vineyards behind The Meritage, dinner (well margaritas with a little bit of food) with a friend at Chevy's, a Farm to Fork dinner at River City Brewing Company, happy hour at Florez Bar & Grill, church at Bayside, and something I never thought I would see in Sacramento (but I'm very glad I did) ... a #BuiltForMLS rally with thousands of soccer fans in attendance (and dirty duck fat fries at Low Brau).
Pictures for those with iPads.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Catching Up - Earthquake, Soccer and Camp Out

I haven't been home much over the last few weeks, but it has been fun. I started out with a cooking segment on Fox40 to promote a winemaker dinner with Grgich Hills Estate at The Meritage. Went to Orange County for a few days and got to see all of the hotels that PHG operates in the area, including a construction site in Huntington Beach that will soon be the Pasea. Once back in Napa I enjoyed meeting with Mike Grgich and a fantastic multicourse dinner in the Estate Cave.

Then there were trips to Bayside, a bike ride in Folsom around Lake Natoma, dinner at Trademark Pizza, a 30th birthday party, lots of meals with friends ... and the unexpected, an earthquake in Napa. As soon as I heard about the earthquake I headed to The Meritage, even doing a radio interview with KGO-AM on my way. Although there was not major damage at The Meritage, I and the other staff were busy the day of the quake and for the week after reassuring future guests that they could keep their travel plans. Beyond the earthquake, it was fun to meet with former colleagues during the DoNapa Culinary Crawl in Downtown Napa and to learn about digital photography when cloud cover forced us to cancel our stargazing experience.

Back in Sacramento Camp Bradley welcomed 34 guests on Labor Day Weekend, my dad and I went to a few soccer games to watch the playoff (and hopefully MLS) bound Sacramento Republic FC play at Bonney Field, dinner with family friends, helping River Life Covenant Church get ready for new Sunday School classes, dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, and much more.
Photos for those with iPads.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hitch, Helicopter and Soccer

I would say it was a busy week, but I think they all are nowadays. I started off on Monday by taking my car to the dealership to get a hitch installed (so I could attach my bike rack) and got the car windows tinted. Wednesday I enjoyed dinner at Flame and Fire in Roseville. Then, beginning Thursday I was in Napa for two days full of pretty exciting meetings talking about new projects and initiatives, plus dinner at Goose and Gander, and I got to see a helicopter land in our parking lot.
On Saturday I took it easy with a five mile run, trip to the gym, church, dinner at Dos Coyotes and saw the Sacramento Republic FC win another game at home. Now time to clean my house, do laundry and pack for another week of fun ... Napa, Newport Beach for two days and more Napa.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Cave Man Diet, Wine and Friends

I started the week off with my last visit to the California State Fair and an amazing soccer game, Sac Republic won 5-0! It was fun to see with my dad, brother and nephew, he also enjoyed pizza while I went with a giant turkey leg.

My trip to Napa this week involved helping film a show that will air in the Bay Area before the Napa Valley Film Festival. The food our culinary team made all looked so delicious that I stayed for dinner too, always a good decision.

Once back in Roseville and Sacramento a few friends and I ended up heading to my parent's house to use their pool, celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and eat dinner, and then I hosted them for dinner the next night .. rotisserie chicken is always a hit.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Crazy Life

In the last few months I'm not sure if I have spent more than four days in a row at my house .... and I'm not complaining at all. I've spent a lot of time in Napa, been to the Bradley Lodge a few times and over the last few days I was in Newport Beach.

The Meritage Resort and Spa has been keeping me busy as I work on a variety of marketing projects, including a lot of print projects as we implement a new version of the logo. With events for 4th of July, Latin Nights with the trumpet player from Santana's band and many other events and activities it's been a lot of fun so far ... including going to see the chef (I needed a fork) ... he wouldn't let me leave without a spoon and pint of ice cream. I also got my official work laptop ... bringing me up to a total of three laptops that I use on a regular basis and two that I will be traveling with.

When not traveling out of the region I was able to have friends over for a BBQ'd chicken dinner, go to church at Bayside and dinner at Jack's, plus head to the State Fair twice for Sacramento Republic FC soccer games. I hadn't been to the fair in years and it was fun to walk through all the exhibits, including the one all about candy, see a few of the animals, walk through the garden, featuring Ironstone Vineyards vines, the 9/11 Memorial, and even taste some great wines for free from SaveMart. The two soccer games were also a lot of fun, especially after a friend invited us down to his field level seats, although they didn't win the two games I went to (both against International upper division teams), we played hard and had nothing to be ashamed of. With all the traveling I also decided one night that I wanted to stay home and watched the game from home with commentary through their live YouTube channel.

This week I headed down to a sister property of The Meritage Resort and Spa, The Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach. It was so much fun to see the property for the first time, eat at their newly remodeled restaurant/gastropub "A & O", go out into Balboa Bay on a Duffy boat, and hang out with my team from The Meritage, while also getting to meet lots of people that I have only known through email for the last few months and years.

After a quick flight back to Sacramento I was off to The Meritage for a reporter visit and tour (I had been trying to get the reporter to come to Napa and The Meritage for four years, he confirmed Thursday night that he could come for a tour and dinner). It was so much fun to chat and talk about the entire property, and with the pictures that were posted of dinner, I know the team at Siena treated them well.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Playing Tourist at the Bradley Lodge

After buying a new car on Tuesday I put it to the test beginning Wednesday. I started my nearly 500 mile "test drive" to Napa on Wednesday morning and ended today after spending time with friends at the Bradley Lodge. After two days in Napa, I met friends on Thursday evening at my parents' house and headed to the Bradley Lodge to play tourist for a few days.

Friday we drove down to Murphys for the day, visiting Mercer Caverns, downtown Murphys, and Ironstone Vineyards. The caverns are always impressive, lunch at Firewood was tasty, and Ironstone was a great place to finish out our day with a little bit of wine and I got to show my friends the giant piece of gold they have in their museum, while also showing them the beautiful grounds of the winery and amphitheatre.

On Saturday we took a shorter drive down to Big Trees State Park to see big trees and drove down to Beaver Creek for lunch and exploration. Once back at the Bradley Lodge we decided to go to the pool and then met up with my parents to head down to Arnold for a Saturday night concert in the park to listen to Chains Required, who we had heard open for Shane Dwight at the Ironstone Fourth of July celebration a few years ago.

After packing up on Sunday we took one last field trip to the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum and White Pines Lake. It was my first time going inside the museum and it was fun to read about some of the equipment they had and to find out there was a chainsaw with the same name as my brother.
Photos for those with iPads.
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