Sonoma and Marin Counties enjoy such a rich agricultural bounty that it should come as no surprise that the Sonoma-Marin Fair provides a wonderful opportunity to sample some of the best and newest local, sustainable food. This year, the Farm-to-Table exhibit had been expanded. The first item we tried was the fantastic McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil. You could really taste the fresh grass in it.
McClelland’s Dairy (where we used to take our daughter to watch the cows being milked) is now making their own organic, artisan, small-batch butter, which we happily sampled and found extremely tasty.
We had terrific honey from Hector’s Honey, which is available at the Santa Rosa, CA, and other local farmer’s markets in eucalyptus, vetch, wildflower, and other flavors from local flowers.
We spoke with Karen Bianchi-Morada, 8th generation cheesemaker (Italy, Switzerland, and now five generations in West Marin). Her Valley Ford Cheese Estero Gold was extremely tasty. Aged 120 days, it’s an asiago-type cheese that’s buttery, distinctly flavored, and affordably priced. It’s available in Whole Foods and other local markets.
Next up was something new called Sonomic Vinegar, from Wine Country Vinegars. It’s a rich balsamic-like vinegar that had more depth and flavor than a typical balsamic and, yet, was still made from 100% grapes. The producer also runs Sonoma Valley Portworks. I assured him a visit would be forthcoming.
Of course, no fair would be complete without the requisite corn dogs, funnel cakes, garlic-fry bricks, deep-fried twinkies (!), watery margaritas, barbecued chicken, chow mein, kettle corn, and lemonade. And, sure enough, we left the sustainable exhibit and sampled some of that stuff, too.
Follow our other fair adventures here.
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman