Farm to Fork Festival: Photos

  Saturday afternoon was a beautiful time to stroll down the capital mall. If perchance you did, you would have encountered the Sacramento Farm to Fork Festival. Both sides of the mall were fenced off for about a 4 block area and there was evidence to support the generally accepted fact that Sacramento is the Farm to Fork capital of America. Sustainable agri-businesses showcased their products, farmers markets, and supermarkets provided samples of local foods, and restaurants touting their Farm to Fork menus invited you to taste and to visit. I was at the Sacramento Culinary Salon in the Bank of the West building and took a couple of hours off watching the competition to see what this Farm to Fork thing was all about. See the article about the Culinary Salon here. http://www.sacramentopress.com/headline/87022/Farm_to_Fork_Culinary_Salon_Photos Here are the photos that I captured as I strolled down the mall on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.     Sacramento celebratiing as America’s Farm to Fork Capital.     Green Acres local nursery promoting the idea of urban farming.   They were offering a 4 x 4 foot complete urban farm as a prize.     Talking it up about urban farming.   These dog owners (really their dogs) insisted that this was about farm to bowl and not farm to fork. The Institute of Technology, a sponsor of the […]

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Fresh salmon on the run in Sacramento

It’s the middle of salmon season in Sacramento, the time of year when fishermen and women venture out in small boats on the Sacramento River to catch fish half their size … and then ask a friend to prepare it. All the local grocery stores are filled with salmon sales and, of course, all the food blogs have salmon recipes. Our local cooking blog, bemindfulbehuman.com, gives you the whole package: a fisherman/chef who shows how to fillet that whole salmon you just caught. We are enthusiastic blogger/cooks with a bunch of good recipes, who also know some tasty sides to serve with salmon. We also share where to get really fresh salmon if you don’t like fishing. Here are some sample posts to enjoy. Grilled Salmon with Pico de Pepper Salsa Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Serves: 4 After making the salsa and slicing the squash, grilling took just a few minutes. The result: Perfectly cooked salmon. A nice balance with the freshness of the pattypans, the creamy grilled polenta and the zesty lime crunch of the pepper salsa. Pico de Pepper Salsa Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 60 mins | Serves: 4 A sweet-pepper salsa. Simple, but with a slight zing. Goes great on grilled salmon, polenta and grilled pattypan squash rounds. Thyme Encrusted Salmon with Blackberry […]

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Delta smelt population doubles

The endangered Delta smelt population has made strides to recovery, nearly doubling in population over the past year, according to California Department of Fish and Game officials. That population increase, however, represents a small percentage of its historical population, according to a Wednesday DFG press release. Since counting the fish to find exact numbers would be nearly impossible, DFG collects smaller samples and counts the number of fish in the samples to get an indication of the larger population. The average number of young Delta smelt per sample doubled from 3.8 last year to 8.0 this year, but is a far cry from the height of 39.7 in 1999. Adult Delta smelt also doubled this year, from 0.8 last year to 2.2 this year, with a record high of 62.5 in 1978. Fish and Game biologists attribute the population increase in the finger-sized fish to protection efforts as well as high river flows this year, and it remains to be seen how many of the young fish will reach adulthood. The Delta smelt, which have a one-year life cycle, are only found in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. They were listed as threatened in 1993 under state and federal endangered species lists, and as the population continued to dwindle, they were listed as endangered by the state in 2003. A December survey will provide more […]

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Capitol Aquarium closes after 52 years

Goodbye, Sherbet, the huge orange cyclid that loved to be teased in his tank. Goodbye Moby Dick, the giant gourami that held careful watch over the freshwater fish. Goodbye Capitol Aquarium. The owners of the specialty fish store that has been a fixture at T and 29th streets since 1978 turned out the lights on the tank lids for the last time Wednesday after unsuccessfully trying to find a buyer for the struggling business. “It’s really a sign of the times,” said Bob Pasley, son of Capitol Aquarium owner Grant Pasley. “The business wasn’t supporting itself.” Pasley, 44, said the combination of a bad economy and a sharp decrease in sales contributed to the closure after 52 years in business. The website for the store said it featured more than 500 aquariums with a wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater fish, along with products “for every aquarium hobbyist, from beginner to pro.” “I’ve come here for years,” said Rick Moore, 28, a security guard from Sacramento. “I have a 3,000-gallon pond with 40 Koi carp in it.” When he found out that the business was shutting down, Moore brought his daughters, ages 2 and 3 years old, to the aquarium for one last purchase. “Good luck finding Koi anywhere else for a good price now,” Moore said. Grant Pasley started the business in 1959, […]

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Millions of salmon released into American River

The first of about 3 million young salmon were released into the American River Thursday, and California Department of Fish and Game officials said they will finish the job Friday. They hope those fish will return to spawn within two to five years. “They were spawned, hatched and partially raised at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Rancho Cordova,” said Dana Michaels, information officer for the Department of Fish and Game. About 25 percent of them have coded wire tags in their noses so Fish and Game staff will be able to track how many of them are returning to their native grounds to spawn. The goal, Michaels said, is to return the number of fish to their natural levels – levels that have dropped severely since the Gold Rush. “There used to be millions and millions of salmon before we developed and affected their habitat,” she said. “Our real goal is to improve the return rate. We’d love to get it back to historic numbers.” Releasing the fish under the Jibboom Street bridge in the River District has previously been successful and shown the strongest rates of return, but fish are also released in other areas, she added. One of the other areas is the San Francisco Bay, and there are other river locations as well. The biggest effects Californians have had on the fish […]

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Greenpeace: Co-op exemplifies sustainable seafood

The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op is the best place in the state to purchase sustainable seafood, and No. 2 in the nation, according to Greenpeace. “(The co-op) is one of those great stores that has taken amazing steps in realizing that sustainable seafood is incredibly important,” said Casson Trenor, seafood campaigner for Greenpeace. Greenpeace ranks the 20 biggest grocery store chains on how sustainable their seafood is, and Trenor said some smaller grocers are included as well due to their commitment to ensuring seafood is sustainable. Sustainable seafood is seafood that is not being overfished or fished in hazardous ways that deplete the ocean’s stocks or destroy the environment. Trenor said Greenpeace has a “red list” of 22 species that should not be sold, including common ones such as swordfish, yellowfin tuna, snapper, farm shrimp and farm salmon. Most grocers carry seven or eight, while the co-op carries one or two, which Trenor said is good and not easy to do. What makes it difficult is that so many of the fish on the list are popular and recognizable to customers, and many stores see refusing to stock them as turning away money, Trenor said. The co-op’s seafood manager, Robert Duncan, said he thinks about his kids when it comes to choosing sustainable suppliers. “I have kids, and I want to do my part to […]

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New sewer rules affect residents, environment

New environmental rules for the Sacramento sewer district mean that local residents and businesses will be forced to pay high fees, according to opponents of the regulations. But the new restrictions approved Thursday night will likely be viewed by many others as a big win for clean water and the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Five members of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state regulatory body that oversees water quality in the region, unanimously set new restrictions on the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District just before 11 p.m. on Thursday night. A crowd of more than 330 people gathered for the meeting in Rancho Cordova, which started at 8:30 a.m. Everyone from state senators to farmers had a view on the issue. About 100 people were still in attendance at around 6 p.m. The state’s decision to establish the new rules means that the district will have to overhaul its wastewater systems and pass on the cost to residents and businesses, according to the sanitation district. The state regulators and the sewer district clashed over all the major issues raised in Thursday’s hearing. There was no consensus between the regulators and the sewer district on the scientific need for the new rules, nor on the costs. Stan Dean, the district engineer of the sanitation district, said the district estimated that […]

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American River restoration project one step closer to completion

The steelhead trout and Chinook salmon of the American River have the Bureau of Reclamation to thank for restoring more than 15,000 tons of gravel to increase spawning habitats. A popular spawning site along a two-mile stretch of river below the Nimbus Dam had become too shallow to allow the fish to properly reproduce. “Space was limited. Eggs were laid on top of other eggs. Survival was not what it could be,” said Bureau of Reclamation Fisheries Biologist John Hannon. With the Nimbus Dam blocking downstream flow, Hannon said the good spawning gravel was being carried away by the current without being replenished. Gold mining in the 1800s had left many of the river’s side channels dried or blocked-off, keeping the fish from the vegetated areas that serve as prominent juvenile rearing habitats. Using GPS markers and aerial photographs, the Bureau of Reclamation monitored the “redd spots” where the fish species tend to build nests. “Populations have declined greatly since a record high in 2002,” Hannon said in an e-mail. Regarding the amount of redds (nests) of each species in the generally-popular spawning area near the Nimbus Dam, Hannon said the redd count had fallen to “less than 1%” of its highest peak. In 2008, the Bureau of Reclamation began its five-year plan to restore the fish population, working in partnership with the Water Forum, […]

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An article that isn’t about bicycles

This article will be about all kinds of things but, aside from the title, it won’t mention bicycles. Well, except for that first sentence where I had to write “bicycles” to establish the point. And again, just now, in sentence two – but the use of bicycles in that sentence was purely explanatory. Wait…damn. Hmmm…maybe the reason half the articles here are about bikes is that apparently it’s impossible to avoid writing about them, as I learned above. Why, I bet that we can’t even get through today, a perfectly average Saturday in Sacramento, without some further mention of bicycles. Anyway, on to non-bicycle related news. I was walking in midtown today, minding my own business, when a bicycle messeng…hold on now, this is ridiculous. Mostly ridiculous because I wasn’t even walking in midtown today. Unless crossing a street counts. And I’m betting you had more of a mental image of casual strolling. So, in all honesty, I was mostly driving in midtown today. Well, this evening really. Trying hard, of course, not to hit any poorly lit cycli…argh! OK, I give up. I was going to recount a truly interesting story about a man with a handlebar moustache and a bit of a spare tire, who coped with saddle sores and chain letters until they wheeled him away. But it all seems a bit […]

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Who stocks Southside Park lake? The California Department of Fish and Game

You can fish in downtown Sacramento. The lake in Southside Park has been stocked with fish for the past year by The California Department of Fish and Game. I spoke with a Joe Ferrier at The Department of Fish and Game about the history of the program. Ferrier said that the program to stock urban lakes started fifteen years ago when Fish and Game got a grant from the federal government under the Sport Fish Restoration Act. About five years ago a sewage spill contaminated the lake and Fish and Game stopped stocking the lake until about one year ago. Ferrier said that at that point the lake water was no longer contaminated and likely cleaner than ever. Due to budget constraints Southside Park lake is stocked only twice a year with Trout in the winter and Catfish in the Summer. The Southside Park lake is actually a great habitat for fish. Even without the stocked fish Ferrier suggests there may be other fish living in the lake. Species include Blue Gill, Carpie, Carp, and Catfish. Ferrier said, "That [lake] gets . . . fish that breed out there all the time. Even though there was a fish die-off during the spill, it is a pretty productive lake." Private vendors submit bids to stock Sacramento’s urban lakes. The fish planted in this program do not come […]

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