There are serious reasons to buy local, especially with a pandemic threatening the national food chain as well as the economic livelihood of small farms and businesses. But there is honestly an even more compelling reason right now: It’s fun. Here are just a few local sources to check out.
R. Kelley Farms
What you get: The 60-acre u-pick family farm in the Sacramento River Delta now offers online shopping of ripe produce that is boxed up for you: sweet corn, green tomatoes, okra, purple hull beans, peppers, onions, melons and cucumbers.
Where it’s from: All products are grown on the farm.
Customizable: Absolutely—you point and click.
Cost: Range includes $.75 (for a pound of yellow onions), $2.06 (for five ears of corn), $8–$9 (for a watermelon).
How you get it: Pick up your order at the farm stand on Wednesdays and Saturdays (1120 Scribner Road, Sacramento) or on Saturdays at the Oak Park Farmers Market (McClatchy Park).
Fun fact: Owners Ron Kelley and his wife, Ella, started with a 2-acre hobby farm in the 1990s so he could better advise the growers he worked with.
What you get: Billed as a food tour of the Sacramento region without leaving home, the box includes five to seven shelf-stable items. (Think coffee, tea, barbecue sauce, honey, almonds, soda/cocktail syrups, olive oil or rice.)
Where it’s from: Vendors vary, but most are Sacramento-based—or from nearby Yolo and Yuba counties.
Customizable: No—SacTown Bites curates the selection for you, but you can preview boxes online before delivery.
Cost: $85/one-time box; $215/quarterly subscription; $836/annual subscription (free shipping)
How you get it: It arrives right at your door around the 15th of the month.
Fun fact: You also get inside info on the individual farmers and makers, plus recipes and serving suggestions.
Real Food To Go
What you get: Dinner for two to four people, prepared by Laura Kenney, a classically trained chef, cookbook author and farmer advocate.
Customizable: Yes—choose from five or six regular offerings (including lasagna and roasted chicken enchiladas) and two seasonal entrées that change each week (like slow-roasted barbecued pork with parmesan polenta and sautéed greens).
Where it’s from: Everything is made from scratch on-site; most ingredients are from farms and ranches in Placer County.Cost: $12–$45
How you get it: Order online by the day, the week or the month—and pick up your order at Kenney’s kitchen between 3 and 6 p.m. Wednesdays or Fridays (510 Auburn Ravine Road, Auburn).
Fun fact: Watch for Kenney’s camping Fridays (three–bean tri-tip chili or macaroni and three cheeses), as well as special menus for your “small, socially distanced” holiday gatherings.
Farm Fresh To You
What you get: This second-generation family-owned Capay Valley farm delivers organic produce in small or large boxes: mixed fruit and veggie, fruit only, veggie only and snacks/no cooking.
Customizable: Yes—you’re invited to customize your box on the website before delivery, deleting things you don’t want and adding things you do (x-out beets for Yellow Finn potatoes or pears for apples).You can also add on locally produced items like sourdough bread, milk, eggs, French yogurt, meat and flowers.
Where it’s from: The traditional CSA box is from the Barsotti/Barnes’ farm and their farming neighbors. Farms, dairies and ranches from around the region also supply produce and products for delivery; all are organic and use sustainable practices.
Cost: $27.50–$61.00 (add-ons are extra)
How you get it: Select a box and delivery frequency on the website; boxes are delivered to your door in the cool of night or early morning.
Fun fact: Co-owner Thaddeus Barsotti is a gifted writer—check out his charming blog that gives poetic updates about life on the farm. The recipes also exceed expectations.