I’m always filled with inspiration when I visit cheery Newcastle Produce, perched atop a hill in this tiny gold country town. Brimming with local products – most notably a luscious array of freshly-plucked produce from nearby farms – this eclectic community gathering spot also offers lots of pre-prepared food items (don’t miss the rustic, house-baked quiche). Right now, Newcastle Produce has a wonderful selection of citrus – from blood oranges and Clementines to aromatic, sunny yellow Meyer lemons; as well as wooden boxes filled with gnarled, multi-colored squash and a raft of heirloom potatoes. The store is a hop, skip and a jump off of Highway 80, and well worth the drive if you’re craving some wholesome, fresh local food items.
9230 Cypress Street, Newcastle, (916) 663-2016; www.newcastleproduce.net