**Note: This post was originally published on Feb. 8th, 2012. It has been re-posted here from our former blog space**
Produce Plus - Local Farms and Specialty Purveyors
Here at Coffeebar, we feel that the best foods start with the best ingredients. And the best ingredients are those that are fresh, local and sustainably farmed — good for your tummy and the environment! This is why we make every effort to buy local and organic whenever possible, and make sure the food on your plate is a fresh as can be. In that effort, we rely on Tahoe-based Produce Plus, which delivers fresh produce to us several times a week. We encourage you to learn more about the company, and the California farms they do business with, in order to better understand where our own produce comes from, and in order to support these local businesses working hard to bring delicious, fresh foods to the Tahoe/Truckee area.
Produce Plus, owned and operated by longtime North Lake Tahoe residents the Habeger’s, is a strong advocate of the ‘Buy Fresh, Buy Local’ concept and, to that end, has established relationships with a variety of farms for the express purpose of supporting local farmers and offering its customers (including Coffeebar!) the fresh fruits and vegetables grown by these farmers. With a few exceptions (micro greens from San Diego), most farms are within 120 miles of the Produce Plus service area. Learn more about the farms providing products to Produce Plus — and to numerous restaurants in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area — below. Produce Plus delivers to the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. They are known for local and organic items and can procure almost any specialty item overnight. Visit the Produce Plus website to learn more about their products and availability, what’s in season, market outlook, order information, and fresh food resources. Also, check out a recent article on Produce Plus, featured in the Sierra Sun’s “Meet Your Merchant” section.
Del Rio Botanical – Often referred to as “the Produce Plus farm,” Del Rio, a 78-acre farm located in Elkhorn, Yolo County, is a year-round supplier of organic produce exclusively to Produce Plus. Farm owner Suzanne Ashworth plants an extensive variety of well-known and heirloom crops. Daily delivery from Del Rio creates a true farm-to-restaurant approach with product going from field to table overnight. All products are certified organic.
Dwelley Farm - Mark Dwelley and his family grow a variety of summer crops on their 800-acre farm in Brentwood, Calif., a long established agricultural area in Contra Costa County. The family has been farming since 1923. Dwelley Farm supplies Produce Plus with fresh beans, corn and varietal stonefruit. Products are picked up directly three times per week during the season (late spring through summer), adding to the freshness and quality of the crops.
Castaneda Brothers – Silverio Castaneda and his family farm on 200 acres in Suisun Valley, a few miles past Fairfield in Solano County. There is often a fog bank surrounding the hills and the farm experiences cool mornings before the afternoon heat sets in. The family, who began farming in 1978, grows a dozen varieties of squash, as well as tomatillos, peppers and melons.
Mandarin Hill Orchards – Mandarin Hill Orchards is a small family farm owned and operated for three generations by the Aquilar Family. Frank Aquilar first planted Mandarin trees in Penryn in 1943 and began selling the fruit commercially in the 1950’s. Today, there are 23 mandarin growers in and around the foothill towns of Lincoln and Newcastle. Mandarin Hill Orchards provides Produce Plus with satsuma mandarins from their 20-acre farm.
Gotelli Farms – The Gotelli family has been growing cherries in the San Joaquin Valley for over 50 years and currently farms several hundred acres in Lodi, Stockton, Linden and Bakersfield, Calif. They have over a dozen varieties and sell to local as well as overseas markets. They supply Produce Plus with Brooks, Bing and Rainier cherry varieties.
Yeung Farms – Ray Yeung and his family, who’ve been farming since 1950, farm in 60 acres of fields along the Sacramento River in Yolo County. Ray’s tomatoes have become a summer staple in the Produce Plus warehouse. ‘Uncle Ray’ grows more than 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes as well as ‘Early Girl’ and ‘Shady Lady’ red tomatoes. Yeung Farms is also a source for melons, pumpkins and winter squash.
Riverdog Farm – Riverdog Farm, owned by Tim Mueller and Trini Campbell, is one of the many organic farms growing produce in the Capay Valley-Cache Creek area of Yolo County, Calif. Riverdog, farming since 1994 on 200 acres and certified organic, offers an extensive list of seasonal fruits and vegetables on an almost year-round basis (they take just two weeks off at Christmas). Riverdog produce is ‘picked to order,’ ensuring high quality, fresh organic produce.
Twin Peaks – Twin Peaks Orchard is a 100-acre farm located in the low Sierra foothills, halfway between Newcastle and Lincoln. The orchard was originally established by Japanese immigrants, the Nakae family, in 1912. Climate-warm days, cool nights and topography of rolling foothils with well-drained soil enables farm owners Raul and Sheila Enriquez to produce firm, ripe stone fruit, with great color and high sugar content, including Asian pears, blood oranges and persimmons.
Larsen Apple Barn - Larsen Apple Barn, established in 1860, is the oldest familly-owned and -operated farm in the area known as Apple Hill. Located a few miles north of Placerville, Apple Hill is home to over three dozen farms growing a variety of apples and other seasonal fruit. The Larsen’s grow Granny Smith and Fuji as well as specialty types like Pink Lady and Winesap, in addition to other crops such as pumpkins and pears, on their 46-acre farm. Crops are available from Sept. to Nov.
Stillwater Orchards – David Elliot & Sons grow, pack and ship a variety of seasonal pears and cherries from Stillwater Orchards in the summer and fall. The orchards, which cover 600 acres, are located near the town of Courtland in the Sacramento Delta. The Elliots have been farming in this region since the 1850’s. The rich Delta soil created by the Sacramento River produces some of the best pears in the country.