An evening of local flavor.

If you didn’t read about Lazy Valley Ranch blueberries on the NCGA Co-op page, click here for the link: It’s a good one, and worth reading.

If you didn’t read about Lazy Valley Ranch blueberries on the NCGA Co-op page, click here for the link: It’s a good one, and worth reading.

Today’s story is a big Thank You!!! to the great team at the Flavor of Nevada County Cooking School event last Wednesday evening. Nevada County Grown was front and center with local meats and produce on stage for the chef specialties in the cooking demonstrations. Plus, receiving compliments on the “most eye-catching and beautiful” booth in the expo hall… (perhaps tied for this title with the “mountain of cupcakes” display).

Nevada County Grown /Flavor of Nevada County

The amazing booth was the cooperative effort of Four Frog Farm, Naked Farms, Sunlight Botanicals, Jeannie’s Flowers, Weiss Brothers Nursery and Sunnydaygarden, – representing a sampler of Nevada County’s varied producers, and promoting Nevada County Grown with an overflowing table of fresh vegetables, locally made botanical products, flowers and herbs.

Special thanks also goes to The Union newspaper team for sharing this opportunity with Nevada County Grown producers, and to the chefs onstage for using fresh Nevada County Grown ingredients!

I was only able to slip away from the booth to watch one chef – my personal favorite, Ike Frazee from Ike’s Quarter Cafe in Nevada City. The hall was filled with good cooking smells, as Ike prepared roast lamb (The James Ranch), stuffed roasted peppers (Riverhill Farm and Bakbraken Acres) with chevre (Sierra Nevada Cheese Company), sizzling fig and rosemary glaze (Dinner Bell Farm) and grits, or polenta (Grass Valley Grains), depending on where you learned to eat ‘em.

All of his ingredients were local, and he seasoned his 15 minutes of stage time with plenty of ’shout outs’ to Nevada County Grown and the local producers he works with daily at his restaurant. Emphasizing that local produce is seasonal, Ike’s kitchen is stocked year ’round with peppers that are picked fresh, roasted and stored for use in his recipes any time.

In the Kitchen Expo hall, a great mix of local vendors, representing wineries, restaurants, coffee roasters, caterers, grocers, our favorite local Co-op, and of course cooking schools and kitchen stores !, served samples to a sold out crowd. Local produce and products were featured by faithful supporters – In the Kitchen Cooking School, Diego’s Restaurant, and Calolea Olive Oil. The Food Bank of Nevada County offered samples from their new and very successful garden (that will be worth a story of it’s own …).

Onstage, the chefs, with assistance from culinary students from Nevada Union High School, made themselves comfortable in a “dream kitchen” set complete with (omg!) a bright Ferrari red BlueStar range and stainless refrigerator provided by Hills Flat Lumber in Grass Valley.

Why do I seem to be so excited about this?  Well, other than just being in the same room with that BlueStar range …..   With this event, the Union and Nevada County Grown provided a unique opportunity for a new audience to meet local food growers face to face.

If you’re reading this on the BriarPatch website, you’re so familiar with our farmers that they seem like family. But, believe it or not, there are lots and lots of people out there who still aren’t quite sure that food doesn’t magically appear when you order at a restaurant.  I’m exaggerating, of course, but it was really nice to see the new connections being made.

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