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Healthy Foods

Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork festival highlights national obsession with local eats

The farm-to-table movement has taken over America’s culinary scene but one city is living up to its self-appointed title as the farm-to-fork capital of the country.

Over 75,000 people descended on Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 24 for the city’s fourth annual Farm-to-Fork festival—a food-focused event bringing together farmers, ranchers and plenty of eager localvores to connect over locally grown and raised foods.  Farm-To-Fork participants were also treated to a day’s worth of live music at the street festival, including the sweet stylings of Bob Dylan’s son Jakob, who performed with his group The Wallflowers.  

In many parts of the country, the local movement is inhibited by seasons. But Sacramento has a distinct advantage, making it an ideal spot to enjoy fresh produce year round.

“The biggest challenge for different parts of the nation, is that they don't have the climate we have,”  Visit Sacramento’s Chief Operating officer Mike Testa tells Fox News. “We've got a Mediterranean climate, we've got a year round growing cycle, so while it's winter and snowing around the rest of the country, we've got strawberries coming out of the ground.”

According to the California Department of Agriculture, the state grows over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruit supply. The Sacramento region produces over 160 different crops including wine grapes— the number one product accounting for $128 million—and tomatoes. Sacramento has 1.5 million acres of ranch and farmland, producing 96 percent all processed tomatoes in the U.S. (and 33 percent globally). The region also produces over 99 percent of all sushi rice in the country.

“People would be surprised about how much of our fresh produce is being locally sourced,” says Steve Hammond, president and CEO of Visit Sacramento. “The farm-to-fork initiative has hit all of our restaurants, so people can go in and basically eat something that’s come off the farm that morning."

The Farm-to-Fork festival, a testament to celebrating local farmers, culminated in a seated gourmet dinner – which sold out in just 15 seconds-- on one of the city’s most iconic landmarks: the Tower Bridge. Eight hundred lucky attendees dined al fresco, feasting on locally sourced foods prepared by some of the city’s top culinary talent. At dusk, diners were treated to final surprise, an aerial show from the Navy's Blue Angels.