Sacramento is surrounded by 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches and is home to the largest farmer’s market in the state. Local restaurants utilize the abundance of the products grown in the surrounding area to create innovative and fresh seasonal cuisine bursting with local flavor. While Sacramento has many distinct regions with unique identities, it’s this celebration of agriculture that has led the city to adopt the slogan of “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital”.
Sacramento has been a Gold Rush town, an epicenter for innovation and transportation, a government town, and a City of Trees. But it’s Sacramento’s connection to agriculture that has earned its Farm-to-Fork moniker.
How the Railyards Ushered in an Agricultural Era to California
Sacramento’s success as an agricultural region wouldn’t have been possible without the innovation and technology that came from the Railyards.
In its early days, mining and ranching defined the state of California. In 1870, the first ice-cooled freight car was built in the Sacramento Railyard shops and California’s agricultural products began to make their way from west coast to east. As trains transported California produce across the country the agricultural industry boomed. In the Sacramento Valley, agriculture would go onto become the region’s most profitable industry.
Now, nearly 150 years later, Sacramento is fully embracing its identity as an agricultural and food destination.
As the Railyards development moves forward, how will the nation’s largest infill project pay homage to the Farm-to-Fork culture it helped create?
Image courtesy of Octavio Valencia Photography
Honoring Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Culture in the Railyards
The Railyards will reshape the Sacramento region; the 244 acre project will essentially double the size of downtown Sacramento. The Railyards plan is to create a thriving mixed-use community with residential housing, a regional job center, open park spaces, and cultural amenities including the Central Shops District, filled with restaurants and retail space.
Which means there are a lot of opportunities for the Railyards to support the city’s Farm-to-Fork culture.
A Place for Events
Regional events that celebrate Farm-to-Fork culture are always taking place in Sacramento and surrounding areas. From the SacraTomato Festival on July 22 to Sacramento’s Legends of Wine event in September, events bring the community together to taste the best that Sacramento’s local food scene has to offer.
But for the biggest fans of the region’s offerings, the must-attend event of the year is the Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Festival, which takes place in September. More than 50,000 attendees flocked to the 2016 festival at Capitol Mall to celebrate with a variety of food, beer and wine, cooking demonstrations and live music. If you love Sacramento’s food scene, the Farm-to-Fork Festival is the event of the year.
The Railyards historic Central Shops have proven to be a big draw for events. Even before development began on the project, the Central Shops have been the destination of choice for a number of events, such as Sacramento Fashion Week, Breathe Fest, and Habitat for Humanity Hardhat and High Heels Gala, to name a few.
As The Central Shops are restored and transformed, only time will tell what other community events will take place in the historic buildings where towering locomotives were once built.
A Home for Farmers Markets
The Sacramento area is home to more than 40 regional farmers markets—including the largest California Certified Farmers’ Market in the state.
When the Railyards asked Sacramento residents to take the Residential Survey and describe your vision of urban living in the development, many of your responses included a desire for a farmer’s market inside the community.
With a 10-acre public park, five smaller neighborhood parks, and the Central Shops planned for the Railyards, there are plenty of opportunities to add to the number of farmer’s markets already in the Sacramento region.
Taking Inspiration from America’s Best Public Markets
One of America’s most acclaimed public markets has been an instrumental inspiration to the vision of the Railyards development: the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco.
The Railyards is working with BCV Architects, whose portfolio includes the Ferry Building in San Francisco and Napa’s Oxbow Market, to design the Central Shops District.
Hans Baldauf, principal of BCV Architects, sees a continuity between the Ferry Building project and the Railyards Central Shops District. Baldauf’s design for the Central Shops is comprised of a mix of modern and historic buildings with eateries, entertainment, art galleries, and retail shops surrounding a central plaza to become a space that will serve as the heart of the community,
Both the Ferry Building and Oxbow Market are world-class public food markets that showcase the best regional and artisanal food products and crops. Under the experienced hand of BVC Architects, there’s no question that the Central Shops District in the Railyards will become a destination of equal caliber.
From food halls and local eateries inside a Ferry Building-inspired central marketplace, to farmer’s markets and Farm-to-Fork events, Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork culture is sure to be represented and celebrated at the Railyards.
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