In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
Sometimes sipping a cold beer feels great. Sometimes sipping 18 cold beers feels better. Better than that? Joining hundreds of beer fans on the outfield of the Sacramento River Cats' home turf to sample beers from nearly 70 breweries while listening to live music. A joint effort of Raley Field and the Northern California Brewer’s Guild, the 2012 Raley Field Brewfest distills the thrills of a baseball game without the baseball or rabid mascots. Now in its sixth year, the sprawling celebration covers the playing field's quarter-mile semicircle with local craft-brew vendors, including Auburn Alehouse and Knee Deep Brewing Co., touting their frosty, frothy libations. Near second base, live bands bat good-time tunes into the air as hops and barley funnel into thankful gullets. VIPS gain daylight, vampire-free drinking privileges and bubbly bragging rights with early access and eight beers more than standard tickets.
In the last 10 years, Picture It On Canvas's founder and CEO Bob McKeon has applied more than three decades of software-sales-management experience to create six Internet-based companies. With Picture It On Canvas now his primary focus, McKeon strives to appease all clients with approachable customer service and a no-questions-asked return policy. Picture It On Canvas takes customer-uploaded photographs and prints them on archival-quality material such as canvas, metal, and hand-chiseled slate, forging a durable keepsake for customers to hang on their walls or dangle from the grills of their automobiles. Buyers can also blend several images into a collage or divide one photograph into four color schemes with a kaleidoscopic piece of pop art.
Since 1972, Exotic Plants has encouraged locals to improve their interior air and go green with potted plants. The business stocks a range of low-maintenance plants that thrive indoors, including palms, succulents, cacti, and evergreen chia heads. Since other plants, such as orchids and bonsais, can require a bit more effort, the store holds plant-care workshops and even makes house and office calls to keep plants well maintained. The staff helps indecisive owners select plants during design consultations, and the store offers a selection of plants and blooms for short-term event rental. As Exotic Plants also carries bright pots and natural fertilizer made with Icelandic sea kelp, customers can grab everything they need to help their leafy, spiky, and persnickety friends flourish.
In Polar Bear Auto Care's warehouse-size shop, ASE-certified techs slip under hoods to fix or install air-conditioning and heating systems. Those systems are nearly identical to the factory units, as many of the systems they install are made by the same manufacturers. On their walls hang hundreds of parts, with more stored onsite, including new heater cores as well as compressor mounts for car models from the years 1965 to 1999. This lets them work on all kinds of vehicles, from brand-new cars and tractors to RVs and vintage UFOs. They back up their services with a two-year or 24,000-mile warranty, which extends to electrical repairs as well as the maintenance of steering, exhaust, and brake systems.
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