For four generations, the Cutter family has tilled the land and reaped the harvests of Countryside Farms. The farm opens its gates to strawberry picking in the early summer months, and to cherry picking in June. As the seasons evolve, so do the attractions. When pumpkins reach their peak of ripeness, which is right before they turn into carriages, the farm hosts fall-themed attractions including hayrides and corn mazes. In addition to growing different crops, the farm houses a variety of friendly animals—Quackers the duck, Thanksgiving the turkey, and Dewey the horse, to name a few.
Edible Arrangements' fresh, artful fruit baskets and boxes combine the aesthetic elements and emotive properties of floral arrangements with the juicy deliciousness and socially acceptable edibility of fruit. Enjoy the fruity deliciousness of en elegant box of chocolate-dipped tree candy in a plethora of varietals including strawberries, Anjou pears, apples, oranges, pineapple daisies, and bananas. All the fresh, juicy slices are hand dipped in Edible Arrangements' gourmet semisweet chocolate blend. Receiving a box of dipped fruits can turn a frown into an upright grapefruit wedge, a tear into a three-tiered citrus structure, and a friend into still just a friend, but one with a sweet, balanced diet.
Sakura houses a cornucopia of Japanese delicacies produced both locally and across the Pacific, with friendly grocers on hand to help locate hard-to-find ingredients. Sashimi-grade fish fans across ice, ready to add semitranslucent color to a salad or to blanket rice patties before their bedtime story. Although availability and prices vary, fillets may include ruby-red tuna ($19.99/lb.), glistening salmon ($14.99/lb.), and bashful yellowtail ($24.99/lb.). Among offerings fashioned in Sacramento, fresh tofu ($2.19) joins rice flour pastries from Osaka-ya, including gummy mochi and red bean manju. From farther afield, more than 10 kinds of Pocky sticks and Botan rice candy with edible wrappers satisfy taste buds frustrated by endless passport application rejections.
Al Courchesne, affectionately known as "Farmer Al," planted his first peach orchard in 1976. In the years that followed, he learned the best ways to grow all sorts of other foods too, including apples, plums, and most anything else that can sprout in Californian soil. Eventually, Al started Frog Hollow Farm, producing steady harvests for more than 20 years as a certified organic farmer with a focus on sustainable practices.
Frog Hollow's success likely lies in Al's fine-tuned growing process. As harvest nears, Al and his staff purposely underwater the trees. They also leave every piece of fruit on the branch until it's completely ripened. The process results in a heavily concentrated flavor, which has garnered much attention from national publications, including the New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, O Magazine, and Cooking Light Magazine.
Farmer Al keeps all 133 acres of his farm in constant operation. Therefore, the farm is generally closed off to the public except for occasional special events. Locals, however, have plenty of opportunities to taste the seasonal harvests without secretly stowing away inside incoming shipments of fertilizer. They can buy the fruit at Frog Hollow Farm Market inside of the Ferry Building or get it shipped directly to their home via the farm’s delivery program. Otherwise, they can head to the farm kitchen, where chef Becky Courchesne uses it in turnovers, cookies, and other goods. The farm also sends blemished, but useable produce to their Community Supported Agriculture Program.
The Smiths don't have a family tree. Instead, their legacy stretches back through a long vine, all the way to the heirloom tomato farmers of Spain. In the 1970s, Janice, Ken, Bill, and Shirley Smith opened Smith Family Farm to carry on that legacy. Their staff has since grown to include cousins, other relatives, and family friends, all of whom lend a hand in growing the farm's seasonal produce. The literal fruits of their labor arrive at The Smith Family Farm Fruit Stand, which showcases a rotating selection of fresh basil, strawberries, peppers (both hot and sweet), and various other fruits and veggies.
The farm itself also welcomes visitors. Throughout the growing season, its gardens invite families to pick their own fresh fruits and vegetables, including plums, apricots, and squash. The farmers themselves double as educators, and their spring tours for elementary and preschool-aged children lift the curtain on farm life?which, of course, includes opportunities to dance along to bluegrass music.
The cooks at Velvet Grill & Creamery understand the timelessness of classic diner fare and a cold scoop of ice cream. All day long, they make breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes from scratch and churn out fresh batches of more than 20 ice-cream flavors. Breakfast seekers satisfy savory cravings with three-egg omelets stuffed with ingredients such as avocado, crab, linguiça, and feta cheese. Sweet teeth tear into Velvet's original pancakes, made with real oatmeal and buttermilk from a special house recipe. Later-day options include classic comfort fare such as chicken-fried steak and smoked pork chops doused with an apricot glaze. Among the sandwich selection, the house-special mega grilled cheese ($7.39) combines four kinds of melted, gooey cheese between three slices of bread to form a meal hefty enough to knock over Mechagodzilla should he return from his semester abroad in Prague. Diners can also lap up the eatery's rotating selection of homemade ice creams, which were spotlighted in the Lodi News-Sentinel for their incorporation of such unconventional ingredients as wine and butternut squash. Customers can also suggest new flavors and request special batches, which in the past have included licorice, bacon, and the sweet, sweet taste of victory over chinese finger traps.