Have you driven Highway 80 lately? If you were traveling to Sacramento or Lake Tahoe, you may have noticed an exciting new attraction along the way. The Nut Tree in Vacaville -- a part of the history of the area since the 1920's -- has reopened and has new retail stores, restaurants, and rides for children.
One of the new shops in the "Nut Tree Village" is the Capay Valley Valley Farm Shop. The Capay Valley is an area of Yolo County, approximately 100 miles northeast of San Francisco. It's an abundant growing region where fruit and vegetable crops in addition to wheat, wine, beef, lamb, olive oil, honey, walnuts and almonds are produced. Farmers of the Capay Valley joined together to create the Capay Valley Farm Shop in a location convenient to the many drivers on Highway 80.
That the Farm Shop is located in the historic Nut Tree complex is fitting. The Nut Tree history is integral to the California food movement, and Alice Waters has praised the Nut Tree for being important in the creation of California Cuisine. It started as a fruit stand, and eventually became a stopping point for dignitaries, travelers, and locals alike who were looking for good, fresh food and innovative cuisine.
Visitors to the Farm Shop will find Capay Valley produce, seasonally prepared foods including salads and sandwiches, and gift items such as lavender products, honey, and jam. Over the course of a year, the Farm Shop will feature products from 42 Capay Valley farms. Thomas Nelson, a co-owner of the shop, says that the Farm Shop is modeled after the farm shop concept in England, where it is common to have shops convenient for customers with carefully selected local produce and other items.
I visited the Farm Shop several weeks ago, and was excited to have a brick-and-mortar location to pick up some of my favorite Capay Valley items including dried wheat berries from Full Belly Farm, fresh figs, and potatoes. This location is a quick and convenient stop-off for produce, cheese, crackers, wine and sandwiches on any trips east of San Francisco.