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Delicious Saturdays in Oregon House
Local to the last bite, food, wine, arts and music were offered up in Oregon House on Saturday in an ongoing promotion of foothills agritourism.
Every Saturday this summer, the Alcouffe Community Center has hosted Local Wine, Food, Art to raise funds for the community-supported events center and promote the work of foothills farmers, ranchers and vintners with North Yuba Grown. Residents and out-of-towners dined on salad, sandwiches and sweets made almost entirely out of Yuba County foothills products.
"It was really exciting. I felt like we were just as happenin' as any New York City scene," said Oregon House resident Freja Nelson. "Just rich with culture and energy, today was very hip to the slow food scene."
With every table in the room occupied, the Oregon House resident skirted between customers offering samples of her foothills product, a soy-free, vegan meat alternative. Not on the menu, small cubes of marinated chops were proffered to anyone interested to enjoy with their meal and wine.
With new menu items each week, Saturday's selection included salad Nicoise, made with greens from RMCS Farms, tomatoes from Filaki Farms, table olives from Apollo, potatoes from rancher Jenny Cavaliere, and green beans and eggs from Township Valley Farm. For dessert, choices included RiverBrook Farm's lavender ice cream and Apollo nectarines topped with grenache-syrah from Grant Eddie Winery.
Oregon House acoustic duo John Winks and Barbara Burton gave customers a taste of "folky rock" while artist Auguste Haboush taught a portraiture lesson in a side room, guiding residents on precise lines and shading that give life to drawn figures.
Nelson could not help but express her excitement over the event's growing popularity.
"It's the core of something much larger," she said. "These (producers) have been here for a long time, but how else do you know when you are driving by that this is here?"
Seated in the front bar, South Lake Tahoe resident Lana Nelson said she was impressed by her meal and wine tasting, which she and friends from Eureka opted for when they found Renaissance Winery closed. She bought a cabin in Brownsville six years ago and has since enjoyed supporting the local wine and food scene, and patronizing the Brownsville farmers market for handmade butter and pies.
"It's got great potential," she said, of residents' desire to become an agritourism destination.
Edible Shasta-Butte publisher Earl Bloor stopped in Saturday as research for a feature piece on the Sierra Wine Trail and was accompanied by former magazine contributor and Marysville resident Rick Bliss, who admittedly, "came for lunch."
"It just seems like a really good idea to connect the wineries up here and expose people to all these great local wines," Bloor said. "Every time I go into Safeway, I think, 'What are you doing when you can get all this fresh local food?'"
With wine glasses in their hands, the men said they were pleased by the enthusiasm of those promoting the foothill products but acknowledge they need more publicity.
"The basic problem for all these folks is people just don't know about it. It's not on their radar," Bliss said, noting he was one of them before Saturday. "They have all these wineries up here I didn't know about until today — and I like wine."