Exploring California – My visit to the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg
It was an exploring kinda day and the Old Sugar mill in Clarksburg was calling to me! It has been raining almost every day the past 3 weeks in California. Very out of the ordinary as the state has been in drought for the past 4 years. Not only are we having a lot of rainfall this winter, but plenty of snow as well up in the mountains.
Because of the cold, wet and windy weather, I have stayed predominantly indoors or explored locally during rain pauses. For a while now, my friend has been suggesting I visit a group of vineyards by the river just south of Sacramento. This past weekend, I figured it the would be the perfect little escape considering the weather. However , we first drove to Davis to check out the Farmer’s Market.
Davis is a small town just 20 minutes west of Sacramento. It is home to the University of California Davis campus, which is the largest UC campus. It spans 5,300 acres while UC Santa Cruz, the 2nd largest campus, is only 2,000 acres in comparison. UC Davis is ranked 1st in the world for veterinary medicine, and 1st nationally for agriculture.
My goal is to return here in the spring or summer to visit the hundred acre UC Davis Arboretum. I think I will definitely bring a bike then!
I found a couple of interesting produce at the Davis Farmer’s Market. One I was not expecting to find, while the other I have never seen or even heard of before. Seeing these sugar canes below brought back many childhood memories. My grandparents owned a farm in the Philippines so a great variety of fruits/roots/veggies were abundantly available to us. As children, my siblings, cousins, and I snacked on sugar cane, cacao fruit, coconuts, guavas, pili nuts, santol (or wild mangosteen), and caimito (star apple).
I also discovered kohlrabi. I had to ask the couple selling them how kholrabis are used in dishes as I am not at all familiar with this vegetable. They explained that it is a great addition to salad and soups. If I had to describe how it tastes like, I would say it has the texture of jicama but has a nuttier flavor.
After picking up a couple of kohlrabis to try and a few other produce, we drove back to Sacramento and stopped by the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg.
This sugar factory was constructed in 1934, and sections of it was transported to Clarksburg with the use of the railroad. The factory eventually closed in 1993 but it was renovated and turned into a winery in 2000. Today, it houses several of the local wineries’ tasting rooms. The best part is that it is indoors so I did not have to worry about the weather.
I stopped by the Carvalho Family Winery, and I tried 5 different wines for $5! My favorite was the Boat Shed Red Lot 4.
This hall (above photo) used to be a railroad stop where sacks of sugar were loaded into cars to be transported and below, this hall is currently utilized for weddings and other events. I personally love its rustic character and its roominess for dancing.
At home, I made some corn fritter and crab salad on belgian endive leaves with avocado.
These are simple recipes from the Davis Farmers Market cookbook. I paired these dishes with my leftover Beringer Chenin Blanc from Napa. It was a delicious way to end the weekend!