The Farm-to-Fork Series of the Visit Sacramento Podcast is proudly sponsored by Five Star Bank. Five Star Bank works with businesses like the ones listed below that contribute to making Sacramento a great place to live and visit.

New Helvetia Brewing Co.

Dave Gull, Founder of New Helvetia Brewing Co., opened his brewery in an old tortilla factory on Broadway in 2012. The brewery is an homage to Sacramento’s brewing history and recalls the days of Buffalo Beer with its Buffalo Lager. 

Gull also embraces the current focus on sourcing locally with the HIMBY project (Hops in My Backyard).  Customers pay $15 for a pint glass, hop rhizomes and twine – and of course a beer. Then, they go home and plant the hops. Months later, during harvest, customers return with their hops (and get another beer).  Dave’s team brews beer made with hops from Sacramento backyards, and when its released, the growers come back for another round of the beer they helped produce.

Another way New Helvetia Brewing Co. fits in with the farm-to-fork ethos is that, when brewers are done using grains for beer production, local cattle and pig farmers pick them up for free food for the animals (they also save the brewery from paying to have them hauled off to a landfill).

Selby’s Soil Erosion Control

Jay Selby of Selby’s Soil Erosion Control (SSEC) works to prevent erosion.  They ensure large construction projects such as at highways and airports leave no toxins behind that can leech into groundwater and agricultural land.

Formed in 1968 – that’s a full two years before the EPA was created – SSEC has been a leader in preventing soil erosion and contamination in Sacramento. They use straw to cover and protect the ground and bundle it to stop water runoff. The straw comes from Sacramento-area rice fields, and as an added bonus, their use of that straw prevents rice farmers from having to burn their fields as they did in the past.

In addition to construction, SSEC is an integral part of disaster response, such as during the recent fires in Santa Rosa and the Camp Fire, where SSEC reduced the risk of runoff and stabilized the soil. When projects are complete, they work to revegetate the area with native seeds. So, next time you’re driving down the highway and see straw covering some of the ground, it could be Selby’s Soil Erosion Control helping preserve the environment.

Jubilant Earth Nursery and AAA Land Management

Arun Ohri is a farmer who owns both Jubilant Earth Nursery and AAA Land Management. He was raised by a family of farmers who grew peaches on 20 acres in Yuba City.

Thirty-six years ago, they also planted walnut trees in what Ohri describes as really bad conditions – “muck.” Those trees have since adapted to rough conditions. Ohri stresses these aren’t genetically modified trees — they have naturally evolved to be able to thrive in poor soil and Jubilant
Earth Nursery now sells them.

Ohri says these seeds are hardier and make going organic more easy. On his own 1600-acre farm, he currently grows walnuts and almonds. About 400 acres are organic, and he’s working on transitioning the remaining 1,200 acres. As his two young kids are heading to school, Ohri’s next goal is to get more fresh and organic local foods onto school lunch menus.