Fork this

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Spring to the market: When “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” replaced “City of Trees” on Sacramento’s most visible water tower on March 9, critics derided the move as an unrepresentative gimmick—perhaps because the city’s arboreal scene is much more visible. But with the direction decided, the Midtown Farmers Market strives to be an exemplary jewel in the reinvention.

“Our goal isn’t to have 14 beet vendors,” said Emily Baime Michaels, executive director of the Midtown Association. “Our goal is to have an affordable and beautiful beet vendor that has three kinds of beets.”

Since starting in a parking lot in 2013, the market has stretched its legs across two-and-a-half blocks (J-L streets on 20th Street), boasting 90 vendors now that spring has sprung. Contrary to the utilitarian under-the-freeway market on Sundays, this Saturday market strives for a more boutique (if a bit bourgie) experience. Under the sycamore canopy, it offers artisanal crafts and upscale prepared foods like sauerkraut and smoked fish, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables from top-notch farmers.

On April 1, Rick Mahan, chef and owner of The Waterboy (2000 Capitol Avenue), will give a cooking demonstration. And on April 15, there will be a fruitcentric Easter egg hunt for children that Michaels calls “really cute.” She hopes the market encourages more people to spend their Saturday afternoons browsing around Midtown.

“Stroll through the market, get your doughnut, get your produce, buy some crafts and then sit down at LowBrau for a mimosa and a big ol’ scramble,” she said. “What’s more ideal than that?”

In the future, the market might be eyeing an expansion all the way down L Street, as well as into some parking lots and alleys, perhaps someday featuring up to 150 vendors.

“It was more efficient for us to expand the market than to tell all [the applying vendors], ’No,’” Michaels said about the move from the lot to the street. “And we’re getting in that position again.”

Sunday special: Hawks Public House (1525 Alhambra Boulevard) recently hired Dane Blom, formerly of Grange, and by way of introduction they’ll be hosting a casual Sunday Dinner for Two series from now on. For a relatively affordable $45, Chef Blom whips up a Caesar salad, garlic bread and one of two pasta choices to share. For some chemically induced fun, add a bottle of wine for $25. On March 26, he started with baked rigatoni or truffled pecorino with garlic and fennel sausage, then finished with sweet cream gelato.