Monday, August 31, 2015

UCCE Master Gardeners' 2015 Best Tomato Tasting Results

There were 52 entries for the UCCE Master Gardeners of Amador County Tomato Tasting Contest at the Sutter Creek Farmer’s market on August 22, 2015. Contestants came from Herald to Volcano, Plymouth to Jackson and towns in-between. Our many thanks go to the Amador Farmer’s Market in Sutter Creek again for featuring the event.
The largest tomato category brought in a 19 1/2 ounce “Brandywine” from Jim Carr of Volcano.  Tied for largest size second place was a 15 ¾ oz. “Dr. Wyche” yellow tomato by grower Tom Jillson of Hearld, and a yellow “Brandywine” from  Jim Carr.
For the cherry tomato taste category, the “Sungold” cherry has a new winner - our own Master Gardener, John Otto of Sutter Creek. Dethroned David Brubaker (Sutter Creek) was second by one point; Deb Lyons (Pine Grove) third.  Noreen Goff’s “Green Grape” and Deb’s “Sweet Million” were in the running.
In the non-red taste category, first prize went to “Dr. Wysch’s” orange tomato from Tom Jillson, second place was Deb’s Japanese “Black Trifele”. Third place went to Ed Morin (Jackson) with “Evergreen” - his first entry with us.  Second and third places were decided in multiple runoffs with “Green Zebra” and “Aunt Ruby’s German Green" running close behind.
The best tasting Red tomato was won by Deb Lyons with “Phoenix”. Josh Hendricks of Herald, was second with “Ace”, Deb took third with “Genuine”. “Early Girl” lost in the runoff.
Many thanks to our enthusiastic entrants, despite a crazy growing year. The large variety of cherry tomatoes entered seemed to have weathered the drought by great gardening practices.  The volunteers were fantastic, along with our judges.  Steve Muni of Hometown radio, Darius Somary, consultant, and Mark Berkner of Taste are to be congratulated on dealing with the number of difficult runoffs this year.
Consider growing the tomatoes mentioned for your garden next year.
Bobbie Brubaker, Master Gardener

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Labor Day Weekend Tomato Fest in Amador City - Sat Sept 5

Labor Day Weekend Tomato Fest
Amador City’s Biggest Little Tomato Festival

California’s smallest incorporated city will celebrate Labor Day weekend with a tomato festival.  Farmers’ market tomatoes as well as award winning local wines and an array of tomato centric foods will be available.  Also offered is a tomato carnival complete with a dunk tank and tomato toss.  The food, wine and activities will take place Saturday, September 5 from 12 p. m. to 4 p. m.

Harmony Hill Farm will have a stand in town with their tomatoes grown by Emily Beals. They are a small, organic farm on the South Fork of the Cosumnes River three miles south of Mt. Aukum, California.

Forty year old Buffalo Chips restaurant will be open with a classic American menu with ingredients that are increasingly organic.  Ashley Putz’ care shows in her foods.  She will serve tomato pies and a savory tomato jam made of organic tomatoes from her kitchen garden in nearby Sutter Creek.  Pair a craft beer with the best burger in the county.

Feist Wines will feature a small plate menu all weekend with a Caprese salad with local Del Rio tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, artisan cheese plates and an heirloom tomato salad.  The house band featuring winemaker Tony Feist and Allen Frank will play a variety of Americana music Saturday 1pm to 4 pm. The Feists recently received a gold medal and Best of Class award for their 2014 Shenandoah Valley Viognier at the Amador County Fair.

Legendre Cellars will serve Northwest Bay Shrimp Cocktails and Harvest Gazpacho paired with 2014 Viognier and a white Rhone Blend "Sluicebox" on their charming back patio.  This family winery produces only 800 cases of wine a year at their Fiddletown location.

Uphill Vineyards is an unassuming tasting room with a lovely balcony over the creek and features excellent wines.  They will offer various tomato noshings for the fest served with a lively Rosato di Primitivo which was awarded a double gold medal at the prestigious California State Fair.

Amador City is well known for its charming antique stores and boutiques as well as the Amador Whitney museum which is full of local gold rush history.  Visitors will enjoy small town peace and get plenty of tomatoes!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Preston Castle Wine Tasting and Tour - Sat Sept 12

IONE, CA:  Taste the fine wines of Amador County and enjoy the aura of the historic and majestic Preston Castle.  Experience the history and feel the sensation of the past.  Attendees will sample fine wines, poured by 15 different Amador wineries, from commemorative Preston Castle wine glasses.
Sip a glass of wine, enjoy a variety of gourmet hors d'oeuvres, and listen to live music on the patio where the food will be served, and in Wine Cellar where the wineries will be pouring. The popular Midtown Jazz will be performing on the courtyard. They play a wide variety of music, ranging from jazz to light rock to R&B and can even mix it up on occasion by adding a few Latin and Country/Western tunes.  Local favorite Manny Sosa will be providing wonderful wine tasting music in the cellar.  Also, you will be able to take a self-guided tour of the public areas in the Castle, where docents will be on hand to answer your questions.
This is the 11th Annual Preston Castle Wine Tasting and Tour.  It continues to be one of Amador County's premier wine events, and is always a sellout, so get your tickets now!
Participating Wineries include:
Bella Grace, Bray, Clos du Lac, Drytown, Karmere, Nine Gables, Sera Fina, Sobon, Story, Tanis, TKC, Terra d’Oro, Turley, Vino Noceto, Wine Tree Farm.
Tickets, $40, available at Clark's Corner in Ione, the Castle on tour days, or online at
Preston Castle Wine Tasting and Tour
Saturday, September 12, 2015, 3 pm to 6 pm
$40  (Advance sales only)
Sponsored by Preston Castle Foundation
Jerry Funderburgh, Chairperson
Preston Castle, 900 Palm Drive, Ione, CA
35 miles southeast of Sacramento, CA off HWY 104 in Ione

About Preston Castle Foundation
The strikingly beautiful Romanesque style Preston Castle, on a hill in Ione, was actually the administration building for the Preston School of Industry, the first major attempt in California at rehabilitating, instead of just impris­­­oning, young offenders.  Opened in 1894, the Preston School of Industry became a leader in the juvenile prison reform movement by giving convicted boys a real chance at life by educating them not only in academics, but in all of the useful trades of the time.  Closed in 1960, when the Preston Youth Authority moved into a new administration building down the hill, the Preston Castle was left to deteriorate due to weather, vandalism, and general neglect.  It now serves as a vacant, but vitally important landmark for Ione, Amador County, and the Motherlode.  It is a California State Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Mission of the Preston Castle Foundation is to preserve, rehabilitate, and utilize the historic Preston Castle site.  We are proud of the fact that the State of California has deeded the title for the Castle, four other buildings, and surrounding 13 acres of land, to the Preston Castle Foundation.  This year we are working hard to obtain our own water and sewer connections.  To help raise money for this important project, the Foundation sponsors several fund raising events throughout the year.
In addition to the upcoming Wine Tasting and Tour on September 12, we will hold the exciting and spooky Preston Castle Halloween Haunt the weekends prior to Halloween, October 16, 17, 23, 24, and 30, a fun filled Halloween Costume Ball on Halloween night, October 31, and a holiday fair/bazaar called Old Tyme Christmas on December 12 and 13.
Help Save The Castle and learn more about our history, events, and tours by visiting  All contributions are tax deductible.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What's Happenin' at The Union in Volcano?

How The West was FUN!

Do you like Beer?  Do you like Food? 
  Then we have the event for you!
AMADOR BREWING  and the Volcano Union
6pm   Wednesday, August 12
Amazing Beers, Delicious Food
Under the Summer Sky

Dinner and a Movie 
Monday August 17th
Movie begins at 6:30  
no charge, just come and enjoy! 

Thursday Comedy Night 

at The Union!

         August 13th - Danny Minch

Danny is a regular at the Hollywood Improv, Brea Improv, the Ice House, the Comedy Store and the John Lovitz Comedy Club and also tours across the US. He has opened for comedians such as Brad Garrett, Jim Jefferies, Rudy Moreno, and Jeff Garcia.

with Jenn Felix 

Jenn's comedy will take you on an uncomfortably awkward ride exploring her world of work, family, dating and her stout stature. Jenn has been described as delightfully awkward, adorable, and, hilarious by audiences alike. When she's not studying engineering at Fresno State, you can find Jenn performing up and down California opening and featuring for some of the best comics on the road today. Jenn now runs a weekly show in Fresno with her fiancée and fellow comedian Danny Minch.

Just $5 - plus dinner/drinks
6pm dinner - 7pm show
Call for reservations -  209-296-7711
Seating is limited 

The Volcano Union Inn 
proudly presents 
Do you know of a kid's camp, school team, or some organization that needs a little help with $$? The Union will donate corkage fees on Fridays to your cause, camp, team or non profit. For more info or to reserve your date, call Ed Tracey at The Union 

Always Happening at the Union
Pub Specials
Thirsty Thursday
Sandwich and a Draft Beer $12
Lunch Fish & Chips special
Live Music from 4 to 6
Monday Supper
three-courses for $24
Inn Specials
Great rates for Tuesday/Wednesday stays at the inn
Let us help you plan a couples weekend or a mommy getaway with wine tasting, dinner and transportation

The Volcano Union Pub + Inn
21375 Consolation Street
Volcano, CA 95689