Written by Kaya Williams

Local food growers abound in the Reno-Tahoe area. The secret is knowing how to find them — and with the upcoming Growing NV Local Food Week celebration, getting to know your neighborhood farmer just got a whole lot easier.

Melons are just one kind of local food item that will be available during Local Food Week.

The inaugural event series, running Aug. 11th through 17th, aims to “connect the face of the farmer to the heart of the community” and raise awareness for Reno’s bountiful local food system, according to Jolene Cook, a project manager for NEON Creative Agency.

Local Food Week allows several groups of people who are passionate about sustainability and accountability to “cross-pollinate,” and offers a structured way for families and community members to “have delicious and healthy fun,” Cook adds.

NEON, which works on solutions for specialty crop issues, developed the concept of Growing NV with event support from NevadaGrown, a nonprofit focused on sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. Additional funding for the week’s events comes from the Nevada Department of Agriculture, which supplies federally funded grants to entities working with specialty crops.

The week will feature a cornucopia of events celebrating local food producers — connecting diners’ hearts, minds, and bellies to the farmers, vendors, and restaurateurs that support Nevada-grown crops. Many of the events are free with minimal to no advance registration required; details for all events can be found on the Growing NV Facebook page.

Green-thumbed participants can kick off the weeklong slate of events on Sunday with a tour of Saint Mary’s Community Garden in Reno from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Soulful Seeds, a Reno-based gardening nonprofit, hosts the event; the organization’s founder, Earstin Whitten, will guide attendees through creating their own community gardens, too. (Read our story, “Growing Hope,” about Whitten, the Saint Mary’s Garden, and Soulful Seeds in our Summer 2019 issue!)

Following Monday afternoon’s invitation-only farm and restaurant trade mixer at Great Basin Brewing Co. in Sparks. NevadaGrown hosts the Meet Your (Food) Makers event from 5 to 7 p.m. At this open-to-the-public event, attendees can get to know their local food purveyors over free Great Basin beer and appetizers for purchase.

Tomatoes take center stage at Tuesday’s (virtual) festivities. All are encouraged to post pictures of tomato dishes or recipes — with the hashtags #TomatoTuesday and #GrowingNV, of course — for the chance to win the Top Tomato Prize: the winning public entry will receive a $50 gift certificate at The Cheese Board in Reno, and the winning restaurant entry will receive a case of Nevada-grown tomatoes from Great Basin Community Food Co-op’s DROPP program in Reno.

Come Wednesday, participants can don their aprons for a 6 p.m. cooking class at Nothing To It! Culinary Center in Reno. Cast Iron Cooking will incorporate locally grown ingredients in a hands-on class led by chef Lara Ritchie. Limited space is available for this $95 course; call Nothing To It! at 775-825-2628 to register.

Local food producers will gather at Thursday’s celebration of the year-round Riverside Farmers Market, where shoppers can find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to artisanal breads and cheeses. Come to McKinley Arts Center in Reno from 4 to 8 p.m. for the extensive selection of local food, then stay for the free yoga at 6 p.m.

Riverside Market
Riverside Farmers Market at McKinley Arts & Culture Center in Reno is just one location that will host Local Food Week festivities during the week of Aug. 11 – 17. Photo by Kasey Crispin/Riverside Farmers Market

Mouthwatering melon tastings await at Food Truck Friday, from 4 to 9 p.m. in Downtown Reno’s Idlewild Park. NevadaGrown and the University of Nevada, Reno’s Desert Farming Initiative will be sampling the “sinfully sweet” Nevada melon; if you have a particularly vicious sweet tooth, you’ll also enjoy finding Nevada melons incorporated into the desserts served at the food truck operated by Reno’s Thali.

Saturday’s tour of Reno Food Systems’ Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park Farm closes out Local Food Week and offers attendees an inside look at what it takes to grow local crops. Post-tour, attendees can refuel with a Bring Your Own Locally Grown picnic; the festivities run from 4 to 7 p.m.

According to Cook, the inaugural Growing NV Local Food Week will bring a greater awareness of locally grown produce to a larger, mainstream population and unite multiple organizations working toward growing and connecting the local food movement.

“In action, having a stronger community is an antidote to a stressful, tech-heavy world,” she says. “I think that’s really beautiful.”

For details, visit Growingnv.com or the Growing NV Facebook page.

Nevada Vines & Wines’ Tour Visits Northern Nevada’s Backyard Vineyards
Written by Annie Flanzraich
Photos courtesy of Stuart Michell/Nevada Vines & Wines
Sponsored Post 

Picture a two-day vineyard touring event, culminating in a tasting party featuring sips from more than 15 local winemakers and three to four commercial producers. Where would this fête du vin take place? Napa Valley? Sonoma? Paso Robles?

Try Northern Nevada.

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NVUS Vineyards in New Washoe City grows more than 50 vines, including varieties of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sémillon, and Riesling. Photo by Stuart Michell

One Aug. 3rd and 4th, Nevada Vines & Wines will host its annual Backyard Vineyard Tour— which is precisely what it sounds like. On the two-day, self-paced tour, participants can explore more than 20 local vineyards located in the backyards of homes in the Truckee Meadows, from Palomino Valley in the north to Carson City and Wellington in the south. The tour finishes with a wine-tasting celebration from 3 to 5 p.m., Aug. 4, at Tamarack Junction in Reno. Tickets cost $55 in advance and $95 at the door, limit 200 tickets. Each includes admission to the vineyards and the food and wine-tasting celebration.

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Atanda and David Clark in their backyard vineyard, Shadow Lane Vineyards, in June 2019. The Clarks grow more than 300 vines of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot in their Sparks backyard. Photo by Tom Smedes

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Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow in September 2018 at Shadow Lane Vineyards. Owners Atanda and David Clark established their backyard vineyard in 2004. Photo by Dave Clark

But vineyards in Northern Nevada? Is it really possible to grow grapes in the high desert?

“People just don’t know that we can actually have vineyards and grow grapes successfully here, in Northern Nevada,” says Stuart Michell, vice president of Nevada Vines & Wines and the organization’s 2019 Backyard Vineyard Tour chair. “That’s a big misperception or a lack of perception.”

In fact, the 20 participating backyard vineyards represent just some of the local grape growers in Northern Nevada. Nevada Vines & Wines includes more than 100 members.

“People love wine; what’s not to like?” Michell says. “I think it’s a little bit of an adventure for most of us that are growing grapes. It’s a hobby in the beginning, but then you have to step outside the norm of having a lawn in your backyard and put something else in there that you totally enjoy.”

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Vines grow at Twin Mustang Vineyards in Sparks in April 2019. Established by Jason and Deborah Schultz in 2007, the backyard vineyard grows about 400 vines and varieties include Frontenac, Marquette, Frontenac Gris, and Petite Pearl. Photo by Jason Schultz

Recently, the organization’s annual wine competition boasted 110 different bottles and about 25 to 30 varieties. The professional judges awarded some of the wines gold and double gold, Michell says.

“Double gold means the wine was unanimously judged by the judges as being excellent wine,” he says.

Formed in 2013, Nevada Vines & Wines aims to educate and promote viticulture and wine production in Nevada and see the state recognized as a winegrower and producer. The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization helps commercial and home winemakers explore grape production through educational events and activities. The group’s largest event and fundraiser is the annual Backyard Vineyard Tour.

Although the event took a hiatus in 2017, it’s back in 2019 with almost double the number of participating backyard vineyards from 2018. The vineyards range in size, with some having less than 50 vines and several with more than 1,000. On the self-guided tour of privately owned vineyards in Northern Nevada, participants receive maps and a suggested route for all locations. Each vineyard will offer a 30-minute tour every hour, on the hour during the event.

“Come and take a look at what you probably won’t believe you’re looking at,” Michell says. “And that is a beautiful vineyard here in the high desert of Northern Nevada.”

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Moe Dyette stands by the vines in Dyette Family Vineyard in Sparks. Photo by Adrian Dyette

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The Dyette Family Vineyard rows more than 600 vines, including varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, St. Pepin, Riesling, Frontenac, Marquette, and Petite Pearl. Photo courtesy of Nevada Vines & Wines

However, there’s no wine tasting allowed in the backyards. All sipping happens at the wine-tasting celebration on Aug. 4.

In addition to raising funds for the nonprofit, the Backyard Vineyard Tour also raises awareness of and interest in backyard viticulture, Michell says.

“People imagine having a small vineyard in their backyard and sitting on their little French table with a couple of chairs, a bottle, and the sun going down and they’re saying, ‘I could do this in my backyard,’” he says.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit Nvandw.com/BackyardVineyardTour.


Annie Flanzraich Reno-based writer and editor who can easily envision having a backyard vineyard — if she had a backyard.

Written by Claire McArthur

During these summer months when the farmers’ market tables are overflowing with colorful produce, the way I cook changes. I tend to ditch grocery lists and shop on the fly based on what looks the best.

In the kitchen, my meals are simplified and made without recipes. Peaches and tomatoes find their way into salads with mozzarella, arugula, basil, and a simple dressing of extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Cooking during the abundance of summer harvest calls for produce-forward meals, like this peach and tomato Caprese salad on a bed of arugula. Photo by Claire McArthur

Wine is enjoyed on the patio alongside fresh radishes dipped in salty, grass-fed butter or cantaloupe wrapped in salty prosciutto.

Proscuitto-wrapped cantaloupe and radishes dipped in butter or drizzled in olive oil make simple but delicious summer appetizers. Photo by Claire McArthur

One of my favorite farmers’ market meals to make, however, centers on a forgiving, easy-to-substitute pesto. While the original trifecta of basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan certainly is a staple, the framework of pesto easily can be reworked to incorporate whatever greens you have on hand for an equally delicious sauce to put on pasta, pizza, or grilled meat.

Kale, arugula, carrot tops, broccolini, Swiss chard, and beet leaf greens, to name a few, all can be pulsed in a food processor with Parmesan (or any sort of hard, aged cheese, including pecorino or Manchego) and walnuts (or almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.). Just add olive oil, garlic, and lemon, and season for a versatile sauce that screams summer.

Here’s what’s in peak season right now from Reno-Tahoe farms: 

Lattin Farms (Fallon)

Armenian cucumbers. Photo courtesy of Lattin Farms

  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Eggplant
  • Raspberries
  • Gourmet greens mix
  • Rhubarb
  • Armenian cucumbers
  • Shishito peppers
  • Cantaloupes

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Sun gold tomatoes. Photo courtesy of Lattin Farms

Sarah cantaloupe. Photo courtesy of Lattin Farms

Desert Farming Initiative (Reno)

  • Cauliflower
  • Red chard
  • Yellow chard
  • Speckled Romaine lettuce
  • Red radishes
  • Spicy greens mix
  • Spring lettuce mix
  • Oregano
  • Romanesco zucchini
  • Basil
  • Romanesco cauliflower

Bella Vista Farm (Minden)

  • Butter crunch lettuce
  • Red sails leaf lettuce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • All-star lettuce mix
  • Green butter lettuce
  • Rex lettuce
  • Green salad bowl
  • 5-star lettuce mix
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Beet leaf greens
  • Tomatoes

Ready to turn those fresh market greens into a perfectly easy summer meal? Try making this recipe for Any Greens Pesto.

Any Greens Pesto
(recipe by Claire McArthur, freelance writer and home cook. Makes 1 cup)


3 cups greens of choice (e.g. kale, Swiss chard, arugula, or beet leaf greens)

½ cup grated Parmesan (or other hard, aged cheese)

⅓ cup walnuts (or other nut or seed)

½ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic

Juice of lemon, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Add greens, Parmesan, walnuts, olive oil, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add juice from half or whole lemon, depending on flavor preference. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over pasta, on pizza, or over any grilled meat of your choice.


Claire McArthur is a freelance writer who believes in cooking with your heart and taste buds over recipes. You can reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Written by Kaya Williams
Photos by Timothy Santa Rosa
Sponsored Post - Race 178


There will be sweat. There will be stretching. There will be smiles. And if there’s one sure way to work up an appetite, it just might be participation in the Reno Running Festival, Sept. 7 – 8.

RenoRunFest Day1

The all-ages, family-friendly festival is open to all — no experience required. The weekend kicks off with the second annual Reno Mile, with seven timed, age-group heats for any participant interested in clocking the out-and-back route through Downtown Reno. Two elite heats will follow for seriously speedy runners.

But participants need not have their eyes on setting records to enjoy the race. The pressure of the ticking clock is off with the untimed Fun Mile or pup-friendly Dog Mile heats. For one price — $10 for youths and $15 for adults until rates increase on August 1 — participants can join in on up to three heats.

“Everybody can run a mile,” says Eric Lerude, president of Race 178, which organizes the Reno Running Festival. “It’s really a distance that anyone can take on, whether they take it on competitively, recreationally, or just walking it.”

RenoRunFest Day2

The post-mile festivities include refreshments, vendors, and music at the finish-line party, where participants can refuel with the standard post-race grab-and-go bites from Sprouts Farmers Market. Those in need of an extra boost can re-caffeinate with coffee from Bibo Coffee Co. and enjoy breakfast burritos from Sonic Drive-In.

Legs still itching to go the distance? Sunday’s 51st annual Journal Jog offers runners, walkers, and stroller-pushers the opportunity to cruise more than eight kilometers (just shy of five miles) through Old Southwest Reno, beginning and finishing in Idlewild Park. 

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female runners, but there are other ways to score extra bragging rights at Sunday’s festivities. A costume contest results in prizes for individual runners as well as caterpillar teams (groups of four or more attached runners); those who participate in both the Reno Mile and the Journal Jog earn the Reno Running Fest Double Dare Medal.

Registration fees for the Journal Jog — $15 for youths and $30 for adults until midnight on July 31 — include post-run refreshments and music at the finish-line party. In addition to fare from Bibo Coffee Co., Sprouts Farmers Market. and Sonic Drive-In, Journal Joggers will each receive a complimentary post-race beer.

Participants in either race also are welcome to partake in the time-honored tradition of pre- and post-race carb-loading with a Saturday evening spaghetti supper at Tamarack Junction in South Reno. There will be no additional fee for the meal, but advance registration is required on the Race178 website and space is limited.

Lerude says the Journal Jog is a “rite of passage” for many in the generations of runners who return to the event year after year. But these races aren’t exclusively for seasoned racers, either.

“We’re always looking to draw in new participants who aren’t the regular runners,” Lerude says.

And there’s an additional perk to the Reno Running Festival for epicurious participants: “Working out allows you to indulge in all the good food and drinks Reno has to offer!” he says, adding, “I know many runners and walkers and fitness enthusiasts who also are foodies. They go hand-in-hand.”


Registration fees for the Reno Running Festival increase starting August 1! Don’t miss out! For details, visit Race178.com.

Written by Raeleigh Hall 

On July 20, Reno Food Systems will host the free, third-annual Reno Garlic Fest from 4 – 8 p.m. in Reno’s Pat Baker Park. This multicultural event sponsored by the City of Reno, Artown, Be the Change project, and Reno Food Systems will be filled with the best of Northern Nevada’s local garlic for the entire family.

“This event celebrates local agriculture and encourages backyard gardening in Northern Nevada,” explains the Artown website.

Garlic proliferates in Northern Nevada, and you can learn how to grow your own by visiting the booths of local garlic farmers.

Garlic fest 2
Photo courtesy of Artown

The event will kickoff with taiko drummers and Garlic Gurus, a question-and-answer session, at the northwest entrance of the park. Learn how to grow your own garlic and ask questions of garlic experts Earstin Whitten of Reno nonprofit Soulful Seeds, Arnold Carbone from Glorious Garlic Farm in Washoe Valley, Jana Vanderhaar of Reno’s Verdant Connections Landscape Architecture, and Katy Chandler from the Be the Change Project in Reno.

This year’s expansive lineup of booths includes local chefs’ innovative garlic creations, such asgarlic ice cream, garlic-crafted cocktails, and more. Food trucks will pair up with local farmers, who will exhibit their products and their wide variety of garlic flavors. View the entire list of local vendors and farmers on the Reno Food Systems website.

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Prema Farm, just outside Reno, sells its garlic bounty at the Reno Garlic Fest. Photo courtesy of Artown

Enjoy family-friendly activities such as free face painting; live music from local bands Kicks! An American Band and Dancing with Clowns; and for the first time ever, the ability to watch local artist Nathaniel Benjamin create a garlic chalk mural throughout the entire event.

Reno Garlic Fest
4 – 8 p.m., July 20
Pat Baker Park, 1910 Bishop St., Reno
For details, visit Renofoodsystems.org/garlicfest.

Feeling garlicky? Support local garlic farmers and try out these local dishes made with garlic that are perfect for easy summer nights.


Honey Garlic Shrimp: Fitness expert Mena Spodobalski shares this easy, healthy shrimp dish with an Asian twist that’s perfect with rice and steamed vegetables or served all on its own as an appetizer.

Garlic and Goat Cheese Toast: In this video, edible Reno-Tahoe’s Jaci Goodman prepares this easy, aromatic appetizer that’s ideal for entertaining.

Raeleigh Hall is a freelance writer who loves cooking and trying out new recipes. She believes that you can never have too much garlic.

Written by Suzie Dundas

Summer 2019’s Sierra Scoop is all about the North Shore, with a variety of major food and restaurant moves.

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The Tahoe Food Hub, which serves North and South Lake Tahoe as well as Reno and Carson City, may best be known for the Farm to Market Program (F2M) that connects local farmers with businesses and individual consumers.

As of mid-May, it also may be known for its Tahoe Food Hub Farm Shop, which opened near the Truckee airport and replaces the former Tahoe Food Hub storefront near Alpine Meadows. The new shop will be open 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturdays. It will carry produce as well as specialty items such as dairy products, tortillas, and salsa.

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Tahoe Food Hub Director Susie Sutphin welcomes visitors to the new Farm Shop in Truckee. Photos by Susie Sutphin/Tahoe Food Hub

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Tahoe Food Hub Director Susie Sutphin welcomes visitors to the new Farm Shop in Truckee. Photos by Susie Sutphin/Tahoe Food Hub

Later this year, its programs for locals will expand, including the Harvest to Order Program (H2O) that allows locals to shop online and pick items up in the Farm Shop. According to Tahoe Food Hub Director Susie Sutphin, the new space will allow the food hub to expand its meat program, thanks to large freezers, and host events including pop-up dinners, guest speakers, and cooking workshops throughout the year. The larger space also will allow the food hub to expand the F2M, now in its sixth year.

“Our goal is to build a local food system, and our Farm to Market Program is creating the infrastructure for that to happen,” Sutphin says. “We have bootstrapped this effort from the beginning, being cautious and deliberate to grow and expand with intention. After six years, we are ready to let off the reigns and really see what we can do.”

Tahoe Food Hub
12116 Chandelle Way, Ste. D
530-562-7150 • Tahoefoodhub.org

Residents in Tahoe may also have noticed there’s a new lunch option in town offering ceviche, tortas, quinoa bowls, and other creative options. It’s called the Truckee Food Shop, and it first opened its doors in late May.

It’s the first restaurant from Mexican-born Eduardo Diaz De Leon, who first went to law school in Mexico before heading to culinary school at the Dubrulle International School of Culinary Arts in Vancouver, Canada. De Leon says his experiences with Mexican, Californian, and Pacific-Northwest cuisine influence the Truckee Food Shop’s menu, which always is in small batches and cooked daily in house.

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Photo courtesy of Tahoe Food Shop

Though De Leon worked in high-end restaurants and as a private chef before relocating to Truckee in 2010, he says the Food Shop’s atmosphere is designed to be affordable and low-key.

“I've cooked everything as a private chef for wealthy families, but there's no reason the same quality of food shouldn't be for everyone,” he says. “The Truckee Food Shop fulfills a dream for me — a beautiful space amid the mountains where I can create delicious, healthy-tasting food.”

Truckee Food Shop uses compostable boxes and encourages guests to bring their own containers for to-go orders.

Truckee Food Shop
12030 Donner Pass Road, Ste. 3, Truckee
530-214-8935 • Truckeefoodshop.com

North Lake Tahoe residents who are in the know about the lake’s cocktail scene may be familiar with Old Trestle Distillery, but what they may not know is that the business has been expanded and revamped with master distiller Jake Holshue at the helm. Holshue, who hails from Montana but has worked at distilleries around the country, says that he aims to create spirits truly native to the North Shore. In addition to using alpine water as the base, Old Trestle even employs a part-time forager whose primary role is to locate new ingredients for gins and whiskeys, such as manzanita blossoms and western juniper.

Old Trestle 1
Master distiller Jake Holshue examines a bag of dried manzanita blossoms, which will be used in Old Trestle Distillery’s spirits. Photo by Suzie Dundas

While Old Trestle’s popular Theory Gin #1 is available at select Truckee restaurants, bigger plans are in the works: Old Trestle has announced plans to open a high-end tasting and cocktail-pairing restaurant on Truckee’s West River Street. The plan has recently passed the Truckee Planning Commission approval process.

Old Trestle 2
Photos by Suzie Dundas

Old Trestle 3
Photos by Suzie Dundas

Old Trestle Distillery
10434 River Park Place, Ste. 2, Truckee // , CA 96161 // 1
406-812-0240 • Oldtrestle.com

Other moves around the lake include...

  • Poke on the Lake
  • Northstar California announced its summer events, including an ongoing dinner series, “Sips & Salutations” wine and yoga classes, and dog-friendly brunches at Sawtooth Grille:
  • Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows is bringing back all the usual favorites, including:

      The Art, Wine, & Music Festival – July 13-14

      Brews, Jazz, and Funk Fest – August 10-11

      Foam Fest – August 30

      AlpenWine Fest – Sept. 1

Tickets for most can be purchased in advance online: SquawAlpine.com

  • A new restaurant opened in Schaffer’s Mill in early June. Under the direction of Michael Cappucetti, locally know as Chef Cappy, The Sawyer will offer creative American cuisine with a focus on shareable plates as well as plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free offerings. Reservations are required for non-Schaffer’s Mill residents:
  • In South Lake Tahoe, Empanash opened on Ski Run Boulevard. The family-owned restaurant serves homemade empanadas, with vegetarian and dessert options. It’s open daily until 8 PM midweek and 9 PM on the weekends.

A contributor reflects on sharing a little slice of Eastern Sierra paradise.
Story and photos by Jamie Della

I opened the cherrywood cabinet to showcase the array of herbs and spices for the three men visiting from China. Two years ago, my boyfriend Joey and I opened Sweet Water Hideaway Airbnb guesthouse in the Eastern Sierra in hopes of sharing and learning from our guests. Since then, we have hosted about 200 people from 20 countries.

Siwei and friends
From left, Siwei, Joey, Jamie, Hao and Donglin

Donglin and Hao nodded enthusiastically and looked to Siwei, an English teacher living in Bejing, to translate. Siwei explained that they loved to cook and hadn’t had a chance to make any food, any comfort food, since their arrival in Los Angeles several days ago.

“May we cook for you?” Siwei asked.

When we arrived at the guesthouse with a bottle of wine to share, the table was covered with small dishes emanating an array of foreign-yet-comforting, layered flavors. We dove in with forks and chopsticks as Siwei explained that they had prepared homemade dishes found throughout China’s many regions, with ingredients bought at our local grocery store. Hao, from Guizhou, close to Hong Kong, was particularly proud of the “three slices salad” from his home town and the many hot peppers he could eat.

Donglin, who lives in Jiangsu near Shanghai, was overjoyed to share green tea he had brought from China, which we drank from ceramic pinch pots with both hands. When we asked if they were friends, Siwei told us they had found each other through a backpackers’ website called Qiangyou, although they were on a road trip with minimal hiking. I felt as if we had traveled across the world, yet we slept in our own bed that night.

Sofie and her father Peter, from Denmark, hiked up McGee Canyon (between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop) and brought back beautiful Sierra wildflowers for a shared dinner at sunset. They had traveled the Golden Triangle, a loosely followed road trip made by many Europeans, Asians, and East Coasters eager to explore the vastness of California through San Diego, Los Angeles, Death Valley, Yosemite, Tahoe, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Big Sur. Jeremy and his family from Northern Ireland spent the night in South Lake Tahoe before coming to our guesthouse, where their strapping sons jumped off pylons in unison, like a bloke’s version of Ethel Merman.

The picnic table is set for summertime dinner with Sofie and Peter from Denmark

Bonnie, Raven, Susan, and Billie — nurses from Reno — joined us around the campfire in our backyard then invited us to the guesthouse for Bonnie’s exquisite, butter-rich dessert.

I couldn’t agree more when Bonnie said, “One of the great joys of traveling to an Airbnb is the opportunity to cook with and for each other. The kitchen is a magical crucible for delicious food and strengthened friendships.”

Virginia Valdez Sandfer, a repeat guest, always brings a bottle of Matchbook Wine

Dave and his family arrived during fishing season in the Sierra and treated us to a barbecue of freshly caught rainbow trout. We shared Great Basin’s Icky IPA with Fiona and Graham from England, who told a knee-slapping yarn about reckless bidding on a pig at an auction during a beer festival. Gino’s soups from Great Full Gardens were a hit with Stuart, who rang in the New Year with us. Virginia and Shawn have made it a biannual trip to visit our guesthouse and bring Matchbook Wine from the Sacramento area so we can toast to our friendship.

Hosting an Airbnb gives me the gift of expanding my horizons, meeting new friends, and showcasing our slice of heaven here in the Eastern Sierra.

Jamie Della is an artist, whether throwing pottery in her home studio, crafting words into stories and books, creating a meal to share with friends, or cultivating the art of hospitality. She forever remains inspired by the wild beauty of Mother Earth and her global community.

Sweet Water Hideaway Guest House



Written by Sarah Parks
Sponsored Post

We all love those kitchens on the HGTV network, with the old farm table, vintage wood signs, and beautiful hanging lights.

Well, with a Reno DIY franchise expanding into Sparks, you don’t have to watch in envy anymore. Now you can stylize your own kitchen and bar over a glass of wine with custom-made signs. From farmhouse classic to vintage and timeless pieces, cultivate your inner DIY skills at a hands-on wood sign workshop!

KITCHEN Eat Good Food Utensil Box 14x5x5

Dust Off Your DIY skills

Board & Brush is a custom wood sign workshop, helping creatives from all over Reno-Tahoe roll up their sleeves and put their imaginations to use. With a fully stocked bar serving beer, wine, or your favorite drink, Board & Brush allows guests to choose from many different sign designs for a variety of occasions and create them on the spot.

“There are more than 200 wood sign projects alone,” says Ashly Sloan-Brinkley, owner of Board & Brush in Northern Nevada. “We have porch welcome signs, baby signs, holiday and seasonal signs, USA-themed signs … And we release new designs every month, so there are always new things.”

KITCHEN Chalkboard Menu 2 14x26 Framed

If you’ve never held a hammer or power tool, Sloan-Brinkley says, you don’t need to worry. Each workshop teaches you the skills and techniques you need to build a beautifully made, custom piece.

“When you come into the studio, you get to choose your stain colors, paint colors, finishes … so the whole look is designed by you in the workshop,” Sloan-Brinkley says.

BAR Drink Up Wine Tray 12x32

KITCHEN Dairy Farm Cow 20x24

Board & Brush provides a variety of experiences, from private workshops to gatherings for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, corporate events, and birthday parties.

Following the Signs

What started out as a girls’ night out with wine and crafts in the company founder’s Wisconsin basement soon developed into a business idea where people could come together and make something beautiful, all while enjoying some drinks with friends.

With more than 250 locations across the U.S., Board & Brush’s newest studio is opening right here in Northern Nevada. When the South Reno location opened two years ago, Sloan-Brinkley had not anticipated the amazing response.

“We actually had a lot of people coming in saying they were traveling from Sparks, Fernley, Fallon, and Spanish Springs. So I figured if people were willing to travel that far to come to the Reno location, it would make sense to open one up farther north.”

KITCHEN Fresh Produce 8x48

KITCHEN Farm Trio 14x14 Framed

The Sparks location opened June 23 with a grand opening celebration. Sloan-Brinkley encourages everyone to come on down to check out the new location and book an event.

“It’s a super fun night out with friends. It’s a very social activity, and you also get to do something that maybe you’ve never done before,” she says. “Then you get to go home with a piece of artwork that you’ll actually hang on your wall, put on your front porch, or give as a gift.”

Board & Brush Sparks

2868 Vista Blvd. #108, Sparks

775-432-9007 • Boardandbrush.com/sparks

Board & Brush Reno

775-384-2466 • Boardandbrush.com/reno

Sarah Parks has always loved crafting. From going to crafting shows with her mom as a kid, to DIY’ing most of her own wedding, you’ll be able to catch her making custom signs at Board & Brush.

Reno-Tahoe’s dishing up limited spring crops (Hello, asparagus!).
Written by Claire McArthur


Late spring is marked by a number of things in the Reno-Tahoe region: idyllic warm days intermixed with surprise snow storms, new seasonal menus at your favorite haunts, and for those locavores following the grow cycle, the short-lived asparagus season.

As someone who finds ways to put five times the recommended amount of vegetables in every dish, it is no small thing for me to say that asparagus is my favorite veggie. I love it shaved, tossed in olive oil and placed atop a white pizza à la Smitten Kitchen. It’s the perfect potluck snack when wrapped in prosciutto and baked until crispy. And when blanched and puréed with butter, cream, chicken broth, and a dash of lemon into the classic French soup, crème d'asperges, it is nothing short of divine.

It’s an especially impressive vegetable when you consider that a crop will continue to produce yearly from its underground crown for upwards of 20 years.

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Two years ago I attended a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Lake Tahoe course devoted to growing asparagus in the Sierra Nevada. I was lucky enough to receive a half dozen crowns that are known to do well in mountainous terrains. As directed by the gardening gurus, I’m allowing my crop to establish itself for a couple of years before taking a harvest. It is by no means a crop for those who crave instant gratification.

So while the asparagus stock is available, make sure to pick up a bunch, along with other limited but lovely in-season crops we have hitting stores and farm stands across the region.

NeuDay Farm in Winnemucca is just one of the many farms across the region producing beautiful radishes right now. Photo courtesy of NeuDay Farm

Lattin Farms (Fallon)

  • Asparagus (limited)
  • Green garlic

NeuDay Farm (Winnemucca)

  • Lettuce greens
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Chard

Rhubarb is a harbinger of spring for farmers and home gardeners alike. Photo courtesy of NeuDay Farm

Ready to use that fresh bunch of asparagus? Try this recipe.

Curried Cream of Asparagus Soup

(courtesy of Jane Cudahy; adapted from “Beyond Parsley” (1984) by the Kansas City Junior League. Serves 6 to 8)

2 pounds fresh asparagus, peeled and cut into pieces

3 cups chicken broth

2 shallots, finely chopped

¼ cup butter

5 tablespoons flour

3 cups half and half

1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons sherry or lemon juice (optional)

In large saucepan, cook asparagus pieces, broth, and shallots until tender. Put in food processor and blend until smooth (strain if necessary to achieve desired texture). In the same saucepan, melt butter and add flour, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Next, add asparagus purée and half and half. Stir to combine. Add seasonings and optional sherry or lemon juice. Simmer 15 minutes. For garnish, make homemade croutons coated in butter and crisped up in the oven.


Claire McArthur is a freelance writer who is transported back to her family dining room in Kansas City every time she makes this asparagus soup recipe during the early spring months. You can reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Delicious event returns to the Nugget this Memorial Day weekend.
*Sponsored Post


May 25-26, 2019


The second-annual NuggetCuisine, Corks & Crafts Festival will be the taste of the town this Memorial Day Weekend. The two-day event returns to the Nugget’s expansive Convention Center May 25-26 and promises to be packed with all things culinary.

Here’s what you’ll find…



Chef, restauranteur, author, winemaker, and TV personality Fabio Viviani will headline the entertainment lineup with his Pasta Perfecto! Performance, including a post-show Q & A session, along with a book and bottle signing. A limited supply of Fabio Viviani Wines and his book, Fabio’s 30-minute Italian Cookbook, will be available for purchase during the event. 

Best known as a fan favorite on Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Viviani also is a pioneer in fast-casual Italian dining. His presentations are infused with warmth and humor. Check out a few Fabio's Kitchen episodes for a taste of what you might expect.


Lara Ritchie, esteemed local chef, owner, and culinary director of Reno’s Nothing To It! Culinary Center, will open the Chef Showcase with her Small Bites, Big Taste program. Chef Lara promises to show you that there is Nothing To It when it comes to creating great appetizers! Be sure to check out Lara’s Nothing to It! booth at the Vendor Expo for the latest in cooking gadgets.



Local chefs participate in a fun-filled event hosted by master chef and culinary storyteller Clint Jolly. Come cheer on your favorite chef while you stroll past tasting booths and enjoy an exquisite Sunday brunch prepared by the Nugget culinary team. Last year’s champion, Darrin McKillip from US Foods, will lead this year’s panel of judges. The competitors will each receive custom handcrafted cutlery from the official Battle Born Best Chef Competition Sponsor, Town Cutler.

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 Savor the flavor of an array of wine, spirits, craft beers, and foods while you explore themed tasting booths presented by Southern Wine and Spirits, Morrey Distributing, US Foods, and other local partners. You may even enjoy a sampling from Anthony’s Chophouse menu, an all-new steakhouse coming to the Nugget this summer.



 Visit a variety of vendor booths presenting an array of crafts and culinary products and engage in free stage demos with experts offering tips and how-to’s, 2 – 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday.



Enjoy the exotic sounds of Spanish guitarist and DJ Milton Merlos.



Saturday, May 25

  • 2 - 9 p.m. FREE Culinary & Crafts Vendor Expo (Sierra Ballrooms)
  • 4 - 9 p.m. Celebrity Chef Showcase(Grand Ballroom - Festival Pass required)

Pasta Perfecto! – Chef Fabio Viviani

Small Bites, Big Taste – Chef Lara Ritchie

Wine & Spirits Walk (themed tasting booths)

Live entertainment with Milton Merlos

Sunday, May 26

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.          FREE Culinary & Crafts Vendor Expo (Sierra Ballrooms)
  • 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.Battle Born Best Chefs Competition & Brunch (Grand Ballroom – Festival Pass required)

Culinary competition hosted by chef Clint Jolly

Sunday brunch buffet

Wine & Spirits Walk (themed tasting booths)

Live entertainment with flamenco guitarist Milton Merlos

TICKETS ON SALE NOW at NuggetCasinoResort.com.


1-Day Pass $45 (plus tax/fees) includes admission for all Saturday or Sunday events/tastings

2-Day Pass $80 (plus tax/fees) includes admission for both Saturday and Sunday events/tastings


* Vendor expo admission is FREE. Festival ticket required for these events.





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