Join the farm-to-table banquet on August 11 in downtown Nevada City

Screen shot 2013-07-19 at 6.30.57 PMHas it ever been on your bucket list to take part in a festive farm to table dinner in the streets of your hometown? How about in the historic district of Nevada City, sitting among Italian linens and sunflowers, as a menu of farm fresh cuisine is served family style to your table?

For the first time in downtown Nevada City, such an event is taking place, Sunday, August 11, 7-11 p.m. on Commercial Street.

Lower Commercial Street will be transformed by strings of terrazzo lights crisscrossing overhead, straw bales, and a formal dinner setting for 100. Sunflowers on the Boardwalk, planted earlier for the seminal event, are already popping in preparation for the extravaganza.

Event organizer and former Nevada City City Councilwoman, Reinette Senum, has been preparing the Boardwalk on Commercial Street as well as rounding up volunteers and partners. “This has been on my bucket list of things to organize for a few years now,” Senum said. She has been inspired by photos on Facebook of similar events across the country including in a town similar to Nevada City, but in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

The organic menu, designed by Sierra Farm to Table Events & Catering’s, Shanan Manuel, will be showcasing local and organic produce from surrounding organic farms. Manuel, an organic farmer and sustainable caterer, said, “I am committed to local, organic farmers being the medicine for our future.”

“Events such as the Nevada City Farm to Table are an important part of educating the public,” added Manuel, “as well as connecting the general public with farmers, local restaurants, and caterers.” 

Each dish in the menu is being taken on by neighborhood restaurants and sustainably minded caterers. Proceeds will be donated to the Boardwalk Fund: dedicated to bringing live music to Commercial Street.

Participating restaurants thus far includes Matteo’s Public, Café Mekka, Pete’s Pizza, Lefty’s, and The Fix, and Manuel’s Sierra Farm to Table Event & Catering and Stone Soup Catering. Participating farms includes: Dinner Bell, Mountain Bounty, Riverhill, and First Rain, to name a few.

There will be two different seating options available: formal and casual. Formal dining is $65 per plate and seating begins at 6:30, serving promptly at 7pm. Formal dining tickets must be purchased in advance.

For those with large families or who want a more casual meal, a section of the street will also be dedicated to casual dining beginning at 8pm. A variety of wood fired kabobs; organic chicken, vegetable, or tofu, ranging from $9 to $12 will be available.

Kabobs are available in advance as well as first come first serve. To order your tickets for either seating, visit: or buy tickets at the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce or The Parlour on Commercial Street.

Music on the Boardwalk will be provided by Ragged But Right from 6:30-8:30pm, followed by the lively 8-piece band Earles of Newtown from 9-11pm. In Cinema Paradiso fashion. Jesse Locks of The Nevada City Film Festival will be utilizing the second floor over Café Mekka as a movie screen once the sun goes down, bringing to life the building wall with a silent film as live music fills the night air.

Fine dining, casual dining, or just a desire to enjoy the festive event, you don’t want to miss The Nevada City Farm to Table Banquet in the heart of historic Nevada City.

For full menu, please visit or for enquiries email

—Reinette Senum

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

13 thoughts on “Join the farm-to-table banquet on August 11 in downtown Nevada City”

  1. Guess another longstanding city policy has disappeared?

    Over the years there have been other ideas floated for street events that charge admission or a fee, and they have previously been denied by the council. I can recall one year (when the bicycle race was at its peak) that we considered bringing in portable bleachers for 2-3 side-street locations and charging people to sit in them. The council at that time was adamant that no one would ever have to pay to watch the race from public property.

    More recently, when City Hall was expanded a dozen or so years ago, there was a policy that no one would have to pay to attend an event held in the council chambers. Each year when SYRCL asked for use of the chambers for workshops or other presentations during its film festival, there was an agreement that no money would be charged for someone to attend. (And I hope that is still the case).

    The dinner sounds like a great event, but it seems that as new people come on the scene at City Hall, past policies are either discarded or unknown. There’s something to be said for institutional knowledge, but that aside I wish Reinette and others much success. It should draw some positive media coverage to Nevada City, but what will the council say to the next person who appears at a council meeting with an idea for a paid event on a public street?

  2. …. that benefits our musicians, neighborhood restaurants, caterers, family farmers, the Nevada City Chamber, local wineries, event suppliers, printers, as well as create a positive publicity campaign that will ultimately assist in the local tax revenue for months to come…. all while building community.

    I think kudos should be given to the council for recognizing a wonderful event that supports diverse and important elements of our local economy.

    And don’t forget the job development. Everyone involved in the event is getting paid or some form of barter will be undertaken. All monies left over will go to a music fund to pay for more professional street musicians. Again, benefiting our local economy and overall wellbeing of Nevada City.

    Ultimately, the community-building is most important, Steve, and in all honesty, I prefer you not throw stones from Florida and instead join us at the table August 11th.

    Hope to see you there.

    1. Reinette:

      Heck, I wasn’t casting stones –– nor even small pebbles. I was merely noting that the city’s longstanding policy of ensuring that people do not have to pay to attend an event on public streets and sidewalks, or inside city hall, appears to have ended. That’s all. In fact, I wished you great success and I meant it.

      Something that needs to be kept in mind when exceptions are made to policy, however, is that the claim “community-building is most important” is all in the mind and eyes of the person doing what they believe is appropriate community building. Some residents and business owners might not have the same values and vision you use to judge what is good for the town.

      And that’s the danger in city councils or city staff making exceptions to policy and then saying “No” to the next person –– perhaps someone whose idea for charging people to attend an event on public streets and sidewalks might be inconsistent with your own vision of what’s appropriate and what isn’t. That’s all I was trying to say.

      And if I hit it big soon on a Lotto ticket, I’ll certainly be there August 11.

  3. I thought we were a global village? A lot of people involved in this are not residents of Nevada City and I value Mr. Cottrell’s knowledge and input!

  4. Same here, Steve D.. Just pointing out that sometimes allowing a little creativity into the streets sometimes is a good thing. We must consider its individual merits, benefits, and risks.

    And I was sincere with the invitation Mister Cottrell. If I happen to acquire any airline miles or find some airline deals, I would happily extend them to Steve C.

    I’m so glad we have such a fine historian reminding us of our rich and complex history.

  5. With respect, I did not read any stone throwing in Mr. Cotrell’s remarks, merely constructive criticism. He is talking about the erosion of what some see as Nevada City’s historical legacy.
    It’s an important mission. Before we moved here 16 years ago, we lived in Arcata, a charming coastal town steeped in old world charm. So we got it right away.

    The main difference between Acrata and Nevada City is the way the towns developed in their beginnings. Arcata, like nearby (also historically charming) Chico, were built around plazas. A plaza is a great community resource because of the way it intersects and connects the lives and activities of the townspeople. I have also lived in Santa Cruz, which has a real boardwalk. Nevada City has neither. It’s a problem, be can fix it if we take a more common sense approach.

    I am not certain what the benches on Commercial St. actually are. Some folks call the seating area a “parklet”. What I see is an overall awkward arrangement and confusion of purpose for Commercial Street, as well as some potential hazard. I tend to view these kinds of public structures in a practical way and consider social context, while important, as secondary to public safety. I will give you an example, we have to live with the SPD, NC, parking lot the way it is. It would never pass code if it were built today, but it is grandfathered in. So why is it necessary in this day and age to create a configuration that snarls up the traffic on already congested Commercial Street in order to squeeze in some benches right next to the noise and pollution of vehicular traffic? It appears that this may be the thin edge of a wedge, and that the ultimate goal here is to gradually force the complete closure of that area to cars and trucks. Good luck with that. For my money, I would make the whole town a petroleum free zone. But alas, not in my time I fear.

    While it is certainly true that Nevada City needs outdoor seating and shade, wouldn’t cozy York Street location have been a wiser choice? If Commercial Street were completely closed to vehicular traffic it could certainly be an ideal location for a place for some folks to party and hang out. But, it is also a fire lane with several businesses, with tenants and employees, housed in very old buildings. More parking and delivery spaces would also have to be sacrificed.

    Then, sadly, there is the abuse by the inconsiderate. Perhaps when the D.A. and county employees move into the old BOFA building they would help enforce our city’s no smoking laws. Last week a friend and I passed by Ms. Senum hosing down the seating area and saw a virtual river of cigarette butts flowing into the drain to Deer Creek. I believe SYRCL has made it very clear that this is bad for our streams. My point here is that it is very sad to realize that there are those who will callously abuse the gift of a nice place to rest. But it happens and it is not fair to see how hard Ms. Senum has to work to clean up after those folks. So, IMHO, which is neither here nor there, and I don’t run things, but York Street would have been a more logical and convenient choice for the benches and umbrellas because it isn’t as challenged as Commercial in the practical sense.

    Just one more thing while we are on the subject of what is best for Nevada CIty,( call it one of my peeves). I wish that while the Dorsey exchange was being negotiated that Nevada City would have fought a little harder for improvements up this way on our NC overpasses. They could look a lot better and be much safer (public safety again) if they were replaced with the historic looking ones that some of the older valley towns have installed, with period-inspired fencing and light standards. The charm factor on the Broad Street and Washington Street overpasses, both heavily used by our visitors, especially during events, could do a lot for us, considering that they are the primary gateways to our city. To me, that would be a priority, and a big chunk of positive change for our city that would pay off quite handsomely in the long run.

  6. Judith, perhaps you and I should actually sit down and have a lovely conversation over tea. I agree with much of what you say and would be happy to share some of my and others’ thoughts and recommendations.

  7. Thank you Reinette, if only I had the time. My community projects have me running like a scalded cat. You know how it is, priorities.

    This blog is a great community space though and I prefer to exchange here. Plus, I see you a lot on the TV and the Union and I read the boardwalk’s blog. You have a large presence, so I feel well versed in your missions and philosophies. I work in a completely different sphere, and it takes all of my time.

    Of course, when there is time to spare, we could always meet up for a doobie at the boardwalk.
    No one will bother us, I promise.

    Wishing you good times and good vibes.

  8. Such as the Acoustic Thursdays that we already have going. Possibly sponsoring a band for the First Friday Art Walk and/or other special occasions. Actually paying our professional musicians to bring music to our streets. I hope this isn’t too radical for everyone.

  9. My youngest son, Jacob, and his buddy, Adam, were just able to afford renting an apartment overlooking the boardwalk by washing dishes and working coffee shops. They also love music and the Nevada City scene. Lately they are offering their talents gratis from their balcony to the the street below when opportunity avails itself. I think that is pretty cool.

  10. I Know it is already being used in Sacramento area but the name should have been “Farm- to- Fork”. Flows better. Definitely a great idea and fun event.

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