Feast your way through these 7 food festivals this summer

Photo courtesy of Courtland Pear Fair
The Courtland Pear Fair will feature pear pies, pear tarts, pear bread, pear ice cream and more.

'Tis the season to be a bounty hunter in American's Farm-to-Fork Capital. Here are 7 sweet (and spicy and savory) food festivals to dig into this summer.

The Pepper Festival

June 23 This inaugural festival will heat things up in Auburn by paying tribute to the titular vegetable, from sweet and mild varieties like multicolored bells to the mouth-burning strains like the infamous Carolina Reaper. Each food maker at this spicy soiree, including Che Buono, Cousins Maine Lobster and The Dive, will create a pepper-infused dish, and heat hounds can visit Hot Sauce Row to taste small-batch condiments. Folks can also jump around in an adult bounce house, join a hot pepper-eating contest, or check out a performance from bands like the Nevada City-based Dixie outfit Earles of Newtown, the San Jose rock quartet Frequency and local R&B vocalist J Ross Parrelli. $20. Noon-10 p.m. Gold Country Fairgrounds. 1273 High St. Auburn. 888-598-1159. thepepperfestival.com

Marysville Peach Festival

July 20-21 This festival commemorates the yearly summer harvest of the juicy peach in the Yuba-Sutter area with a smorsgasbord of peach-infused dishes, from the sweet (peach pie, peach cobbler, peach milkshakes and peach cheesecake) to the savory (peach tamales, peach barbecue burgers and peach salsa). Shop for Freestone, Doughnut, yellow and white peach varietals from regional farmers, see who gets crowned Little Miss Peach Blossom and Miss Peach, or compete in a water-balloon relay and peach pie-eating contest. Free. Fri. 4-10 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Downtown Marysville. 530-749-3954. marysvillepeachfest.com

The Marysville Peach Festival will feature many peach-infused sweet and savory treats like peach pie, peach milkshakes, peach tamales and peach salsa. (Photo courtesy of Marysville Peach Festival)

SacraTomato Week

July 23-29 Savor the tomato season throughout midtown’s Sutter District when it hosts the fifth annual SacraTomato Week from July 23-29. This seven-day fête will have restaurants like Biba, Ink Eats & Drink, Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar, Blue Cue and more celebrating the versatile red vegetable by offering special menu dishes that feature tomatoes as the main ingredient. Participating eateries will also offer happy hour on Monday to Friday from 5-6 p.m., with some hosting tomato trivia games, as well as a social media contest where patrons can win prizes by uploading pictures of themselves dining on the tomato dishes with a #SacraTomato2018 caption. Prices and times vary by location. 916-442-1500. exploremidtown.org

Capay Tomato Festival

July 28 The 350-acre farm of Capay Organic will play host to the Capay Tomato Festival for the 11th consecutive year. Festivalgoers can sample the juicy heirloom and cherry tomatoes grown on-site and vote for their favorite varietals or cross a small canal bridge to harvest some of their own. They can also tour the ranch on a 15-minute tractor ride or find a shaded spot and have a picnic with fare from wheeling kitchens like Tacos 911, Cali Love Food Truck and Luciano’s Scoop. Kiddos can join their parents or head to the petting zoo before jumping inside bounce houses as the Santa Cruz-based band Miss Lonely Hearts plays into the night. $20 in advance; $25 at the door (free for ages 12 and under). 3-11 p.m. Capay Organic. 23808 State Hwy. 16. Capay. 530-796-0730. farmfreshtoyou.com

At the annual Capay Tomato Festival, attendees can take a 15-minute guided tractor tour of Capay Organic's acre-sized farmlands. (Photo courtesy of Capay Organic)

Courtland Pear Fair

July 29 Take the winding Sacramento River Road to pastoral Courtland for its celebration of the Bartlett pear harvest (the Delta town’s output helps California keep its place as the No. 1 Bartlett producer in the nation). Get to the fair early to nab one of the popular pear pies, but if they sell out, don’t fret: There are plenty of other pear goodies to indulge in like pear bread, pear fritters, pear tarts, pear ice cream, pear cider and pear cocktails. Kiddos can climb a rock wall, take a pony ride and compete in the duck-calling contest. Free ($10 for parking). 180 Primasing Ave. Courtland. 916-775-2000. pearfair.com

Woodland Tomato Festival

Aug. 11 You’ll be seeing red at this 11th annual Woodland fest that puts the tomato front and center—rightly so, since the vegetable (or fruit, depending on your perspective) is Yolo County’s No. 1 crop, with over 35,000 acres devoted to growing it. This agricultural affair will feature a salsa competition and a cooking contest during which local chefs will whip up their best tomato recipes. Attendees can also taste seasonal heirloom varieties and purchase their faves from local growers, and snack on tomatoey foods like fried green tomatoes and tomato waffles. Free. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Main St. between First and College streets. Woodland. 530-666-2626. woodlandtomatofestival.com

Festivalgoers can expect to taste everything from peanut butter-banana empanadas and banana guacamole to banana fried fish and banana nachos at the annual Sacramento Banana Festival. (Photo courtesy of Sacramento Banana Festival)

Sacramento Banana Festival

Aug. 11-12 Go bananas at this yearly festival, where the titular yellow fruit will abound in the assortment of on-site eats and drinks like banana guacamole, banana fried fish, banana nachos, banana lemonade and banana wine. Folks can put their best fruit forward in banana-eating, banana-decorating and Carmen Miranda hat competitions, limbo to the music of Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song,” or even learn how to grow the tropical fruit in our region from West Sacramento gardener Eric George, who cultivates bananas in his garden and will be on hand with banana tree saplings to take home. $10. Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. William Land Park. 3800 W. Land Park Dr. 916-320-9573. sacbananafestival.com

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