PlacerGROWN: Participating in delicious thrill of Amgen tour

By: Karen Killebrew
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It’s all about those two-wheeled racers these days. A dedicated team has been planning for the Amgen Tour of California’s May 17 Stage 3 start in Auburn for a year, and there are a host of events planned to showcase the amazing bounty of Placer County. PlacerGROWN and the Foothill Farmers Market Association will be front and center, sharing a taste of Placer County with race enthusiasts and VIPs. The celebration begins with the Vino Velo Gala at Winchester Country Club on Sunday, May 15 from noon to 5 p.m. PlacerGROWN will welcome attendees with a grand display of Placer County seasonal produce and products, and tantalize the taste buds with fresh strawberries paired with Wise Villa Pinot Noir Rose. The gala features a tasting menu by over a dozen local restaurants paired with eight Placer County wineries, live jazz, an exhibit of vintage and ultra-modern bicycles and silent auction. Master of Ceremonies Bruce Hildenbrand, race announcer and cycling expert, will head up a program featuring several retired pro cyclists and former Olympians including “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez, Mike McCarthy, Ken Carpenter and Dylan Casey. A video broadcast of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, which starts at South Lake Tahoe and ends at Northstar-at-Tahoe (more Placer County exposure), will bring the race excitement to life, setting the tone for the Stage 3 start in Auburn on Tuesday. On race day, the grand PlacerGROWN display moves to the VIP tent, where Penguin’s Catering will provide a breakfast highlighting seasonal ingredients from several local farms. Together the Foothill Farmers Market Association and PlacerGROWN are sponsoring the boxes containing lunch for race volunteers, which features a local and seasonal menu prepared by Tsuda’s Old Town Eatery. Foothill Farmers Market Association and PlacerGROWN will also host a booth at the Lifestyle Festival in downtown Auburn from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on race day. This great team effort has harnessed all that Placer County has to offer to create a spectacular showcase of our agricultural bounty, stellar recreation areas, natural history, heritage, and above all, a community of passionate volunteers that has come together to show it off. Contact Karen Killebrew, president of the PlacerGROWN board of directors, at karen@nature __________ In the know What: Vino Velo 2011 Amgen Tour of California Gala When: noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 15 Where: Winchester Country Club, 3030 Legends Drive, Meadow Vista Cost: Tickets start at $65; a limited number of $85 VIP tickets are available Info:, Menu • Duck confit crostini by Monkey Cat • Brushetta with fresh ricotta, mint, English peas by Carpe Vino • Mostacciolia pasta with basil pesto and marinara from Tre Pazzi • African seafood stew from Latitudes • Grilled lamb from Bootleggers • Green Thai avocado curry by Auburn Thai Garden • Puff pastry with pork, caramelized onions and apples from Tsuda’s • Pork mojo with plantains from Winchester Country Club • Barbeque riblets and asparagus by Linda Mason’s Rustic Catering • Maria’s Mexican Tacos • Blue cheese grape appetizer, bacon-wrapped pretzels and cruiser cake pops by Gimme Cake Too! • Seven layer cake and brownie bites by Max’s Participating Wineries Casque Wines Dono dal Cielo Fawnridge Winery Green Family Winery Lone Buffalo Vineyards Mt. Vernon Winery Viña Castellano Wise Villa Winery