AMADOR COUNTY, CA
Right in the heart of CA Gold Country sits AMADOR COUNTY.
You would never know it but this is a farmer’s market of sorts is where some of the state’s best agriculture comes from. Whether it’s organic root vegetables, fresh-picked fruit, or grass fed beef, this is the place for restaurateurs and locavores like me. As fortune would have it, my wife and I managed a ducat to the county’s annual Farms of Amador and Amador Farmer’s Market Farm Tour & Dinner on Saturday, May 5th in Jackson. This event was interesting in that we found the taste and flavor of a variety of fresh cooked dishes very appealing. The foodstuff came from a number of farms and ranches in the area. A total of 12 farms and ranches were on the “to visit” list out of a total of 80-100 located in valley near by.
The site of this day’s event was the Kennedy Gold Mine on Rt.88. The Kennedy at 5912′ down is described as the deepest mine in North America. It consists of a number of historic buildings. The Kennedy officially closed in 1945.
Upon leaving the event we were invited to the Big Horse Ranch in Lone, managed by Rick & Sylvia La Coursiere. Here we had a chance to taste grass fed beef at its finest along with a sample of country vegetables grown on site. The taste was unforgettable. Our thanks to them.
Amador County is also known for a couple of historic sites. These include Black Chasm Cavern, a national landmark, Roaring Camp Mining Co., Shenandoah Valley Museum in Plymouth, Monteverde Museum in Sutter’s Creek, and the Amador Whitney Museum. The Amador County Fair in July is perhaps their biggest celebration.
Two other historic sites stands out in Amador County. Firstly, the Preston Castle is a Romaneque Revival structure on five floors made with local sandstone, granite from Folsom, and bricks from the Folsom and San Quenton prisons. The cornerstone was laid on December 23, 1890 with 2,500 people in attendance. Set on 320 acres, it was originally planned out as a reform school for young offenders. In 1960 it closed. It is now a California State Historic Landmark and is open to the public.
The other site we favored was the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown. It started as the Sierra Railway Company in 1897, serving the needs of the lumber barons and gold miners in the region for transportation to Sacramento and San Francisco. It joined services with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company before WWI. In the 1970s it became the backbone of Railtown 1897 and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation. Between 1919 and the present the site starred in a number of Hollywood productions including High Noon, Back to the Future III, Rawhide, and Death Valley Days. See these monsters of the steam era when you’re in Jamestown. The Sierra No.3 is the biggest attraction there.
For more info on Amador County try: www.touramador.com