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More than 1,500 foodies and wine aficionados converged on Ski Run Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe, California for the 2nd Annual Sample the Sierra, which was held September 4, to enjoy the best in El Dorado County offerings – all organized by

“Sample the Sierra is unique in that it’s truly a farm-to-fork festival with a significant initiative – to introduce residents and visitors to locally sourced ingredients and products, as well as to build alliances between South Lake Tahoe restaurateurs and El Dorado County growers and wineries,” said B Gorman, President and CEO of the “We were successful on both these fronts.”

According to Gorman, Sample the Sierra is a result of an El Dorado County grant that provided with an opportunity to collaborate with area businesses, invest in the health of the community, as well as pave the way for South Lake Tahoe chefs in purchasing produce and other ingredients from area farmers.

“A dollar spent regionally generates twice as much income for the regional economy,” added Gorman. “When businesses are purchasing ingredients not produced regionally, more money leaves the community at every transaction. Environmentally, purchasing regionally is also a win as it improves air quality and cuts down on pollution because products aren’t traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to their end destination, here in South Lake Tahoe. The bottom line is that it is always better to support regional farmers, rather than products that were grown halfway around the world.”

Many Sample the Sierra attendees also took part in the events leading up to the Sunday, September 4 festival, including the inaugural Sample the Sierra Dinner Cruise aboard the Tahoe Queen (September 2), Black Bear Inn’s Sample the Sierra Cooking Demonstration (September 3), as well as free working tours at Jollity Farm located in Garden Valley, California and free tours of Retiredice Alpacas Ranch in Fair Play, California (both held on September 3).

Sample the Sierra is coordinated by and was sponsored by El Dorado County, the South Lake Tahoe Endowment, Weldon W. Wulstein Financial, Winters Electric, South Tahoe Refuse, as well as a number of media partners, including K-Tahoe Radio, Lake Tahoe TV, Tahoe Daily Tribune, Tahoe Arts & Mountain Culture, KRLT/KOWL, Sierra Heritage Magazine and Getaway Reno/Tahoe. The South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts also supported the event.

Discussions are underway regarding dates for the 2012 event, which will soon be posted on the Sample the Sierra’s official website at


Pettit Gilwee

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