|624 4th Street (Between E & F)
|next door to the Natural Food Works
|Mon - Limited cafe service. Deli style items in refrigerator for times when table service is not available
|Tues - Sat 9AM - 6PM (lunch 12-2, dinner 5:00-6:00PM After 6:00PM by reservation only) Deli style items in refrigerator for times when table service is not happening)
The Farmer's Kitchen Cafe offers delicious, homemade bioregional foods, free of gluten and casein. Your food is made with locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables, free range meats and sustainable fish. No aluminum pans, no hydrogenated fats, no microwaved foods, no "unnatural" additives.
They design their menu around seasonally available organic local produce, eggs, and other farm products from the Capay Valley, Winters, and the Dixon Ridge. That means good bioregional food year round, with old fashioned flavor and powerful nutritional value.
Everything is seasonal & local and that means FRESH. The menu changes often, so check the website or call before you go - although you'll always find something good. Very vegetarian and vegan friendly, but also offer meat choices. There's free wireless internet, a huge selection of teas, outside dining when the weather is nice and a friendly staff. Check out the website for information on delivery, catering and fresh, gluten-free breads, bagels and pies made daily. There is also glutenous bread, but they cater to people with food sensitivities/allergies.
The Farmer's Kitchen Cafe serves food that is free of casein/gluten, with the exception that cheese is served on sandwiches, salads and pizzas as an option. This is a safe and delicious place for casein/dairy free people to eat. No gluten flours on premises. Gluten free bread and bagels baked daily. Gluten free pizza, pasta and pies. Gluten free croutons.
They were reviewed with beautiful photos in Davis Life Magazine
I highly endorse this place, and it's not because I grew up across the street from the owner. ~SD
2005-07-07 09:38:48 Fresh good quality food. Wonderful salads and soups. —SiennaGrass
2005-08-30 22:55:30 I've never eaten here but I've been walking past it lately. Got any suggestions? —IrenePark
2006-03-06 18:43:19 The food here always pleases me, but I only go when I have lots of time to spare. The food is extraordinarily fresh which means you have to wait a while for them to prepare it. The Torte de Blette has a really good crust that works well the with apples, and the pickled beets alone merit getting the salad. I'm generally not a fan of brown rice, so I was surprised to have enjoyed the Curried Organic Vegetables w brown Rice and Homemade Chutney— good texture, well spiced, and with the addition of extra chutney, just the right amount of sweet and sour. —CraigBrozinsky
2006-06-04 14:05:15 We do old fashioned home cooking...but since we all live in a time famine, we found an easy, sort of modern, solution to the problem of waiting while we cook. Many of our patrons call in their food order from the freeway, or before leaving home, the office (or from the airport, as one family did yesterday). The menu is on our website, or we'll talk you through your food choices with recommendations. That gives us time to have your food ready and waiting for you on the table when you arrive. That's even faster than conventional fast food, if you think about it! Phone number is 530-756-1862. RoseAnneDeCristoforo
2007-08-04 12:47:35 I had a long lunch here a couple of weeks ago and was very pleased. The chicken pot pie was delicious, as were the chicken noodle soup and peach pie. This is a nice place for a leisurely meal. —ChristianAnderson
2007-08-04 15:38:36 Recommendations: 1) "Student Special", an excellent simple dish of fried egg, black beans, Escabeche (sp? pickled veggies), and seriously delicious habenaro sauce. RoseAnne isn't serving it yet this summer, but if you ask for it, she'll eventually bring it back. 2) the coffee. Not so great as iced coffee but delicious regular coffee. 3) Chicken sandwich with a yummy dressing on foccacio bread.
Comments: This is a truly different restaurant from the time perspective. While you can phone ahead and enjoy the yummy food at the time pacing that fits your life, consider instead enjoying the whole experience of the place and stay for awhile while others prepare your fresh food for you. I feel like I get more out of it and the food tastes even more delicious when I'm not in a hurry. Bring a friend and chat for an hour. —JoRo
2007-08-26 15:30:29 Awsome food, the owner is really nice, too. Don't go here if you're in a hurry, they take their time. Thi was the last place I ate before i gave birth to my daughter, so it's special to me :) —ElisaWeller
2007-09-11 14:30:50 I was in for lunch this afternoon, and after placing my order and waiting for some time, I was told that the day's bread delivery had failed to arrive and they were going to have to go and pick it up before they could make my food. The server was apologetic, but she did not offer anything while I waited, which I feel under the circumstances, she should have done. Additionally, she failed to bring me my iced tea: I had to get up and ask for it, and even still there was a noticeable delay in the amount of time it took for her to actually bring it to me. The food was good once it arrived, but after finishing my meal, there was no sign of my server, and hence, no sign I would receive a bill anytime soon. I finally went back to the kitchen and asked for my check. When I went up to the register, another employee asked how my experience was, so I told her I was dissatisfied with the service. She asked what happened, and I told her, and all she could say was she was sorry and she would make a note for the servers. I told her I wasn't happy I had to pay full price for the sandwich, and she said that things are usually slow in the restaurant. I am not satisfied with that response. I don't think slow food has to equal bad service. I won't be back. —Shelly
2007-11-14 23:05:43 Very nice staff, I was not in love with my meal, but I would return because I like the idea of their menu/mission so much! —katherine1234
2007-12-05 22:29:59 The food here is fantastic! My husband absolutely loves the free-range chicken sandwich on foccacia (he says it is good enough to make up for the lack of french fries). I like the eggplant sandwich and the salads. I want to try the black bean tacos but enjoy the sandwich so much I've yet to stray. —havanese
2008-02-08 02:23:13 Holy wow. I ate at the Farmer's Kitchen Cafe today for the first time, and was blown away. The prices are pretty intimidating and the food took a while, but in the end, wow. I split the "Portobello Mushroom Sandwich w/ Local Organic Roasted Red Pepper Puree" ($13.95), the "Local Organic Winter Roasted Vegetables w/ Mustard Sauce" ($10.50) and a side of rosemary garlic toast with a friend. The vegetables were flavorful and very fresh. It paired perfectly with the toast. The sandwich, though? Wow. WOW. So good. Would I pay $14 for it? Yes. But only every once in a while. It's delicious, but I'm not made of money. The mushrooms were cooked in such a way that they were tender in the middle and crispy on the outside (best mushrooms I've ever had). The pesto had a great texture. The foccaccia put it over the top.
I'm definitely coming here again. If you do give this place a try, make sure to give yourself plenty of time. The food is fresh, so the wait can be substantial, and the staff doesn't seem particularly rushed. They are very pleasant, though, and the experience is worth the money and the wait. —SharonZimmerman
2008-02-10 07:49:54 In this country we have a two tiered food system, with very expensive 'chef prepared' food at the top, and nutritionally compromised, contaminated factory food offered to everyone else. We have forgotten that real, interesting, even exciting, food can be prepared by and for real people in the real world at prices somewhere in between dirt cheap and astronomical. This is not news to people who travel in other countries. But here, good food, like political power, has been gravitating toward money. At Farmers Kitchen Cafe we see fresh, good food as a middle ground, and as the fundamental basis of a decent society.
For customers who don't know us well, our "servers" are actually often your chefs, making your food from complex old recipes, while also popping out of the kitchen to find out what you'd like to eat. We have chosen to emulate a food system that far predates the restaurant model.
In traditional food systems, food providers and preparers concern themselves with food quality. The idea of the "server" flows from an "Upstairs/Downstairs" model, a two tiered system focused on attending to every whim of impatient lords and ladies, who need to be spared the realities of the actual kitchen. Hence the relationship between the word "server" and the word "servant."
The "Let's Play Lord and Lady of the Manor" approach to restaurant food has contributed mightly to compromised food quality and safety in this country. Because of financial pressure engendered by a system that required two levels of staff (one for the kitchen and one for the front of the house), restaurants cut employee costs by buying food prepared in factories, probably thousands of miles away. Part of the hidden cost of cheap fast factory food is toxicity from ingesting solvents and degreasers used on giant food production machines.*
Your plate may also hold contaminated seafood from China or Indonesia, providing another big savings for the restaurant owner while tightening the noose on local providers of clean seafood. If you eat meat, an animal probably suffered for a lifetime somewhere in confined quarters, creating economies that the current model requires. And typical restaurants provide predictable, consistent service by offering unchanging menus, taking no notice of the ebb and flow of fresh local seasonal foods. All this comes at the expense of your health, the environment and the future of the food system.
When the pre-made factory food finally arrives at the typical restaurant, whether frozen, canned, or in giant tubs, it comes on the back of a very big truck (look for the trucks in your neighborhood..they say things like Sysco or Tony's Fine Foods). From there, your food is scooped out and/or, maybe, warmed up (very quickly!) in a microwave before being placed on your table by a properly serene and obsequious server. (Thus, the difference in flavor and freshness, as well as the wait time, noted by our patrons.)
It is tempting for me to suggest that patrons such as Elle, who probably came in last week when we were understaffed, simply try another restaurant. But she apparently has considered that and decided to keep coming back over the years, as she notes, almost in spite of herself. In that case, I would suggest, as I have before, that anyone who faces time constraints (as we all do), call ahead..from the freeway, from the office, from home..and place an order before arriving. Our menu is on the web. (see link above)
And, for locals, we offer an even more innovative way to beat the time/service conondrum. We have established a CSA/Plat du Jour system that allows subscribers to order ahead over the internet and receive substantial discounts on the freshest and best lunches and dinners. Check out the details at farmerskitchecafe.com.
*(Skeptical?..research Congressional hearings in which Kraft Foods sought to obtain organic designation for food items made in their factories that were shown to contain solvents and degreasers. Hint, for observers of our lobbyist driven political system-the big money won. Note also that those same solvents and degreasers are used in typical restaurant dishwashers instead of water. They save you from the potential peril of waterspots on your spoon, or maybe even your glass, but, without water, are they not still on the dishes? Ask next time you eat out.."Do you have a chemical dishwasher?" )
— TESTIFY!!! —StevenDaubert
2008-05-21 18:52:56 This place is decent, but the only thing I would come again for is the salad. I brought my parents and boyfriend and ordered the salad, escabeche and the "tamales" to share. There was only one tamale - traditional, very tasty - so I was very annoyed that not only the menu was misleading, but it was extremely overpriced. I get that they are serving high quality local food, but come on! Then the escabeche: coming from a Hispanic household, I was seriously confused by this dish. There was no fish, just pickled vegetables, rice, and beans. I would also not recommend the desserts, but I guess that's my fault for ordering gluten-free apple pie. The salad, thank god, was delicious and big enough to share. It was the only thing that saved this experience. —carlaisnt
2008-07-04 21:56:18 I loved the local ingredients. The salad was great even though the ingredients didn't seem to go together when looking at the menu (get the sesame dressing). The Salmon was very tasty as well, and came with a wonderful side of cheesy mashed potatoes, but the dish was quite pricey at 18$. Soup was not so great. Overall the place is very good but perhaps too expensive for the ambiance. —MattHh
2008-09-06 17:01:21 We recently ate there and the service was extremely slow. We had to ask more than once for cold water and ice. The pulled pork was AWFUL. It gave us the worst upset stomachs. Yuk! Greasy. And furthermore, the bathroom DOES NOT have hand rails for the handicapp/seniors who need them. I would NEVER recommend this place to anyone. —rosehips
2008-09-13 17:28:57 The condescending attitude expressed by the owner on this page almost turned me away from this place, but luckily (for me) I decided to give them a try anyway. I have yet to have a bad meal here. Everything I have tried (salad, tamales, rice and veggies, chicken and potatoes, soup, etc.) has been fresh and flavorful. I should emphasize the "flavorful" — food is nicely spiced, so that even an ordinary dish like chicken and potatoes tastes like something special. So, come here if you believe in the mission of the place, but come here even if you just want a good meal. But definitely don't come here unless you've got time to spare; in general, it won't be a quick meal. Think of it as a nice place to have a long chat with friends and have a nice, healthy, tasty meal. —CovertProfessor
2009-01-09 17:06:00 i was meeting up with some friends today and wanted time to catch up, so I thought to give this place a try since I heard you have to wait quite a while for the food to arrive. It was definitely a little weird since it was our first time and we didn't know about the menus near the door. We waited quite a while at the table until someone came to take our order except we hadn't even looked at the menu yet. I got the chicken pot pie, and although it was pretty tasty with a great flaky, tender crust, it was really small for 12 dollars. i could get one twice as big at Mimi's Cafe for the same price. The good thing is after we were done, we didn't get that ugh full in the gut filling you tend to get with greasy food but it also didn't fill any of us up. We were still pretty hungry. Maybe we're all just too use to eating too much. But I would definitely come back again to try something new. —skinnyfatgirl
2009-02-14 17:29:24 Excellent subscription service for the food. The prices for the service are very reasonable given the stellar quality of almost every single thing they make. —JonathanEisen
2009-04-06 09:22:20 Everything on the menu is gluten free. This is HEAVEN for someone with Celiac Disease. I love their sandwiches (after I bit into one the first time I had to ask someone if I had accidentally gotten a wheat roll) and cookies. I can't wait to try everything they make. —nataliesadler
2009-07-16 17:18:39 I ate there today and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I went with some co-workers of mine and at first was very skeptical of the menu. I am not really into the whole health food, gluten-free, only organic stuff, but after today I have seen what good quality food really tastes like. I had the Chicken Sandwich with basil aioli... WOW! ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! The tomatoes on it were so fresh and sweet. The best part of all was definitely the bread. It had a biscuit like quality to it. We also ate the salad with tons of different fruits in it. The sesame dressing is possible the best I have tried... and initial sweetness and then a slight tang at the end of it. The fruits in the salad were possibly the freshest I have had in a very long time. Oh and the Cucumbers were like none I've had before. Overall I definitely recommend trying this place :) —hazeleyes16
2009-07-16 19:19:48 Food: Unique and delicious and amazing. Atmosphere: Cozy with a homey, midwestern charm. Service: Extremely slow. —jsogul
2009-07-30 00:57:45 I’ve been meaning to review this establishment for a while now, and I’m glad I waited, because when I first started eating lunch here almost a year ago, I tactfully related disappointments to the owner about quantity and price. I had a few repeat frustrations and this made me hesitant to write a negative review, because I didn't want to say anything bad about the only truly local/organic/sustainable alternative to home cooking in town. I’m happy to say that, now, most of my old complaints are no longer relevant—the alternative membership pricing, the increase in overall quantity for the price, and the reliable quality keep me coming back, and I don’t mind waiting longer than normal (that’s actually a mark of quality these days, aside from being charming in itself). When I want to emphasize unhurried conversation and organic food, Farmer's Kitchen springs to mind; and if I want to keep a clear conscience with regard to agricultural sustainability, not to mention an alternative to service-line food, there’s no better option. And don’t forget, if you're in a hurry, you can always place an order ahead of time, and it'll be ready for you when you get there. Very convenient. Favorite offerings: chicken pot pie, chicken noodle soup, and fresh salads. Their chai is really good, too. My only complaint is that I can’t always afford to eat here—for students such as myself, it’s only for special occasions :) —ZN
2009-08-11 22:15:31 FINALLY. A place where someone with CD can seriously relax and let down their guard. When I make more money, I am signing up for the subscription service. I'm tired of eating food that has been cross-contaminated with gluten, or having to settle on pre-packaged gluten free food that tastes like cardboard with spices thrown on top. Thanks RoseAnne, keep it up! —JuanaBNDavis
2009-09-07 23:22:32 I have never eaten something "curried" with a weaker flavor in my life. Tasted like mayonnaise and raisons with a splash of curry powder and some chicken. The ingrediants were high quality, but the recipe was shit. A ten dollar meal of mayonnaise. Dissapionting, but I will go back to support a local organic resuarant. —JustinMehlhaff
2009-10-02 12:04:03 Finally checked out this interesting little spot. Overall I would recommend it, but the food is not necessarily exciting although very solid & of course healthy. I would say the main reason to go here is to support healthy, local food. I was pleasantly surprised to see the bakery/grocery section - lots of doughs, frozen pizza crusts etc to take home & make something as well as prepared bakery items. There weren't a lot of diners for lunch when I arrived but the service was attentive without being in my face. They really seem to care that you appreciate & enjoy the food. I'll be back, lots. —Dora5
2010-08-06 15:22:02 Don't expect cheesecake factory sized portions or quality either. What I mean is that this is definitely a quality over quantity kind of restaurant. This is a quaint little treasure in Davis that offers VERY HOMEY food. I usually order the local chicken sandwich with basil and sorrel and it just screams with freshness. Their salads are really exciting too. It always smells like something good is cooking. Expect to pay a little more if you come here. —AmberMa
2010-09-06 16:46:39 This place's advertisements (outside their store) caught my eye with the words local, organic and gluten-free. I decided to give it a try the other day for lunch, and was definitely pleased! I had some sort of chicken sandwich (it's an evolving menu, based on what fresh, local foods are available to the chefs/ company) with a basil sauce, and a colorful and delicious rice dish on the side. Prices are decent - about the same as an average total cost of lunch in town (I think I paid $9). The gluten-free bread in my sandwich was delicious and light. My friend had the pork stew, which he said was excellent as well. The service was good - friendly staff. We ordered ahead of time, having read reviews that they take a long time to prepare food, and our food was ready right on time! I plan to go back! They also have a lot of other goods for sale - spices, supplements/ herbs, gluten-free oookie dough ($5 bucket - not bad for what it is) and gluten-free take 'n bake pizzas, etc. The one downside I see is the less than stellar ambiance/ atmosphere for sitting and eating, and for privacy of conversation... other than that, great place and highly recommended! —lalamusic
2012-07-06 16:52:20 I would say this is a great place to go if you are not looking for anything fancy and you have hours to burn. I love how she uses organic local food with gluten free options. She has been doing it for years. The food is good but simple. Just do not go if you are in a hurry. —ashleyinthemist
2012-10-02 11:19:11 I've been on the meal subscription program for a while now, and I can't wait for it to expire. It's a waste of my time and money. The place is incredibly slow, and they will answer the phone and/or help other customers while I'm simply trying to check out, and after I've been waiting 10 minutes to do so. They have given my orders away to other customers, yet charged me for it. I also forgot one order, and they called me a week later, asking me to come pick it up, and when I did, they actually did try to give it to me. I told them it was fish, and a week old; they can keep it. They charged me for the amount, kept the food, and it was fine with me. On the meal plans, they charge you for containers then credit you when you bring them back. However, they kind of just charge for whatever amount, and credit you for whatever amount...the two don't match up, so ask for a receipt listing your deposits. They don't offer these, and I learned the hard way.
Also, on the meal plans, the food really starts to taste the same.
I was excited in the beginning, now I just want to expire my account and not come back. Sorry, I'm all for local business, but I also think you need to deliver on your products and customer service. —UCDR
2012-10-07 20:45:30 I've been here daily to grab several things over the past few weeks and have never experienced what UCDR described above. I get receipts for everything, haven't had any mix-ups, and receive fairly prompt service. As for containers, I've gone through a mountain of them and have had the same, consistent price charged/credited for each type of container.
When it comes to the food though, I'm completely stumped. How exactly do you make a salad taste like black beans and rice? —LamsonNguyen
2013-02-15 10:45:07 We are part of the meal service and we have been very pleased thus far. The service has been incredibly helpful for me and my family. If you put enough money onto your account, they will deliver to you if you live within a certain radius from the restaurant. We submit our order at the beginning of the week and then the food is delivered in the evening on the days that we designate. Having 2 small children, evenings are usually a very busy time. After long days at work, my wife and I dont like to spend our free time cooking, so we use the meal service for the majority of the meals. Precious time is freed up by reducing our grocery trips and not having to prepare our own meals. Another huge plus is that the food is healthy, tasty, and the produce is local. We oftentimes get the soups and salads. Lastly, we find this to be a cost effective option for us, as we aren't the most efficient grocery shoppers to begin with and we also eat take-out a lot. So, we feel very fortunate and lucky to have been introduced to the meal service and we look forward to continuing our business with Farmer's Kitchen. Hope this review helps! —shenrich
2014-11-13 09:48:01 We signed up for their subscription service a couple of weeks ago and couldn't be happier; it's been a real lifesaver for me during an insane work deadline. My family had been surviving on takeout and delivery for awhile and this is soooooooo much healthier. None of us is gluten intolerant, vegan, or even vegetarian but that doesn't matter: We like to eat healthy and also appreciate excellent food. Farmer's Kitchen serves that up with flying colors: high quality, delicious meals carefully prepared from fresh, locally sourced and organic ingredients, delivered to our door in time for dinner. What's not to love? Well, it's not cheap, but I totally understand why - cooking at home costs the same for us because we also use fresh, high quality ingredients. Oh, and we don't even notice the gluten-free aspect (honestly I was a bit worried about this because I've had weird faux stuff at other places, but all of the breads or pastries we've tried here have been delicious). If I were to hire a home chef, this is *exactly* the kind of food I would request.
There are several options to choose from each day that you can order online before noon. The meal is delivered between 6-7 pm in tupperware, which is picked up with the next order (the absence of paper/styro/plastic waste is much appreciated too). The bio-regional salad is a delight: a mixture of bracingly fresh fruits, vegetables, and lettuces that varies every day but is always top notch and truly delicious. The vegetable frittata is literally weep-worthy. The kid's meal of chicken or tofu fingers with risotto is a "yay"-inducing happy meal doppelganger that is actually not unhealthy. The super green drink is exactly that - just sweet enough with a hint of ginger - a great afternoon pick-me-up for this computer monkey. The chicken soup is exactly as I would prepare at home, using a perfectly-executed fresh stock (so good that my teenager drank it from the bowl).
I rarely post comments here but spent the time today because their subscription meal service rates an A+ in my book (which is very hard to do) and wanted to pass that along. Highly recommend it. —lisastarrgoodin