Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The More The Merrier At Nut Tree

The More The Merrier At Nut Tree
By Ines Bebea

Anya Lynn of Fairfield talks with Capay Valley Farm Shop employee Russ Saunders while shopping for produce Tuesday at the Nut Tree complex in Vacaville. (Photo by Brad Zweerink)

VACAVILLE - Shopping, eating or just browsing at Nut Tree Village has the makings for a fun family outing. With the official grand opening slated for Aug. 11, the 37 shops and restaurants will offer a rainbow of diversions, styles and tastes for all ages.

"The park is a family-oriented destination," said Fred Steingraf, director of sales and marketing for Nut Tree. "In addition to enjoying the park, the market pavilion gives families places to enjoy a meal and shop."

The grand opening celebration will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a performance by the Vacaville Jazz Society. Newcomers to the market pavilion include Jelly Belly, Fentons Creamery, Villa Corona Mexican Restaurant, Capay Valley Farm Shop, Mariani Fruit Stand and Potter Family farms.

"We wanted to have a store at the Nut Tree because of what the park and the founders represent to the community," said Thomas Nelson, chief executive officer of Capay Valley. "We wanted to be associated with a name that has tradition. Nut Tree represents agricultural heritage, and our aim is to bridge the gap between farmers and customers."

Capay Valley Farm Shop, the retail venture of Capay Valley farmers, opened its flagship store last Thursday. The store is designed to give customers the feel of a farmers market, said Nelson, "but the difference is that we are opened every day."

Tradition and the focus on families are what attracted many businesses to Nut Tree Village. Carlos Villasenor's parents opened their first restaurant 40 years ago in Napa. The Villa Coronas Mexican Restaurant at Nut Tree Village is the fourth for the family-owned business.

"What sets our food apart from other Mexican restaurants is that this is the kind of food we serve to our friends and family when they come over for a visit," said Villasenor, whose restaurant opened last Thursday. "Our food is not gourmet, but our products are fresh and our presentation is part of the service. You really have to eat it to compare it to the rest."

Visitors to the Fentons Creamery can chose from 40 flavors of ice cream as well as a wide menu of sandwiches and Fenton favorites. Some of the fun requires no eating or drinking. Through a glass mirror, visitors can watch how the ice cream and ice cream pies are made daily.

"This location is 50 percent bigger than our store in Oakland," said Sam Zarnegar, director of operations for Fentons Creamery. "Nut Tree and Fentons Creamery are two old-timers getting together, with strong ties to the community."

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

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