Food Festivals of California

The California Farm Bureau Federation boasts that the states 84,000 farms are the most productive food and fiber producers in the world, leading the nation in agricultural production for more than 50 years. It is a $28 billion industry which produces more than 250 different agricultural commodities including all of the nations commercially grown almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwis, nectarines, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes, raisins and walnuts. California is also the production leader of 75 other food products and more than half of the nations fruits, vegetables and nuts.With these kinds of numbers and agricultures impact on the states economy, it is no wonder that Californians love to celebrate their harvests. Fresh-from-the-field foods are highly valued at all types of gatherings, especially within the regions of the various harvests. Unlike many other states, California has a year-round growing and harvest season.

Here is just a sampling of the hundreds of festivals that celebrate local harvests.January.Carrot Festival Late January Holtville- This week long event includes many activities with a focus on carrots. There are cooking contests, displays, demonstrations and tastings. Other activities include a parade, carnival, arts and crafts booths, a rib cook-off, special meals and a golf tournament. Contact: 619-356-2923, www. Festival January thru March Napa Valley- Wild mustard is in full bloom and carpets the area vineyards as this festival celebrates spring in the Napa Valley. On all weekends there are special events which include mustard tasting, horticulture and culinary activities, art shows, concerts and a food and wine auction. Contact: 707-983-1133.

February.Citrus Fair Mid February Cloverdale- This region was once the largest citrus growing area of the state. Although there are no longer orchards here, the community celebrates its heritage with a fair having elaborate theme displays made primarily with citrus products. There are also popular Lemon Pie and Orange Cake contests. The event is held in conjunction with the Tricounty Wine Classic and Tasting.

Other activities include an arts and crafts show, entertainment and a carnival. Contact: 707-894-3992, Date Festival Mid February Indio- An exotic winter event that is held in conjunction with the Riverside County Fair. Featured events include the Arabian Nights Pageant, an outdoor musical drama, ostrich and camel races, carnival rides and games, music and headline entertainment.

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