News From the Farm | August 1, 2016

The California State Fair wrapped up last weekend after a nearly three week run at Cal Expo in Sacramento. The State Fair, which features everything you would expect in a typical fair – deep fried everything, carnival games with oversized stuffed animals, rickety rides that make everyone a little nervous, cotton candy and more – celebrates California agriculture in a fantastic fashion. 

Staying true to the history of fairs, the California State Fair hosts competitions to find the “Best of California” in categories from cattle to cheese – in fact, over 21,400 different entries were received by fair staff this year! The youth livestock show (where 8,870 livestock animals were on display) saw exhibitors from 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters from around the state. The champion animals were then sold in a livestock sale that raised over $230,000 for those young people. The olive oil competition saw 161 entries from all over the state – and some of the top winners were from our small Capay Valley. 

In my opinion, the best part of the state fair is The Farm, a three acre demonstration farm that features small plots of almost every crop you can think of, from rice to watermelons to wine grapes. It is beautiful little refuge in the midst of corndogs and carnies, a place where kids and adults can touch and feel and see agriculture in a way that so many never experience. This year, during the fair, over 3,400 pounds of produce were harvested during the fair and donated to local food banks. The Farm operates year round and hosts school groups from the region for hands-on agriculture education.




Full Belly Farm was featured at the State Fair in a few different ways – our produce was showcased in the California Building, our flowers were displayed in the California Grown Floral Shop, and CSA boxes from Full Belly were used by chefs in the finale of the California State Fair Cooking Challenge. Each of the three finalists had to use the ingredients from their CSA box in their three course meal – appetizer, main dish, and dessert. The results were mouthwatering! 

If you didn’t have a chance to visit the fair this year, be sure to look for it next July when it rolls around again!

–Hallie Ochoa

Hallie was appointed by Governor Brown to the Cal Expo and State Fair Board of Directors in January 2013. Her favorite part of the fair, besides The Farm, is the food.