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Agriculture

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SIP, SAMPLE AND SAVOR AT FALL FESTIVALS

Monterey County's fine food and wine are the focus of autumn celebrations throughout the region.

Carmel's top restaurants serve up tasty dishes paired with area wines at this year's Taste of Carmel, Thursday, Oct. 5.

Hayrides, puppet shows and a pumpkin race are among highlights of the Fall Festival at The Farm, welcoming families on Saturday, Oct. 14.

And, on Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 28-29, fans of food and art alike can explore Pac Rep Theatre's Monterey Bay Fall Fest and Holiday Gift Faire in Monterey's Custom House Plaza.




Agriculture


Click here for a list of Farms and Farms Tours and Museums


The Salinas Valley is best known as "the Salad Bowl of the Nation" — and with good reason. This fertile valley, stretching almost 50 miles from Salinas to south of King City, produces a cornucopia of fresh fruits and veggies, including iceberg, romaine, and leaf lettuces, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, artichokes, and Brussels sprouts, to name just a few. Agriculture is Monterey County's largest industry, employing more people than any other, and accounting for over $2 billion in annual revenue.

To see first-hand how row crops are grown, and to get an insider's view of the industry, visit The Farm in Salinas mdash; a visitor-friendly produce stand that lets you 'pick your own' of whatever's in season. In Carmel Valley, Earthbound Farm is owned by one of the largest organic farming operations in the nation; it also offers tours of the fields, sometimes led by local chefs.

The Agricultural and Rural Life Museum in King City is a walk back in time to a period of blacksmiths and one-room schoolhouses. The vintage farmhouse gives visitors a view into how people lived one hundred years ago, antique mining and farming equipment is on display, and a Southern Pacific caboose waits at the old railroad station. The main museum displays a tack shop, a country store, antique printing presses and clothing. The barn and outdoor displays are open daily from 10am-4pm all year. The other buildings are open weekends, April-October. Free guided tours help make this an enjoyable and educational experience.



The Workers of the Fields

Monterey County's agriculture industry was once the setting for an intense civil rights struggle, as field workers, led by Cesar Chavez, lobbied for higher wages and better working and living conditions. The United Farm Workers Union (UFW) is an outgrowth of those turbulent times; today, the union represents thousands of farm workers in Monterey County.

In The Grapes of Wrath, Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck detailed the plight of the "Okies" — people from Oklahoma's "dust bowl" who moved to California during the Great Depression hoping for employment in the ag industry. The book was critical of the industry and its practices, and earned Steinbeck a one-way ticket out of Salinas. Eventually, this celebrated local author was welcomed back, and today, a festival is held each year in his honor.



Farms & Farm Tours

Earthbound Farm
Carmel Valley Rd
Carmel Valley
831-625-6219
www.ebfarm.com

The Farm
Hwy 68 at Spreckels Blvd
Salinas
831-455-2575
www.thefarm-salinasvalley.com

Ag Venture Tours
Wine tasting, agricultural and sightseeing tours.
831-384-7686
www.agventuretours.com

Museums

Agricultural and Rural Life Museum
San Lorenzo Park
King City, CA 93930
831-385-1484
www.co.monterey.ca.us/parks

National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street
Salinas, CA
831- 796-3833 Fax 831-796-3828
www.steinbeck.org