Starting July 11, the 2014 California State Fair will once again bring a focus on The Farm with three acres of plantings accompanied by information, demonstration and fun. Those who don't live in agricultural lands are provided an opportunity to see rows of live crops still rooted in the ground. We all know what watermelon, corn, squash and many other vegetables and fruits look like once they arrive at the market or land on our supper tables. However, many of us don't recognize a watermelon leaf, rarely get to see a pepper hanging on its limb, and have minimal understanding of what it takes from seed to harvest and even to cooking methods when it comes to the food we eat.
The State Fair, much like hundreds of County fairs, likes to bring the world of California into more accessible experiences for us. We may not have time to drive through the agricultural regions to see the beauty of the crops growing strong and vibrant so the fair can give us a glimpse of that beauty and even give us some tips on how to cook it all up to make a great dish.
The Farm will also feature a "shady outdoor demonstration kitchen that brings the fork right in to the farm ... [where] you can pick up techniques for your own backyard culinary exploits." Sample tastes will even be available at the grill.
Information about water efficient gardening, aquaculture, aquaponics, the crops of California, backyard and container gardening, seeds and recipes will all be made handy with eye and mind catching information programs. The Farm focus will also include the "Epic Chef Battles" where firefighters, postal workers, 4-H youth, rising stars from cooking schools and others go head-to-head in timed cooking competitions with surprise ingredients like the hit show "Chopped" on the Food Network. And, this year "our men and women in uniform will face off for a MRE Cooking Challenge."
The CA State Fair Farm is also surrounded by living floral displays that energize the spirit and dance with color. Colorfully painted old tires and other unique containers have been turned into flower and vegetable garden vessels. It's truly a great place to relax when you get tired of the spinning rides and the warm walks through the fairgrounds. The Save Mart Supermarket's Wine Country and Craft Brew Pub are just outside the doors of the California Building which now houses the California"s Kitchen featuring the SMUD Energy Efficient Cooking Theater officially partnered with CalFit.