We have a suggestion for the folks at the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau who are attempting to brand their namesake burg as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.”
Log off your laptops, get out of your cubicles and motor down to Fresno, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, and see what’s going on in America’s real Farm-to-Fork Capital.
Around here, the connection between farmers and eaters – notice that we don’t call them “consumers” – is real, and has been since this fertile land was settled by wave after wave of immigrants looking for a place to put down roots and prosper.
We are asked all the time about life in Fresno. How do you put up with the heat? What about the fog? Where is the ocean?
Trust us, enduring such conversations is a small price for having the world’s best peaches, nectarines, plums, tomatoes, apricots, pomegranates, garlic, sweet corn, head lettuce and peppers available at a nearby farmer’s market – or even in your backyard.
We could go on and on and list more of our favorite fruits and vegetables and brag about our almonds, but that would be rubbing it in.
What sparked our interest in the River City’s effort to proclaim itself as the Farm-to-Fork Capital is that it is hosting the International Food Blogger Conference this week . It opens Thursday – the same day that the sixth Fresno Food Expo, the largest regional food show in the nation, starts its run.
According to The Sacramento Bee, more than 350 food bloggers from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are expected for the affair up north. They’ll take field trips to farms, sample peaches and wines, and talk about food blogging and how to best use the social media tool SnapChat.
Fair enough. Social media is a vital part of the farm-to-fork scene. But we noticed that the event’s registration price is discounted from $495 to $195 for bloggers who agree to write at least three posts about the conference.
In other words, the Sacramento event is as much about writing about food as it is the food itself.
In Fresno, the focus will be on food and beverages. Making it, tinkering with it, sampling it and growing the connections to see that it ends up on supermarket shelves. Nearly 1,000 buyers representing local, statewide and international companies will attend – a 379 percent increase from the first year.
These buyers will evaluate the products of about 130 exhibitors from Kern to Merced counties offering samples of everything from banana-flavored walnut butter to premium brandy.
Ah, but in our zeal for all things delicious we have digressed from our case for Fresno as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. We rest with this: Internationally recognized and universally lauded Erna’s Elderberry House in Oakhurst uses seasonal and organic ingredients from central San Joaquin Valley farms for its dishes.
“I have been very impressed with what we produce here and I really believe others are noticing it, too,” Erna Cubin-Klanin, owner of Erna’s Elderberry House and Chateau du Sureau told The Fresno Bee’s Robert Rodriguez.
As we are in a charitable mood, we’ll allow that Sacramento has us beat if you are desiring a fabulous hamburger.
But, if you live in Sacramento and have a need for the world’s best tacos, you’ll have to fill the gas tank and head to Fresno.