- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The New York Times today ran a story that mixed irony with admiration for California's ubiquitous agricultural fairs. The irony was in descriptions of festivals in areas where the featured crop -- for example apricots in Patterson and garlic in Gilroy -- is celebrated, but no longer widely grown.
"In Gilroy . . . (garlic) is now grown on only about 500 acres. Half of the garlic sold in the United States now comes from China; most California garlic comes from the Central Valley, near Fresno," the story says.
The story reported that ag festivals still have an educational component, noting that UC Cooperative Extension informed fairgoers of mandarin's natural decongestant properties at the Mountain Mandarin Festival in Auburn, Calif.
In addition to the apricot, garlic and mandarin festivals, the story mentioned the Dry Bean Festival in Tracy, the Pear Fair in Courtland, the Stockton Asparagus Festival and the Castroville Artichoke Festival.
Another festival in the press today is the California Youth Fair, featured in a Contra Costa Times article. The story said the fair began as "Youth Fair 2000" by the Contra Costa County 4-H program. Organizers changed the name in early 2007 and formed a nonprofit organization to run it.
The article said the change was made to permit more children to participate. Minimum age has dropped from 9 to 5 and exhibitors no longer have to be members of 4-H, FFA or the grange.