by Tom Sims
Join Tom every month as he strolls the town!
Downtown Fresno and the Tower District are homes to some of the most serious “foodies” in the country, especially when it comes to healthy, natural, wholesome organic food. Among those who inhabit her byways are leaders in the new food culture of wellness and health through good eating. That is why it was not surprising that several weeks ago, the brightest and best caravanned to the country for a “get-out-of-town” event in the country, where mouths were watering and minds were being fed. It was the 6th Annual Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee.
Each year, a consortium of organizations that grow and promote organic fruits sponsors the event that includes demonstrations, lectures and tasting. You buy a bag and fill it with the fruit of your choice.
The event was located at Mokichi Okada Association’s Oasis Garden, 5790 N, Indianola Avenue, Clovis, CA 93619 where host, Bruno Luconi sells fruits and vegetables throughout the week.
Bruno’s farm is quite small by farm standards, but it is truly a demonstration plot for what can be accomplished through effective techniques and careful planning. There is nothing haphazard about how he has laid out his farm–everything has its place and each area compliments the other.
Participating farms were: Abundant Harvest Organics, Blossom Bluff Orchards, D.E. Boldt Family Farms, California Tree Ripe, Grand Island Farm, Kaweah Farm, MOA’s Oasis Garden, Naylor Organics, Olson Family Farms, Peterson Farm, and Vince’s Organics.
The event is always hands-on and taste-bud-engaged. Workshops, activities and demonstrations this year, included jam-making,, “Mother Nature’s Best Food,” “Farm Stories,” a Stone Fruit Recipe Contest with Chef Tara Hamilton, a tea ceremony, flower arranging, Okada purifying therapy, soil therapy and children’s craft corner. The featured speaker for the day was Manuel Jimenez with his Speech “From Farm-worker to Farm Advisor to Farm-worker.”
Each year, I pick up a few tidbits on effective composting and other useful skill. We get to talk to the people who actually raise the fruit we taste and they are always open to questions.
Downtown went to the country for a healthy, old-time, county fair and picnic! But it was more; it was a congregation of like-minded souls with a hankering for fresh fruit and exotic flavors. It was downtown-out-of-town. Because the community of foodies and farmers is small but growing in Fresno, there were lots of greetings, reunions and opportunities to catch up with friends. With the crowd growing more and more each year, one wonders how many new friends will be on site next year.
As always, there were farm tours, or the chance to wander around, a pond to capture the attention of children, chickens to pet and pony rides. It cost $5 to get in with children under 12 admitted free. It all happened in the summer heat of June 22 from 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
One of the great things about living in a city like Fresno is that you can be in the heart of agricultural country in ten or fifteen minutes. One of the great things about the Stone Fruit Festival is that, upon returning to the city, one can bring some of the country home in bags of fruit and in knowledge of how to turn back yards, patios, and windows into gardens, bringing country to the city in a meaningful and healthy way.
The principle sponsors were Slow Food Madera and The Ecological Farming Association. Other event participants and sponsors included Central Valley District, of the American Dietetic Association, Mokichi Okada Association, T&D Willey Farms, Blossom Bluff Orchards, Organic Fresno/Revive Café, Peterson Farm, Kern Family Farm. Food vendors included La Boulangerie Bakery, La Reina de Michoacan, Dusty Buns Bistro, Organic Fresno, Chicken Pie Shop, Casa de Tamales and Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza. The canine Agility Club of Fresno helped with the parking.
To stay in touch for next year’s event, bookmark these sites:
For biographies of the farmers, see: http://www.eco-farm.org/programs/heartland_project/organic_stone_fruit_jubilee/
You can find more of Tom’s Tower District and Downtown Fresno articles here.