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Springtime Strawberry Celebration in Santa Maria, CA

Vittoria Vincenza explores strawberry fields forever… in the Santa Maria Valley.

Santa Maria strawberries

California’s central coast boasts golden hillsides, sprawling cattle ranches, breathtaking views, and world-class wines, but did you know that 99% of the country’s strawberries are grown in Santa Maria? To honor the area’s “red gold,” the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival will run April 27-29.

Santa Maria Valley strawberriesThe coastal climate of the Santa Maria Valley provides the perfect match for the berry allowing a rare year-round growing season through the moderate winters and cool summers. The Sheehys family, having recognized the beautiful local and ideal climate, began experimenting with strawberry farming in the valley in the 1940s. Since then, farmers have been developing techniques that produce berries worthy of celebration, replanting the fields every year providing larger and more exceptional harvests.

Local Gina Keough expounds, “Strawberries from our area are prized for their consistent quality and juicy sweetness. Combined with Santa Maria-style barbecue and local wines, they offer a regional flavor experience like no other.”

Pie Eating contest at the Santa Maria Strawberry FestivalThe annual festival will take place at the Santa Maria Fairpark and will be sampling varieties of strawberries, strawberry desserts, educational exhibits, live music, food booths and old-fashioned carnival entertainment. Yes, there is a pie eating contest and one lucky female will even earn the crowned title of Strawberry Queen.

For travelers in the area want to sample the succulent fruit, Daren’s Berries at the junction of Highway 101 and Stowell Road is one of the easiest berry stands to find. Local restaurants also celebrate the berry like the Garden Room restaurant in the Historic Santa Maria Inn where chef Alex Araizaga serves an almond-crusted salmon with a strawberry demi glaze.

Santa Maria grown StrawberriesFor more information about the Santa Maria Valley festival,
strawberries, lodging or wine tasting, visit www.santamaria.com.

Or call the Chamber of Commerce & Visitor
and Convention Bureau at 800-331-3779.

Photos courtesy of the Santa Maria Valley
Chamber of Commerce & VCB

3 Comments

  1. mary housel on April 14, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Can you tell me the source of your statistic that 99% of all the country’s strawberries come from Santa Maria?

    • Ann Wycoff on April 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Sure it’s from the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau at (800) 331-3779.

  2. Ron on April 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    According to the California Strawberry Commission, California produces almost 90% of the nation’s strawberries. About 25% of the strawberries in California are grown in Santa Maria.

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