Living in Fresno, California – and before that Hanford, California – for most of my life, I can’t miss the importance of agriculture. The closest I ever came to direct exposure to the farm life was picking, and turning, grapes as a teenager. (When I lived in Tennessee as a child, I think I got one day’s lovely experience picking cotton. My fingers still hurt just thinking about it.)

Nevertheless, the Central San Joaquin Valley of California has been called “the land of a billion vegetables.” Everywhere you look, you see evidence that this could easily be an underestimate.

In addition to the farms, and ranches, you can’t hardly throw a pluot without hitting a fruit stand such as the one in Centerville, California.

First Place winner, Fresno Arts Council, "Arts Alive in Agriculture," titled "Rainy Day"
First Place winner, Fresno Arts Council, “Arts Alive in Agriculture,” titled “Centerville Fruit Stand”

Tourists love the place. That’s perhaps one reason why they manage to sell a lot of fruit, but not many vegetables: people on the move are more prone to consume raw fruit, and don’t have time to cook vegetables.

Aside from fruit stands, there are the ubiquitous farmers’ markets. There’s even one in downtown Fresno, near the Citibank on Kern and M streets. So far as I know, it’s open every week through the main growing season.

Growing right along with it will be, I hope, my portfolio of winning agricultural landscapes.

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