One year later, I’m finally posting on my visit to ALBA’s farm in Salinas to celebrate local foods. Those who attended the 2007 Chowing with the Hounds picnic may remember lovely Latina chowhound, Monica, modeling the “Compre Lo Fresco de Nuestra Region” (Buy Fresh, Buy Local) logo for the Central Coast campaign.
My contribution to the crowded picnic table was roasted Salinas Valley zucchini meze (link to recipe, substitute lemon balm for mint, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4251... ), as shown here.
I’d picked the organic produce myself at ALBA, enough to serve 40. The cherry tomatoes and zucchini were grown by farmer-in-training, Domitila, shown here in her summer squash patch,
The lemon balm came from ALBA’s demonstration herb garden.
This garden also had different varieties of basil, lemongrass, rau ram, and many less common herbs. I especially enjoyed strolling through this area and seeing the trial plantings of many heirlooms and special varieties of chili peppers to see what will thrive in this climate.
This year, ALBA scheduled two you-picks, one last month and the second will be held tomorrow, October 11, from 10 am to 3 pm. I had a chance to talk to a friend in Salinas who took part last month with her Oaxacan in-laws. She said her family was pleased to see that familiar produce from their region and homeland was available. And she added that the berries were a hit.
2008 U-pick flyer, Sept 20 and Oct 11, 10am to 3pm
I’ll be there tomorrow morning to check it out myself. For an idea of what might be in the ground, here are my photos from October 5, 2007 showing some of what was in season.
ALBA slideshow (random order) -
Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA)
“An agricultural development and community center creating opportunities for beginning organic farmers”
ALBA Agriculture & Land Based Training Association
1700 Old Stage Rd, Salinas, CA