Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee file

The State Fair’s Farm – long a staple of the agricultural showcase – has been remade to reflect what people want to know: How to grow their own food.

Farm-to-fork focus at State Fair

Published: Sunday, Jul. 6, 2014 - 12:00 am

Not all fair fare comes out of a deep fryer or is stuck on a stick.

This year’s California State Fair will celebrate Sacramento’s status as the nation’s Farm to Fork Capital with special exhibits, tastings, hands-on activities, how-to lessons and cooking demonstrations.

The action will be at the 31/2-acre Farm, and at the adjacent California’s Kitchen and Cooking Theater in the California Building. In that spirit, all of the California Counties Exhibits will focus on the theme “Our Farm To Your Table.”

“The fair celebrates all of California, but we’re highlighting Sacramento this year because of its connection to the abundance of local agriculture,” said marketing director Jennifer Castleberry. “We moved our cooking-demonstration kitchen from the Expo Center into the California Building to highlight the (interface) between it and the Farm. Bringing them physically closer and drawing on the connection between them makes sense in terms of showing people how produce is grown and what to do with it when you get it home.”

The Farm’s special programs include food tastings, cooking demonstrations (including how to grill fruit and vegetables), aquaculture and exhibits on urban farming and gardening. “We’re also showcasing how the drought is affecting residential and commercial farming, and giving people useful tips on how to save water while still growing their own fruits and vegetables,” Castleberry said.

More will be happening in the massive California’s Kitchen display area, where visitors can watch food judgings, pie-eating contests, cooking challenges and demonstrations (including how to make “boar and root vegetables”), participate in tastings and pick up cooking and canning tips and techniques at the do-it-yourself demonstration counter. The California Milk Board will host cheese tastings (July 18-23) and educational exhibits, and the In the Raw taste center will give out samplings of produce and cheese.

Also featured will be exhibits focused on the farm-to-fork philosophy; home brewing and winemaking; stone fruits and Apple Hill; bees and honey; extra-virgin olive oil; and California food festivals.

Visitors can also view the fair’s award-winning jams, jellies and baked goods, and check out the winners of the home brew and home winemaking competitions.

More information is in the State Fair program and at www.bigfun.org and www.castatefair.org.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

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