Califonia Bountiful

On location: Santa Clara County

Apr./May 2012 California Bountiful magazine

What makes it distinctive? Find out!

Long before it became Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County boasted the most advanced food-processing technology in the world. Once described as the Valley of Heart's Delight because of sprawling orchards and fertile foothills, the county honors its agricultural roots with festivals and educational opportunities for visitors and residents.

Justin Fields, Coyote Valley
Fifth-generation rancher Justin Fields says that Santa Clara County is home to some of the best grazing land in the state. The county is inland but receives coastal influences, keeping temperatures mild. Like many ranches in the densely populated county, Fields' pastures are often near homes, providing an opportunity for him to speak to neighbors about his Angus and Hereford cattle.
Family Fun
Gilroy Gardens, Gilroy
Affectionately called the Garlic Capital of the World, Gilroy is also home to many of the county's horticultural businesses and a family theme park that showcases both. With more than 40 rides, gardens and exhibits, it can be a tough choice: Hop on the Garlic Twirl or visit Claudia's Garden first?
Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn, San Jose
The barn was built in the late 1800s by farmer Orvis Stevens to store and dry fruit. Now part of History San Jose's History Park at Kelley Park, its exhibits recall a time when the county produced one-third of the world's canned fruit.
Parcel 104, Santa Clara
Named for the lot number on which it sits, this restaurant is the apple—or should we say pear—of Chef Bradley Ogden's eye. The area was once a Bartlett pear orchard, and today the ever-changing menu features seasonal ingredients grown and raised on local farms, ranches and dairies. Phone 408-970-6104.
Mushroom Mardi Gras, Morgan Hill
The free event is held Memorial Day weekend (May 26-27 this year) and celebrates the county's second-leading agricultural product behind nursery crops. The fungi can be tasted in soup, stuffed, sandwiched, deep-fried, marinated, over rice and more. Don't forget to grab some freshly picked mushrooms as the ultimate take-home souvenir!

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