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Stories from the valley

Come to the Country!

Contributed by Jennifer Harrison

Imagine having 600 strangers for dinner. That’s essentially what Paul and Laura Barger, who grow walnuts and almonds in Yolo County, did.

On a recent September Sunday, the Barger family hosted Yolo Land Trust’s annual A Day in the Country event. The mission is simple; bring people out to the country. Guests then taste and see the importance of preserving the farmlands and ranches that produce the food we love and need.


Farm to Fork from the beginning

The Yolo Land Trust has been farm-to-forking it for nearly thirty years.

“I think we may have invented it,” laughed Michele Clark, Executive Director of Yolo Land Trust.

Kidding aside, A Day in the Country started with the concept of inviting people to enjoy local agriculture, be it food or drink, while sitting on the very farmland their food comes from. The first event was held in 1990 in Woodland.

“Each board member was asked to bring a tray of hors d’oeuvres,” Clark recalled.

Fast-forward to today and two-dozen farms, twenty-two restaurants, fourteen wineries, plus breweries and olive oil producers provided food or drink at this year’s event.

“These different restaurants, farmers and producers give up their day to come,” explained Clark, adding that in some cases, a restaurant’s head chef will be in attendance.

“Chef Rick Mahan of the Waterboy in Sacramento always comes. He could easily send staff, but he wants direct contact with those attending our event, ” explained Clark who added that Biba Caggiano, owner of Biba, another legendary capitol city restaurant also attended this year’s event.

While the farmers, in this case the Bargers, provide the space, Yolo Land Trust provides the pizazz.

“They set up the entire thing,” detailed Laura Barger, “they do everything!”


Conserving the country forever

To date 11,000 acres of farmland, through 60 conservation easements, have been permanently protected by Yolo Land Trust.

This is the organization’s single largest fundraiser and promotes the mission of conserving farmland for what it does best, growing and producing food in its fertile soils.

“Today we are celebrating the bounty of Yolo county” said Clark.

A Day in the Country is always held the second Sunday in September. If you missed it this year, there’s always next. Mark your calendar; the event will be coming to a farm near you.