I recently ventured to a new destination. While on a quick trip to Los Angeles I decided to hop on over to Sacramento. The hour-long flight was short and sweet, and while I didn't know what to expect the airport that welcomed me was brand new, contemporary in design and offered free WiFi. This is starting off great, I thought to myself.
Sacramento is the State Capital of California and while it is a bit slow going and desolate in certain areas there is a great sense of history here. Old Sacramento represents the famed gold rush era which is now sleepy and mostly quiet with historic railroads, charming bars and nicknack stores to browse, while new (downtown) Sacramento is similar to any other downtown business district.
I stayed in Woodland which is mainly a farming town in the County of Yolo, yes YOLO! With a robust food and agriculture economy, Woodland is known for its fertile soil, growing population and close proximity to Davis, Napa and Sacramento. In Yolo County melons, sunflowers, peppers and gourds are amongst some of the fresh produce grown here. In fact, half of the vegetables grown in the U.S. are grown in California. Lucky for me, I was given an all-access pass to checkout a local farm that showcased some of the best melons I've ever tasted.
As part of a special "Field Day" farmers, growers, plant breeders, chefs and other agriculture enthusiasts were invited to see, taste and walk through the crops. As you probably know, consumers want pretty and perfect fruits and vegetables. It's unlikely you'll purchase a banana if its got brown spots on the outside or a melon that is imperfect in shape and has unusual markings. These plant breeders are experts in their field and work day in and day out to create the most delicious, nutritious and best looking produce to sell to the consumer.
With an emphasis on sustainability, reducing world hunger and protecting our natural resources it was eye-opening to witness the passion, enthusiasm, love and care these horticulturalists have for produce. I learned that melons come in all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. One of the breeders' daughters actually named a honeydew variety "Flavor Journey" because of its immensely sweet/juicy flesh and the journey that the delicious fruit took you on while eating it. We also learned of a new lettuce that combines iceberg lettuce with romaine lettuce. This was brilliant as it has the flavor, size and color of romaine and the durability and texture of iceberg - perfect for cooking, lettuce cups/wraps and more and as far as nutrition it sits right in-between the two lettuces.
We also toured the labs where they test the nutritional content of the produce, identify its genetic makeup and also conduct evaluations to determine the health of the plant and efficiency of the farm. Like humans, plants are susceptible to diseases, biotechnology is utilized to breed naturally occurring pest-resistant plants; therefore less pesticides are needed and less of an impact is made on the environment. While given free reign to tour the property and meet the staff everyone was thrilled to have us and share their experiences! It was a joyful day tasting delicious fruits and vegetables and learning about modern agriculture.
View the slideshow below for a look at the Field Day highlights.
Mahalo to Monsanto Woodland, California for the tour and to the breeders and researchers (who have worked there for 10-30 years) for sharing their time and knowledge.
For more information visit monsanto.com
My Point of Heu is a personal blog, opinions expressed here are my own. Content herein is by no means an endorsement nor sponsored. Two nights room and board were provided by Monsanto Company.