Strawberries Offer Sizzling Sweetness in BBQ Country

While the Santa Maria Valley is renowned for its legendary barbecue and world-class wines, locally grown strawberries have emerged as the area’s top cash crop and enjoy their own annual showcase at the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival, which will be held this year on April 27-29.

The upcoming Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival at the Santa Maria Fairpark will feature strawberry varietal sampling, strawberry desserts, educational exhibits, live music, food booths and old-fashioned carnival entertainment.

But while the festival is the region’s ultimate berry bash, strawberries are a year-round draw in the Santa Maria Valley. From cross-continental distributor orders to regional chefs and people simply preparing for a family barbecue, it’s not uncommon for those in the know to go the extra mile to stock up on the refreshing fruit.

So what makes the Santa Maria Valley one of California’s and the nation’s top strawberry producing regions? The answer lies in the same temperate coastal climate that produces remarkable Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the neighboring vineyards. In fact, local strawberries bring in more than twice the revenue of broccoli, the area’s second place crop, and three times the earnings of wine grapes, which rank third.

Strawberries from the Santa Maria Valley are consequently prized for their consistent quality and juicy sweetness. Combined with Santa Maria Style Barbecue and local wines, they offer a regional flavor experience like no other. So if you can’t make it to the Strawberry Festival, make sure you at least stop by one of our local produce stands sometime for farm-fresh berries. One local favorite is the Daren’s Berries stand right off Highway 101. Bon appetit!