smv_agThe most famous ingredients of the classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue menu are tri-tip beef, native red oak, locally perfected seasoning and homegrown pinquito beans. All of these items originate from right here in the Santa Maria Valley.

But there’s another lesser-known item on the official menu that deserves some recognition: tossed-green salad.

Now, how did salad sneak onto a barbecue menu?

Well, the answer is evident in the rich agricultural landscape of the Santa Maria Valley, which is one of California’s premier farming regions.

In the most recent crop report for Santa Barbara County, lettuce alone accounted for more than 13,000 planted acres. Bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, celery and spinach are among the other vegetables that are plentiful in the valley.

So it only makes sense that the ranchers and farmers who popularized Santa Maria Style Barbecue also found a way to include local greens as a tried-and-true component of the official menu.

So when firing up the red oak, don’t forget the greens!

Add a locally grown wine and a fresh Santa Maria strawberry dessert and, well, you have one of the world’s most distinctively local dining experiences. Now that’s Santa Maria style.