For those of you who do not know me personally; you might not know California holds a special place in my heart. It was the place where I had my first real adult experience. I am not talking about anything dirty or highly inappropriate. When I was 19 I packed up what I could fit into a friend’s car and we drove across the country to start summer internships in the Central Valley of California. I cried the entire way there (you can ask my friend Adam) but once I got there I decided I was going to kick ass.
You see, my boss had never had an intern before and he especially had never had a girl work on the farm. Fast forward 8 years and I am still close to my boss Joey, his amazing family of Tawni, Landon, Preston and Collin. I am also very close to the herdsman I worked with every day, Jason and his wonderful wife Raquel.
Part of the prize of winning my award through Michigan Farm Bureau is my husband and I got to head to American Farm Bureau‘s Annual Meeting. This year it was in beautiful, sunny San Diego, California. When I heard it was in California I was so excited because I had not been out to there in almost a decade. Talk about too long. So needless to say, our trip turned into a week of traveling across southern and central California.
We had to wake up at 2:30 am and head out in a blizzard to make it to the airport on time, but it was worth it! We got there in time to spend 4 days around the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and it was a great convention. We got to hear President Stallman’s opening address, see numerous awards given out and watch many competitions. In addition, we had once in a lifetime networking with other farmers from across the country.
One of my favorite parts of Cali is the food. You will not get any more authentic Mexican Food than in California unless you go to Mexico. The diversity of the food is amazing too! We had a lunch at this little Greek place on the ocean. It was heaven in my mouth.
After the meeting was done we headed north. Through the mountains and into this area called the Central Valley. Honestly, the valley is where I really got my first taste of traveling in and I have been addicted ever since.
Naturally we had some catching up to do and we had dinner with my friends from Tulare. The next day we went and saw some California dairies. It was fun to see the dairies I worked on for that summer and see how they have changed in some ways and how they have not changed in others. Then we visited some other area farms that are doing some really unique things. Including a farm that is ran completely off methane from their cow manure and they also take water out of their milk and ship it condensed right to the cheese plant. That is a really unique concept because usually only a milk plant will do that, not an individual farm. California agriculture is unlike anything I have been exposed to before.
The best part is that the Central Valley was doing food trucks before they were cool. The best days on the farm were when we found the taco truck and when the bakery truck stopped by. Obviously we had to do lunch at the friendly, neighborhood taco truck.
After that wonderful visit we finished our week with a trip to Disneyland. It was the perfect way to spend our last day by enjoying a California icon and the sun. Since we got back the hubby has been very paranoid as to whether we picked up measles while we were in the park. But hey, it doesn’t get any better than this, right?