Monday, June 2, 2008

'Savor Solano' touts richness of rural regions

'Savor Solano' touts richness of rural regions

To truly appreciate the sights, smells and tastes of local agriculture, a busload carrying a diverse crowd toured northeast Solano County Friday. Sponsored by the Solano County Agriculture Advisory Committee, the "Savor Solano" field trip took riders on a tour of rural Vacaville, Dixon and Winters, and showed off some of the region's most relied-upon ag industrial processing plants.

County Supervisors John Vasquez, Barbara Kondylis and Mike Reagan, as well as Dixon city councilman, Michael Smith, were joined by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk as they toured the area and tasted some of the region's treats. Also on board were various members of the ag community who got a first-hand view of several of the areas being discussed in the county's General Plan Update, a document that will shape the county for the next few decades….

If Allendale was an example of what not to do, agriculture land along Campbell Road outside of Dixon was an area to be studied, he said. At one point, the bus was surrounded by an alfalfa field, a sea of wheat and rows of walnut trees. "This is the heart. This is what it should look like," he said. "It's some of the best ag land in the world."

The day ended at Dixon Ridge Farms on Putah Creek Road, where owner Russ Lester gave a tour of the state's leading producer in organic walnuts. He said it takes about 10 years to start showing a profit, therefore farmers must be reassured that ag land would be there in the future. "We have to know we will have a place to grow for years, otherwise it's throwing money down the drain," Lester said. "If the county doesn't have a vision, farmers will go elsewhere."

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