Growing up in Southern California, one of my very favorite memories was going to the Los Angeles County Fair. On Saturday, I got to take a walk down memory lane and visit the Farm at Fairplex at the L.A. County Fair for Family Volunteer Day. When I was a kid, every September, I loved walking through the exhibits. Every year, when the fair came, I loved the flower exhibits, the animal exhibits, and I loved all things agriculture. I have always loved gardening and growing up we had horses. I was happy to come out and check out what they had going on.
The Farm at Fairplex is a 5 acre farm features more than 100 organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs, right in the heart of Pomona, in LA County. Crops are cultivated year-round and utilize responsibly sustainable methods in its operations. Don Delano, horticulturalist and farm manager, personally selects the crops that will be planted on the farm seasonally, annually, and long term. Coordinated by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, Family
“The metropolitan Los Angeles area is known for a lot of things, but not for being a farming community,” said Delano. “Having this gem right in our backyard means that we can introduce locals to a whole new world where they can learn the basics of farming and utilize their newfound skills at their own homes. So what better time than Family Volunteer Day to serve as a starting off point.”
Where does the food go after it’s harvested?
Crops from the Farm at Fairplex include varieties of lettuce, kale, tomatoes, peanuts, hops, figs, olives, peppers, eggplant, peaches, sunflowers, berries, broccoli and more! The fruits, vegetables, and herbs are served to guests at the McKinley’s Grille at the Sheraton Fairplex in Pomona.
The original purpose of the farm was to grow herbs and vegetables that Chef Teig of the McKinley’s Grille needed for his recipes, but were rare to find locally. Additionally, Farm at Fairplex presents a dinner series right on the farm, where professional chefs cook with food grown on the farm. In fact, Saturday, when I was there, the Farm was anticipating guests to arrive for a dinner soiree for Hewlett Packard.
Farm at Fairplex is one of the largest urban farms in Los Angeles county. All proceeds from the sale of harvested produce help fund farm and agriculture-related educational programs offered by the nonprofit The Learning Centers at Fairplex. Those interested are encouraged to call 909-865-4200 or email volunteers@fairplex.