According to the California Department of Food & Agriculture, California has over 80,000 farms and ranches and in 2010 accounted for over 16% of the nation's national receipts for crops. The state produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables! Top commodities in the state include produce and nuts such as grapes, almonds, berries, lettuce, pistachios, tomatoes, walnuts, oranges, broccolis, carrots, avocados and celery.
Ventura County ranks 26th out of 58 California counties in geographic size but in 2010 ranked 7th overall in terms of agricultural output, producing over $1.5 billion worth of strawberries, celery, lemons, rasberries, avocados and other commodities.
All that produce grown in Ventura County (as well as Santa Barbara County) and the hard work that goes into it must explain why we have so many nearby food related festivals and celebrations year-round! Specific dates each year are posted in the Local Events and Events Calendar sections but here'a compilation for you go, ahem, digest. And we also opted to include beer, wine and other long-standing festivals for your imbibing pleasure.
The Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks Chili Cook-Off is in the late April time frame each year. It is a charitable fundraiser that has taken place since 1977.
The California Strawberry Festival takes place in Oxnard on the 3rd weekend of May each year. This wildly popular event has been taking place since 1984.
The Conejo Wine & Jazz Fest premiered on May 20, 2012 and The Rotary Club of Westlake Village Sunrise anticipates continuing the tradition.
The Ojai Wine Festival takes place in the June time frame at Lake Casitas has been around since 1987. They say over 5,000 people attend the event!
The Knights of Columbus of Simi Valley has been hosting an Annual Chili Cook-Off since about 1988. The event currently takes place in the June time frame.
The Calabasas, Malibu Wine & Food Festival occurs in June started up in 2007.
The Ventura County Wine Trail features between 15 and 20 local wineries and takes place in the June time frame.
The Santa Paula Citrus Festival originated in 1968 and takes place in July. Admission is a nominal charge.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has hosted the Santa Barbara Wine Festival in the June time frame each year since 1988.
The Oxnard Salsa Festival has taken place each summer (currently July) since 1994. The festival currently is free of charge.
Since 1988, the Meadowlark Service League has been hosting A Taste of Camarillo Wine & Food Festival. The event currently takes place in late July.
The California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara in July marks 2004 as it first year. They also are planning a Winter Wine Classic in the January time frame.
The Santa Barbara Tequila Harvest Festival is a newbie in this group, having commenced in 2010. Currently takes place in August.
The Conejo Food & Wine Fest premiered in 2011 and takes place in Thousand Oaks in August.
The California Beer Festival takes place in Ventura in the September time frame.
The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival takes place in October. There is a small admission charge.
The California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria goes back to 1987 and claims to be the largest free festival on the west coast. It currently occurs in October.
The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival originated in 2001 and offers live lobster, crab, prawns, BBQ albacore, clam chowder, fish tacos, seafood gumbo and other prepared dishes in the October time frame.
The Santa Barbara Beer Festival takes place generally in the October time frame.
The California Lemon Festival also takes place in October in Goleta. Free admission. This one has been around since 1992.
The Oxnard Tamale Festival takes place in the early December time frame each year. It began in 2008.
List obviously subject to change! Contact us for additions. The list is meant to include recurring, annual events, not one-time events, that focus primarily on food and/or drinks.