BRENTWOOD -- Brentwood's original and newer agricultural crops will share the spotlight this winter at a local event co-hosted by the city and Contra Costa Master Gardeners.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, a panel of sweet corn farmers will discuss the city's signature crop, and an olive oil producer will talk about the region's latest industry during the second annual "In Our Own Backyard" event at the Brentwood Community Center.

The event is a celebration of local, sustainable, fresh food.

"Farmers who specialize in sweet corn will discuss how this crop has been developed and become a sought-after variety throughout the west," said event organizer Linda Bray. "A newer cottage industry, olive oil, has also taken root in East County, and Sean McCauley, the farmer who pioneered the region's olive oil growth, will speak about its production."

The event's morning program starting at 9 a.m. focuses on local agricultural trends. In learning about crops, Bray said area residents want to know more about genetically modified foods because that is a recent concern.

More and more olive groves are appearing locally, and people like to buy the finished product as gifts for loved ones, according to Bray.

"When someone gives you a gift of a really good olive oil, you can really tell the difference," she said. "It is wonderful and fruity, and you can taste the bouquet."

Following the local crop discussions, the event will progress with a presentation from the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust about its efforts toward farmland conservation and an overview of local food production. Vendors will be selling local soaps, honey, jams and yarn during the event.


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Home gardening will be the central topic in the afternoon, while soil scientist Dr. Steve Andrews provides tips on how to improve home garden soil.

"His solutions for making soil more productive are simple and effective and guaranteed to produce better edible and ornamental plants," Bray said.

Attendees will then learn how to take advantage of local Community Supported Agriculture, which offers farm fresh produce delivered to the home. Additionally, Contra Costa Master Gardeners will demonstrate composting and container gardening there.

Tickets are on sale for the event and can be purchased for $35, which includes a catered lunch from Nature's Bounty.

For more information, check out ccmg.ucdavis.edu/Backyard.

IF YOU GO
The city of Brentwood and Contra Costa Master Gardeners will host "In Our Own Backyard" from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Brentwood Community Center, 760 First St.