The big annual Fig Fest is coming up this Saturday, August 15, from 9 am till 1 pm at California State University Fresno.
“It’s going to be bigger and better than ever,” said Karla Stockli, chief executive officer with the California Fig Advisory Board in Fresno. “Guests will be able to savor gourmet fig-inspired recipes, extraordinary wines and craft beer from California’s best chefs, food purveyors, wineries and breweries.”
“And there will be an exciting new addition this year; celebrity chef Favio Viviani will headline the event. Viviani is a restaurateur (5 in U.S.) and a New York Times best selling cookbook author (3 successful cookbooks). But, he is best known as the Fans’ favorite in Bravo TV’s Top Chef and the winner of Cutthroat Kitchen with the Food Network.” Viviani also sells his own wine collection and popular line of cookware.
“Viviani will be center stage at a chef culinary demonstration and he will also tape an episode of his new PBS series, Global Bites,” said Stockli. “He will be interacting with people and signing books. And he is very passionate about all things fig and fresh ingredients.”
Cherie Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission, is the new board chairwoman of California Grown, succeeding Kasey Cronquist, chief executive officer of the California Cut Flower Commission.
The Buy California Marketing Agreement manages the California Grown campaign.
Executive committee members on the California Grown board include vice chair Spencer Halsey, associate director of the California Association of Gardens and Nurseries; and secretary treasurer Karla Stockli, chief executive officer of the California Fig Advisory Board.
Before becoming executive director of the California Asparagus Commission, Watte was director of international trade policy at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She was also appointed manager of the department’s agricultural export program by then-Gov. Pete Wilson.
Prior to her CDFA appointment, Watte was the director of national affairs and research for the California Farm Bureau Federation. Other roles included legislative assistant to congressman Tony Coelho on the U.S. House of Representatives committee on agriculture. She is a former member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agricultural trade advisory committee on fruits and vegetables.
“(Cherie) knows firsthand what it takes to be an active farmer in California, since she is the fourth generation of her family to farm in the Imperial Valley,” Nick Matteis, executive director of California Grown, said in a news release.
“We have a lot going on with consumer promotions and newly formed retail and foodservice partnerships,” Watte said. “Farmers and ranchers in California face many challenges, and this program is a bright spot for them.”
Cronquist guided the campaign through the revamping of its promotions program and membership expansion.