From SAVEUR Issue #140
In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck's Joad family "drove through Tehachapi in the morning glow, and the sun came up behind them and then—suddenly they saw the great valley below them…. The vineyards, the orchards, the great flat valley green and beautiful, the trees set in rows, and the farm houses…. Pa sighed, 'I never knowed there was anything like her…' Ruthie and Winfield looked at it, and Ruthie whispered, 'It's California.'"
It was indeed California, but not the one travel agents advertise. This is the southern end of California's Great Central Valley; it is called the San Joaquin, while the northern section is termed the Sacramento, both named for their major rivers. The entire Great Valley is an enclosed prairie, geologically an ancient seabed in a trough between uplifted mountains, nearly 450 miles long and up to 90 miles wide. The entire area is about the size of Egypt. Keep reading »