Digital map of Riverside County farm land to debut

Map featuring farm land, wineries and vegetable stands debuts in Indio

INDIO, Calif. - A map featuring more than 100 farms, vegetable stands,  wineries and other places throughout Riverside County where homegrown products  can be bought will be unveiled Friday at receptions in Indio and Temecula.

      The "Ag Trail" includes stops in the Temecula Valley Wine Country, the  Riverside citrus groves, Cherry Valley and the desert.

      "The county's goal is to promote agriculture and agri-tourism," county  Foreign Trade Commissioner Tom Freeman told City News Service. "This helps  market these 100-plus locations and will definitely help in driving attendance  to festivals and fairs and will likely help sell our ag products, from fresh- cut Christmas trees to pumpkins to the whole variety of produce grown across  the county."

      The Ag Trail map will be the highlight of receptions, the first one at  10 a.m. at Madison Street Produce in Indio, and the second one at 1:30 p.m. at  Peltzer Farms in Temecula. County Supervisors John Benoit and Jeff Stone are  scheduled to be on hand for each event.

      The Ag Trail website will go live following the Temecula reception,  Freeman said.

      The online chart allows users to choose from several different  categories, depending on their interests. A visitor will get a snapshot of  farmers' markets, where to look for wineries and details and schedules on the  county's popular festivals and fairs, including the National Date Festival in  Indio and the Beaumont Cherry Festival.

      There will also be information on so-called "holiday farms," which do  business seasonally.

      All of the attractions are accessible by car and cover a roughly 400- mile route that zigzags across the county, from its southwestern pocket to the  Arizona state line. Freeman said the website offers a "virtual tour" of the  trail. 

      Benoit and Stone introduced the Ag Trail concept last July as a means to  promote tourism and support area agricultural interests.

      According to Freeman, the county's agricultural trade is valued at $3  billion, with exports to 67 countries. He said Japan and China were the top  export destinations of agricultural products generated locally in 2011.

      The county's agricultural base supports more than 30,000 jobs, according  to Freeman.

      Stone touted the potential of the Temecula Valley Wine Country to boost  the regional economy as it undergoes an expansion encompassing 22,000 acres,  populated by growers, vintners and related businesses.

      The county is home to around 1,700 dairies, farms, ranches, wineries,  historical and cultural sites. 

      Several agencies, including the Departments of Environmental Health and  Information Technology, partnered with the Riverside County Farm Bureau and  California Women for Agriculture to design the website and other promotional  materials.

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