Apartment Garden Blues (Blog): Centennial Farm at the 2013 OC Fair

Centennial Farm OC Fair & Event CenterEach year more than a million people visit the OC Fair. Last year 1,257,335 visited, and I was one of them! Two weeks ago we again made our annual trek to the fair at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., for this year's fair (themed "Come & Get It"), which runs from July 12 to August 11. Since it was founded in 1989, many plants and animals have been on display at Centennial Farm, the 3-acre demonstration farm that resides at the OC Fair & Event Center. And during the fair, the farm is at its peak, and signs and volunteers are everywhere to help fair-goers learn more about farm plants and animals.

Crops are grown at Centennial Farm and livestock kept in the Millennium Barn to be used as an educational tool for the public, especially children, so they can learn where our food comes from and how it is made. Because of this, picking crops is strictly prohibited, even though during OC Fair time, so many plants look so ripe and juicy! Centennial Farm staff and volunteers harvest the crops and donate them to Second Harvest Food Bank or placed in a food bin so farm visitors can take produce in lieu of a donation. In addition to the many crops grown at Centennial Farm, there is also a rare and tropical fruit tree section, a rose garden, herb garden, succulent and cactus garden, salsa garden and low-water garden. During this year's OC Fair, there were displays dedicated to square-foot gardening and dahlia flowers. There is also a permanent vermicompost display where kids can see a giant compost pile with red worms in action!

One fun aspect of the Centennial Farm is the cow milking by machine twice a day at the Millennium Barn. You can watch the milking. Call (714) 708-1619 to see what the milking schedule is, since the schedules may vary. Other animals that you can see, touch and learn about at Centennial Farm are bees, chickens, oxen, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, peacocks, rabbits and more.

The Centennial Farm isn't just open during the OC Fair. I admit it's at its peak during the fair, but you can always go visit for free. Regular hours for the public are Monday through Friday from 1pm to 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9m to 4pm (tours are also available). Admission is free, but you may need to pay to park at the OC Fair & Event Center. Visit the Centennial Farm's website and call (714) 708-1619 if you have any further questions.


Millenium Barn at Centennial Farm


Cow at Centennial Farm


Crops at Centennial Farm



Alexandra is a professional writer from Southern California who grows vegetables, herbs, lots of aloe vera and one giant Boston fern in her balcony garden. She also grows dracaena, pothos and English ivy indoors. She loves traveling and birdwatching in addition to gardening.

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