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Aug 19, 2009 05:50 PM

Meals in the Field [Fresno]

I was skeptical at first, having read some pretty disparaging reports from past events in other areas of CA, but this one seems to have real possibilities, not to mention that it's a third to a fourth of the price of those other venues. (Note that it is put on by Slow Food Madera, but is being held just south of Fresno in the community of Easton)

Here's the PR from Fresno MindHub:

Contact: Patricia Hopelain (559) 877-3455
or Sharon Alexander (559) 486-8329

Slow Food Madera presents:
Meals in the Field: Eating at the Source Mao Family Farm Saturday September 19, 2009 4:00 PM
3607 West Central Ave., Easton, Calif.
Adults: $35 Ages 12-16: $15 Ages 5-11: $5 Come Dressed For The Harvest

August 15, 2009 (Fresno, Calif.) In its efforts to highlight the Central Valley farming communitys rich ethnic diversity, Slow Food Madera presents Meals in the Field: Eating at the Source. The first of these unique series of dinners will take place Saturday September 19 at 4PM on Maos Family Farm in Easton, California and will celebrate Hmong food, dance and culture.
Tickets for adults attending the dinner cost $35, ages 12-16 is $15, ages
5-11 is $5 and will be available through Children age 5 and under are free.

Mao Farms, owned and operated by Mao and Cheng Thao, will feature a celebration of traditional Hmong produce, cooking and culture. Mao will prepare traditional Hmong dishes with ingredients from the Mao Farm, as the featured centerpiece of the evening. Attendees will also be able to pick fresh vegetables that will be available for sale later at an onsite farm stand, so please dress farm friendly. Hmong cultural traditions will be celebrated with costumed dancing by Hmong students. The evening will be rounded out with the captivating story of the Thao Familys hazardous journey, following the Viet Nam War, from Laos to Thailand to a safe, fresh and productive life in Easton.

The Mao Farm combines the spirit of Central Valley agriculture with the traditions of farming in Southeast Asia. Cheng and Mao grew up in the same Laotian village. They married, had six children all of whom worked on their familys farm. In the dark days after the Viet Nam war, they escaped to Thailand and, ultimately, migrated to the United States where they had four more children. In 1996, they established the 230 acre Mao Farm in Easton where they are fourth generation farmers teaching the fifth generation the joys and hardships of working the land.

The Meals in the Field series offers an opportunity not just to observe but also to experience another of the Central Valleys rich cultures through its food at the source. For more information please visit

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  1. Thanks for posting this PB!! I saw this as well on MindHub, it does sound fun and enlightening. I wish that I could attend, but I have a wedding to go to that night.

    Where have other events happened? What were the negative reviews?

    4 Replies
    1. re: cocktailqueen77

      I thought it was on the SF Board but a search didn't turn up anything. Not sure, but seem to recall one maybe in the Santa Barbara area and one around Santa Cruz? They were fairly pricey and one was very poorly organized on several fronts (directions, parking, quantities of food and wine, etc.). I'll post more if I can locate and additional info.

      1. re: PolarBear

        Here's the search result for the organization known as "Outstanding in the Field".

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Although the names are similar, this appears to be a completely different event, not associated with the group "Outstanding in the Field." (which I am guessing you realize). At the very least, cost is much less, and much of the previous unhappiness is with getting very little while spending a lot.

          This event in Fresno sounds great! At that price, and the opportunity to eat Hmong food, I'd ordinarily be jumping all over it. Unfortunately, I have a prior commitment out of town that weekend. Hope to hear some good reports!

      2. This sounds really really interesting. My best friend grew up in Easton. So it'd be a hoot to get to attend a foodie event in his back yard. I'm going to have to call them and see what the booze situation is. Can't be running around doing farm chores without a moist whistle.

        1. Did anyone attend? I was sorry to miss it, but after spending five hours outdoors that afternoon, I needed AC.

          * * * * * * *
          Please join us at the Ninth Annual Chowing with the Hounds Picnic! October 3rd, 2009, details and registration info

          Chowing with the Hounds Picnic, 2008 Report.

          Recipes from the 2008 Chowing with the Hounds Picnic!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            It was a a wonderful event, you can see pictures and video here:

              1. re: fresheats

                how was that purple sticky rice? I'd love to try it, if anyone finds a restaurant in the Fresno area that has it on the menu....

            1. I wasn't sure where to post this but when I searched for Hmong food, this thread came up on the list.

              Today's Fresno Bee has a nice article on Hmong food and a book recently released about this 'mysterious' cuisine. Here is the link to Joan Obra's article. Sometimes the link will go right through, sometimes the newspaper will ask you to register (free) to access the page. It is a hassle but Obra's articles are worth it.