In February of 1988, when I got a call asking me to interview for a job in the creative writing program at Fresno State, I could not have found Fresno on a
map. If pressed, I would probably have placed it somewhere north of San Francisco, maybe in Napa Valley.
My ignorance of the city and its surroundings was almost total. Having grown up in a cotton-producing region — the Mississippi Delta — I nevertheless had no idea that Central Valley cotton growers were partly responsible for the demise of King Cotton as the Delta’s principal crop.
Fresno County is, in one word, diverse — in everything from its agriculture (all 350 different crops) to its population, which is one of the most culturally mixed in the state.
Old Armenian Town:
A living culture
Madera County is what you’d expect from a place sitting in the geographic center of California — fertile crop lands (some of the richest in the world, exporting produce to more than 50 countries) and art-filled mountain communities inspired by the state’s natural beauty.
A Bass Lake Tradition:
Sugar Pine Railroad:
Known for towering trees, a giant ag expo and thick Tule fog, Tulare County is one of the largest counties in the San Joaquin Valley, taking up more than 4,800 square miles of land.
A giant of a tale
The Sweet Spot:
In Three Rivers
A quick drive to Hanford, or further south, down toward Lemoore, will tell a lot about Kings County ó vast swaths of farmland, cotton, corn and dairies.