If I had to say three things Santa Maria California was known for it would be strawberries, tri-tip barbeque, and now its wine country:
• Strawberries are honored at the yearly Strawberry Festival. And although the number of strawberry stands has decreased over the years, you can still get some of the best strawberries in the country from Santa Maria fields.
• As for barbeque, well, it took awhile for me to realize that barbeque was a big deal here. My mom is from Texas, and for me barbeque ain’t barbeque unless there is sauce on it. Santa Maria barbeque is a different kind of animal. No sauce, red oak, salt and pepper. That’s Santa Maria style. Just take a run down Broadway on Saturday or Sunday and follow the smoke and you’ll find some. Barbeque lunches and dinners are a fundraising favorite for almost every type of organization in Santa Maria and Orcutt.
• “Wine Country” is a relatively new moniker for the Santa Maria Valley, although the wineries have been here for years. However, after the movie Sideways, our region really began to be known for its grape juice. Now you can’t go anywhere in town without hearing about a new wine tasting room or vineyard popping up.