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Jan./Feb. 2013 California Bountiful magazine

Annual contest captures the diversity of California food, farms and rural landscapes



From heirloom tomatoes to longhorn cattle, the winning entries in the annual California Farm Bureau Photo Contest provide eye-catching glimpses of the bounty of the Golden State. Participants competed in five categories: Rural Scenic, California's Bounty, All in a Day's Work on the Farm and Kids and Critters on the Farm, as well as Budding Artists, a category for children 13 and younger. Take a look through this year's winning images and read the stories behind them. Do you have a scene you'd like to share? The 2013 photo contest will kick off in June.

Grand Prize Winner

Desiree Williams, Butte County Farm Bureau

A family outing to the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa provided the winning shot for Desiree Williams. A veterinarian as well as a cattle and horse rancher, Williams grows her own garden of heirloom vegetables. She said she was inspired by the colors and varieties she found during her first trip to the exposition, and described the mountain of heirloom tomatoes as an "amazing display of what we're capable of growing."

Kids and Critters on the Farm

First Place
Misty Tartaglia, San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau


Sisters Reese and Tanna Tartaglia were lending a hand at a family friend's ranch in Cambria when an abandoned calf was spotted. The girls were given the task of coaxing the calf to take to a bottle, which it did almost immediately. Photographer (and mom) Misty Tartaglia said, "My husband and I want to raise our girls in a ranching environment and demonstrate to them the importance of agriculture and family values."

Second Place
Victoria Del Curto, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau


Victoria Del Curto captured this image of a Texas Longhorn cow and calf while out on an early springtime walk with her 3-year-old sister, Analiese, and 5-year-old brother, Joseph. The homeschooled high school sophomore said she enjoys photography and has submitted a number of photos to various contests. She and her eight siblings can often be found riding horses near their home in Oakdale.

California's Bounty

First Place
Rosie Barnett, San Diego County Farm Bureau


Rosie Barnett loves to capture all aspects of the winemaking process, and last fall she found herself at a special event at the Escondido Wine and Culinary Campus. "The event was called 'We Have a Crush on You' and offered a unique opportunity for the community to try grape crushing the old-fashioned way—with your feet," Barnett said. She took nearly 100 photos that evening, but this shot caught her eye, with barrel walls serving as a backdrop for the grapes.

Second Place
Joe Valente, San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation


The Valente family doesn't shy away from a little competition. Each year Joe and his wife, Claudia, along with their daughter and son-in-law, gather their best photos and engage in good-natured banter about who will come out on top of the California Farm Bureau Photo Contest. His striking shot of a chestnut, taken in September near Linden, made the grade this year. "I carry a camera around with me everywhere," said Valente, who grows cherries and grapes.

All in a Day's Work on the Farm

First Place
Janet Turner Johnson, Placer County Farm Bureau


"I love the way that Trigger and Lane pop off the page at you, out of the dust," said Janet Turner Johnson, of the image taken after a long day of branding on the family's ranch near Valley Springs. Trigger, a palomino mustang, has been a trusted mount for both 15-year-old Lane and his younger brother, Layton. The boys and their sister, Mattie Rose, have grown up in the saddle and help with day-to-day cattle ranching activities.

Second Place
Marianne Couto, Glenn County Farm Bureau


Marianne Couto describes her 2-year-old son, Carter, as "his dad's sidekick." Carter and his father, Conway, were turning on the water for a walnut orchard in Artois when she took a photo with her cellphone. The Couto family, which also includes baby Lane, was spending the day together. "The four of us will go for a drive on Sunday afternoons," Couto said. Carter is always quick to help, following in his dad's footsteps.

Rural Scenic

First Place
Misty Tartaglia, San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau


Jon and Lindy Pedotti were cleaning out their barn in preparation for their daughter's wedding celebration when their friend Misty Tartaglia, a full-time registered nurse and part-time shutterbug, caught sight of hay harvesting equipment through the barn door. "I thought it was so neat how the sun was shining through the slats in the walls," she said. The barn, now in use on San Simeon Creek Ranch, was built in 1913.

Second Place
Mary Wells, Colusa County Farm Bureau


Mary Wells and her husband, Chuck, live in the small Northern California community of Sites. The couple grows rice and almonds, and their daughter and son-in-law raise beef cattle. The farm's location in the foothills created a dramatic backdrop for a recently baled field of hay. "I looked out the kitchen window one evening and thought the colors were incredible," Wells said. She jogged down the lane and captured photos of the field through a fence.

Budding Artists

First Place
Layton Johnson, 10 years old, Placer County Farm Bureau


The Johnson family is always ready to document life on a working cattle ranch. "The boys take a camera on their saddle and share it back and forth," said mom Janet Turner Johnson. Layton nabbed this image of older brother Lane and two of the family's border collie puppies, which are bred and trained to help gather the Johnsons' herd of Charolais, Hereford and Angus cattle. The family ranches in Northern California and Nevada.

Second Place
Holyn Sylvester, 6 years old, San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau


Wendy Sylvester says her children enjoy taking care of the 35 laying hens on their farm in San Luis Obispo and entering eggs in the county fair. Holyn Sylvester photographed her younger brother, Jack, then 2, holding one of the family's hens. "Jack always walks around holding her," Wendy Sylvester said of the Belgian d'Uccle Bantam the family nicknamed Christina.


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