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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Eat strawberries to help farmers

LIF DLW STRAWBERRIES 3Some farmers need your help and there’s a really easy way to help them: By taste testing strawberries.

Researchers over at the University of California’s Cooperative Extension are trying to figure out if they can grow strawberries with less water, given all the water supply issues here lately. So they’ve grown four types of strawberries with varying amounts of water and need you to taste test them. They want to see if the ones grown with less water taste as good. Tough job, huh?

No sign up needed, just show up at the Vineyard Farmers Market (at the corner of Blackstone and Shaw avenues) between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday. They need 100 people, so the first to get there get the strawberries.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Besides sneaking your way into that George Strait show that’s hella sold out.

1. GO SEE A SHOW AT FULTON 55
You can see another country legend (sorta!) — as Johnny Cash tribute Cash’d Out plays tonight. They’re legit — as in they can make Cash’s daughter cry. Then Saturday, S.F.’s Nicki Bluhm comes to play some fun folky music for you. She’s legit too. [More]

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than tracking down Bill Cosby while he’s in town and asking him begging him for some pudding pops.

1. CELEBRATE WITH SOME MOFOS
Local blues ambassadors MoFo Party Band have a big show at Starline on Saturday night to celebrate their 23rd anniversary as a band and their new CD. It’ll be packed. And MoFo always delivers. [More]

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Besides the Fresno Film Festival, Big Hat Days, the BLOB Awards, and checkin’ out the new monster-sized Forever 21

1. BE AN APRIL FOOL
It’s April Fool’s Day (no jokes here, at least not from me), so you might as well laugh. Here are a couple comedy options for tonight — one at Teazer’s downtown with our friend Travis Sheridan headlining and another with headliner Speedy at Thai Palms on the north side, which extends its April Foolin’ until Saturday.

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The Week Ahead: Music of Japan, Fresno Film Festival, tri-tip, honey and more

Lots of noteworthy Fresno-centric events this week. Take a look and get out of the house:

DOWNTOWN FOR JAPAN: There’s a big ol’ local music show to help earthquake in relief on Thursday night at Fulton 55. The lineup is packed with top-notch local talent — Strange Vine and MoFo Party Band to name a couple — and all the money from the door goes to the Red Cross. Win all around.

EAT LOCAL: Two fun events for local foodies this Saturday — one honoring Fresno’s favorite slab of meat, the tri-tip, and another showing what our top chefs can do with local honey. The second annual Tri-Tip Cook-Off is put on TasteFresno and has amateur grillers serving up their best tri-tip, while the inaugural Bee My Honey Festival at Vineyard Farmer’s Market features chefs from Cracked Pepper, Max’s, Trelio and more making their best honey-inspired dishes.

CHRIS ROBINSON DOES VISALIA: Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson starts his monthly residency at The Cellar Door in Visalia on Wednesday, with his new band, Brotherhood, in tow. A few tickets are left at ticketweb.com — but act quick.

BIG HAT DAYS: It’s a Clovis tradition — wandering around the annual Big Hat Days festival gazing at various craft booths, drooling over food and trying not to bump into other people. This year’s Big Hat Days is Saturday and Sunday in Old Town Clovis.

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Beehive Birthday VI: The countdown is on

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Are you as excited about Beehive Birthday VI as we are? We’re just a couple days away now, and we’re hard at work making sure Thursday night’s party is going to be a blast.

Here are some cool new developments since we last talked about the event:

It’s worth repeating: The event is FREE to attend. (Bring some money for drinks and food). It runs 6-10 p.m. 21+.

Taste This: Quince

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Ever handle a quince?

Here in the Valley, many local folks don’t know much about this fruit that looks like a funny-shaped apple. But quince has fascinated local growers for more than a century: George C. Roeding, the horticulturist and parks commissioner who lent his name to Roeding Park, is credited with importing the Smyrna quince from Turkey in the late 1800s.

Today, a handful of growers in Fresno and Tulare counties are responsible for most of the country’s commercial quince production, author Barbara Ghazarian writes in her cookbook, “Simply Quince.”

It’s not the easiest fruit to work with. Quince’s hard, astringent flesh needs a long simmer for many recipes. But patience yields good results. Depending on how its cooked, that flesh takes on a range of colors from blush to deep red.

Last weekend, the quince festival at the Vineyard farmers market showed off the possibilities of this fruit. The market sells raw quince, but last Saturday, it also featured the cooked fruit.

Local chefs served quince dishes, and three emerged as winners, says Felix Muzquiz of the Vineyard farmers market. Cracked Pepper Bistro’s pork loin with quince chutney took first place. Marian Farms’ swiss-chard-and-chicken ravioli with curry sauce and poached quince won second place. And Dusty Buns Bistro’s brown sugar quince cake — with grated quince in the batter, quince paste in the cream frosting and a dehydrated quince chip on top — came in third.

Ghazarian was at the festival, signing copies of her book and dispensing quince-cooking advice. For beginners, she advises making candied quince and chicken-and-quince stew.

Here are the recipes:

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Jamie Oliver inspires local farm tours

Everyone who’s talked to me about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is shocked by one sad scene: the first-grade students who couldn’t identify fruits and vegetables — including tomatoes.

You’d think the central San Joaquin Valley, with all of of its agricultural bounty, wouldn’t have such a problem. Well, one organic farm isn’t taking any chances. K.M.K. Farms in Kingsburg is hosting free farm tours 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Samples of fresh dishes such as fennel-tangerine salad will be available.

“We were sad as we watched Jamie Oliver’s new show and saw how a class of children could not identify a tomato!” K.M.K. co-owner Michele Reynolds writes in an e-mail. “So we are joining Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and opening our farm up…”

So far, more than 110 folks have signed up. Want to join them? Here’s a map. RSVP by calling (559) 897-7264, visiting K.M.K.’s stands at the Visalia farmers market and the Vineyard farmers market, sending e-mail, or dropping a line on Facebook.

And if you’re not watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, you’re missing out on a great show. Here’s that sad scene with the first-graders: