Readers' Poll BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 119 editors' picks Best use of a Plain grassy field Seaside Farmers Market Laguna Grande Park 1259 Canyon Del Rey Blvd., Seaside For a farmers market in Seaside, the third time’s a charm. Two previous markets in recent memory were shortlived, but a third—hosted by nonprofit Everyone’s Harvest—launched in June 2023 at Laguna Grande Park, the first market for Seaside since 2019. Farmervendors set up a parking lot of grocery shoppers seeking fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs and flowers, while food trucks and artisans selling prepared foods and other goods take over the adjacent lawn, inviting you to eat dinner and make it a night out at the bustling market where, odds are, you’ll run into somebody you know. Best Celebration of squash Borchard Farms 142 Rodgers Road, Salinas (831) 449-1062, Where else can you find fairytale pumpkins—so named because yes, they look just like the pumpkin carriage Cinderella must have ridden in—alongside perfectly round pie pumpkins alongside massive pumpkins that are hundreds of pounds? Not to mention the Instagrammable towers of gourds in every color and shape, a corn maze and a display of exotic fowl. Borchard Farms is agribusiness first, growing mainstream Salinas Valley crops on some 600 acres. But patriarch Tom Borchard loves the wonder of the humble squash, so he dedicates 36 acres to 61 wild and colorful varieties, offering a one-of-a-kind pumpkin-picking experience every fall. Pumpkins and gourds (and treats like hot chocolate) are for sale, but the experience is free for all to attend. Best Appetizer Made With Produce Not Widely Grown In Monterey County Masa Tempura Alejandro’s 474 Alvarado St., Monterey (831) 717-4781, It’s pretty simple: sweet corn rolled with masa and a little jalapeño and fried—just the thing one could prepare by the side of Route 66 during a pause on your way to California. True, the kernel pickings are slim in this state, but that hardly seems to matter to the folks at Alejandro’s. The fritters are warm and earthy, given to pops of maize sweetness, but with a flicker of grassy heat. Take a dip in the citrus aioli provided alongside for an additional creamy zing. Alejandro’s prepares the best guacamole in the county (sorry, no category for it), but these can make you forget all about typical Mexican restaurant starters. Best Person Who Quietly Helps Bring Big Events— And massive Charitable Donations—To Monterey County While Having Fun Heidi ueberroth Pebble Beach Company 2790 17 Mile Drive (831) 649-7657, While she serves as co-chair of the Pebble Beach Company, Heidi Ueberroth also serves on the board of directors for the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. While Pebble Beach is an exclusive resort, MPF is the organization tasked with running the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, as well as the Pure Insurance tournament, and then disbursing the $12 million or so the events bring in each year to hundreds of vetted local nonprofits. Since the beginning, MPF has raised over $200 million in contributions. But Ueberroth was also instrumental in swinging a deal that brought the U.S. Women’s Open to Pebble Beach Golf Links for the first time ever in 2023. It proved to be a historic moment for golf. And her efforts ensured that both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open will return several times over the next couple of decades. The fun part? She plays in both the Pro-Am and the Pure Insurance event. So she gets to enjoy giving back. At least if her game is on. Best-Looking High School—Ever | Salinas High School