Readers' Poll

AGrICuLTurE BEST LOCAL AG EDUCATOR Rancho Cielo 710 Old Stage Road, Salinas (831) 444-3533, “The tractors came over the roads and into the fields, great crawlers moving like insects, having the incredible strength of insects,” John Steinbeck wrote in The Grapes of Wrath. Now tractors are everywhere—with electronics Steinbeck could not have foreseen—and more innovative practices and tools are in the hands that cultivate the land. An example of this is Rancho Cielo’s program in Ag Technology and Mechatronics, where students work on different projects to improve refrigeration and irrigation systems. Rancho Cielo’s program was the first one in the state, with pilot certifications from the Western Growers Association. That’s where this nonprofit shines—empowering young people with practical skills to succeed in the local agricultural workforce. BEST AG NONPROFIT Food Bank for Monterey County 353 W. Rossi St., Salinas (831) 758-1523, With over 145 local nonprofit network members, the Food Bank for Monterey County operates over 240 direct distribution sites and remains the community’s largest provider of emergency supplemental food, providing over 5 million pounds of food annually to people who need it—including, ironically, many of the people who help harvest produce from the Salad Bowl of the World. John Steinbeck had a lot to say about hunger and its effects. He would be proud of the work done by the good people at the Food Bank for Monterey County. BEST AGRICULTURE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Monterey County vintners and Growers Association P.O. Box 1793, Monterey (831) 375-9400, Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association is the opposite of those powerful Dust Bowl-era groups like Associated Farmers. MCVGA works for the betterment of all involved in one of the county’s most important agricultural sectors. In fact, the annual economic impact of the humble winegrape in Monterey County is around $1.5 billion. There Best Cash Crop | Strawberries 44 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 Thank you Weekly Readers 2014– 2023 YOU CALL… WE COME RUNNIN’ • Pruning • Removal • Stump Grinding • Arborist Consultation ... And More! For Voting Us Best Tree Service 9 years in a row! ANDREW TOPE, SR • OWNER/OPERATOR (831) 373-7765 WE7621A ANDREW TOPE JR. ISA BOARD CERTIFIED ARBORIST ST. CONTR. LIC. #669057 INSURED PL & PD & WORKERS’ COMP.