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Bi-weekly podcast

Central California's Greatest Hits

From Ventura County to Monterey to the heart of the Central Valley, extraordinary experiences abound in this part of the Golden State

In this special episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson revisits highlights from interviews conducted across the center of the state. Follow along as Johnson travels up the Central Coast, learning about the hidden gems of Ventura County, getting a taste of the bounty of Paso Robles wine country, sampling Julia Childs–approved bites in Santa Barbara, and discovering where to find an unforgettable cattle-wrangling adventure. Johnson also gets the inside scoop on how to make the most of a trip to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.

After that, the episode heads east into California's Central Valley, where our host gets a taste of the Bakersfield Sound at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. The episode wraps up with a personal tour at Fresno's subterranean marvel, Forestiere Underground Gardens.



Food writer and travel expert Aida Mollenkamp takes us on one of her favorite food-forward excursions, discussing favorites in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Food writer Jeff Gordinier shares some of his best road trip bites across California.

Katie Hayward, owner of Uncorked Wine Tours, takes listeners on a wine-fueled adventure through Paso Robles.

Cattle Rancher John Varian, who runs the V6 Ranch, reveals how his little corner of California can provide an adventure for anyone—even city slickers.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Manager of Conservation Interpretation Allison Soergel recommends close encounters with the sea-dwelling residents of the aquarium.

Jim Shaw, who played alongside many country greats as a member of the Buckaroos, shares insights on Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Lauren Nikkel and Cami Suppola reminisce about the origins of Forestiere Underground Gardens, a fascinating attraction in Fresno.

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and is just getting to know his surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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