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Right arid center of California, Fresno is the largest city in the Central Valley by far. It may not have much to look at (it's a testing area for every new chain store), but it is just an hour's drive from four national parks- Yosemite, Sierra, Kings Canyon and Sequoia.
In recent years, Fresno's agro economy has taken hits from catastrophic droughts and low food prices, increasing unemployment. A local farm movement began to revolutionize food production via sustainable practices and fair wages, leading to a food and cultural renaissance- the meat and produce are the freshest you'll find.