photo credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli
I love farm tours! My children and I have been on several field trips to various local farms throughout Southern California. Each time we go we learn something new about where our food comes from and how it produced. So much so, that last February I wrote a blog post entitled 20+ Farm Tours for Kids in Southern California.
On Saturday, September 26, SEEAG (Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture) is pleased to invite the public to visit and tour over 20 working farms in Ventura County for the 2015 Ventura County Farm Day! Self guided tours run from 10 am to 3 pm.
This FREE, multi-location and self-guided event will feature unique tours, hands-on activities, educational demonstrations and an artisanal farmers market that will showcase the farmers and farm lands that produce foods and goods such as lemons, strawberries, tomatoes, onions, avocados, olives, goat milk soap and more!
Participating farms include:
- Houweling’s Tomatoes – Come tour a world-renowned greenhouse tomato facility and sample delicious hydroponically grown tomatoes.
- McGrath Family Farm – Pick your own organic strawberries or shop in season at their roadside farmer’s market right off the 101 Freeway in Camarillo.
- Chivas Skin Care – Meet their goats, pigs, tortoises and chickens, and learn how they handcraft goat milk soaps. Tours on the hour, soap showroom open all day.
- Bartels Ranch – Tour and learn about everything you wanted to know about Valencia oranges.
- Otto & Sons Nursery – Tour their full selection of roses, fruit trees, berries, and general landscape plants.
- East End Eden Farm – Meet and greet the Farmer Connor Jones, and tour a permaculture food forest with a large variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as goats, pigs, chickens and more.
- Friends Ranch – Ojai citrus history, family lore, fresh-squeezed juices and taste tests of a variety of seasonal citrus fruits. On this special farm day folks will be allowed to squeeze their own cup of juice and taste the way real orange juice should taste! There will also be a blind taste test of fresh-squeezed orange juice versus some of the popular store brands.
- Ojai Valley Olive Oil – Tour olive press house and taste cold-pressed olive oil.
- AQC Laboratory – Tour a high-tech laboratory that specializes in agriculture and food safety.
- Deardorff Family Farms – Tours of our LEED Certified, sustainable, “green” facility will be every hour starting at 10:15. We will have 2 tours going on, led by Scott Deardorff, one of the owners of Deardorff Family Farms, and Joe Diaz, our Facility Manger. Each of the 2 tour groups can have about 20 guests. Christine Smith will be at a booth in front of the building, sharing about DFF and letting guests sample fresh produce!
- Duda Farm Fresh Foods – Walking tour operation with viewing of fresh-cut celery facility. Display of products and samples given out prior to departure of guests.
- Gill’s Onions – Visit one of the largest fresh-cut onion operations in the nation and the 10th largest grower on the West Coast. Learn how this processing plant in Oxnard is 100% waste-free by turning its onion waste into bio-fuel to generate electricity.
- Mission Produce Avocado Packing House – Tour one of the largest avocado producer’s packing house in Oxnard. See all the steps, from washing to grading, to shoring and packing avocados.
- San Miguel Produce – Tour a packing facility that is a vertically-integrated grower, and fresh-cut processor and shipper specializing in dark leafy greens with brands San Miguel Produce, Cut ‘N Clean Greens, and Jade Asian Greens.
- Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center – Tour a farm that has a very active education outreach program. Hansen has 4-H youth agricultural literacy programs including farm field trips and classroom outreach serving K-5th-grade students countywide. Additionally, the Center is an approved site for the VC Master Gardener Program.
- Limoneira Ranch – With nearly 3,200 acres of agricultural production in Ventura County and 11,000 total around the globe, Limoneira is one of the largest providers of lemons and avocados in the United States. Tour the grounds from a hay ride and tour their historic visitor’s center. The End-of-Day BBQ will be held at Limoneira’s north lawn starting at 4 pm.
- The Painted Pony Farm – Wool washing, goat milk soap making, apple pruning, seed collecting and late season apple picking. We will have goat milk skincare products and imprinted t-shirts,bags and hats for sale.
- Petty Ranch – Meet-and-greet the farmer, U-pick, citrus, avocados, figs and other speciality fruit.
- Underwood Family Farms – Large variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Explore the Somis Farm Animal Center.
- Rincon-Vitova Insectary – Take a tour of a producer and distributor of beneficial insects and other natural organisms for biological, organic pest control.
After tour hours have concluded, locals are invited to enjoy a rustic outdoor BBQ at Limoneira Ranch in Santa Paula starting at 4 pm. The BBQ will feature live music by Grammy Award-winning artist Todd Hannigan, a kiss-the-farmer photo booth, tractor rides, gourmet salads prepared by farm-to-table Chef Jason Collis, craft beers from Poseidon Brewing Company, small batch wines from Four Brix Winery and barbecue fired up by the Young Farmers & Ranchers of Ventura County. Tickets to the Limoneira BBQ are available for purchase online now.
For more information about Ventura County Farm Day, please visit www.venturacountyfarmday.com
Happy Field Tripping!
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. All points of view are my own.