Branch out on Farm Day and visit Ventura County growers

Source: Ventura County Star

Do you know where your food comes from and how it’s grown?

You can find out Saturday when more than 20 Ventura County farms will open their doors to the public during the sixth annual Ventura County Farm Day.

“Growers, farmers and agricultural organizations are coming together for one purpose, and that is to educate the general public about where their food is grown and how it’s grown,” said Mary Maranville, founder and CEO of Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture — SEEAG — which organizes Farm Day.

“We eat every day, and it’s important to know where your food is coming from, and to know who the farmers are in your backyard and how to support them,” said Maranville, who lives in Ojai. “These are hard-working people, and it’s important to know every aspect of what farmers have to deal with on a daily basis.”

Farm Day will kicks off Friday with a barbecue from 4-7:30 p.m. at Oxnard Historic Farm Park, 1251 Gottfried Place, Oxnard. This event will include games, raffles and a farmers appreciation awards ceremony, as well as live entertainment by Mark David. Tickets are $15 to $45, and can be purchased at www.venturacountyfarmday.com.

Tours start Saturday at 10 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. Visitors can create their own itinerary by choosing from among the farms listed at www.venturacountyfarmday.com— and realizing this list is only a drop in Ventura County's farming bucket.

“There are about 2,000 farms in Ventura County, big and small,” Maranville said. “And out of those farms, they supply 54 different countries around the world with produce.”

This is largely because of the area’s Mediterranean climate, “and we can grow food here all year,” Maranville said.

“I really think that we in Southern California take it for granted, because we can go to the farmers markets here all year, and the grocery store is stocked with an abundance of very fresh fruits and vegetables,” Maranville said. “If you go to other parts of the United States in the wintertime, they can’t grow food in the winter. When you think about it that way, we could depend on these farmers for our survival.”

Farms on the tour include Earthtrine Farm in the Ojai Valley, where guests will learn how farmers grow more than 100 different crops throughout the year, including chard, dandelions, green leaf lettuces and kale.

Those who visit Gill’s Onions in Oxnard will learn how its processing plant is 100 percent waste-free because it turns its onion waste into bio-fuel to generate electricity. At Houweling’s Tomatoes in Camarillo, guests will learn about hydroponic greenhouse growing and sustainable farming, as well as sample hydroponically grown tomatoes. This visit requires preregistration.

Visitors can tour an olive press house and taste cold-pressed olive oil at the Ojai Olive Oil Company, mingle with alpacas at Alpacas at Windy Hill in Somis and learn how the jujube fruit is grown at Boku Superfood in Ojai.

At Petty Ranch in Saticoy, a fifth-generation Ventura County family farm, visitors will learn about the lemon and avocado business, “but this year we will try to focus a little more attention on the Farm Lab,” said Chris Sayer, manager of the ranch.

SEEAG’s Farm Lab experiments with crops that are relatively new to Ventura County and may someday play a larger role, he said. They include figs, apples, persimmons, pears and apricots.

Youngsters who participate in Farm Day will learn about the opportunities and careers available in agriculture, Maranville said.

“A lot of people associate farming with an older man in overalls on a tractor, or harvesters, but that is not the case,” she said. “There are soil scientists, seed scientists, engineers, hydroponic specialists, botanists — and safety is a big one. If you graduate with a degree in food safety, you get hired right away.”

Most people don't know that Ventura County is one of the top counties in the country in terms of agricultural productivity, Sayer said.

“Of 4,000 counties in the USA, Ventura County usually ranks between number 9 and 11 nationally, with more than $2 billion in crop value,” he said.

“That's a huge accomplishment, especially for a small piece of land that we share with 800,000 urban and suburban neighbors,” Sayer added. “Farm Day is a day that we get to show them what we do, and help build a better relationship with our neighbors who may often only see our farms from their cars on the 101.”

Emily HidalgoComment
6th Annual Ventura County Farm Day: “Family-Friendly Weekend of Farms and Food”

Source: Citizens Journal

Ventura County, Calif. (October 10, 2018)–On Saturday, November 3, more than 20 Ventura County farms will open their doors and invite the public to experience a day of agricultural activities and tours during the 6th Annual Ventura County Farm Day.

Farm Day tour hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public can go to www.VenturaCountyFarmDay.com, select two, three or more farms to visit and then map out their day. Farm Day visitors create their own itinerary, travel at their own pace to experience a day of agricultural activities and meet the farmers who grow the food they eat. Each farm is unique, but all feature a number of activities such as conducting educational tours and offering free produce samples.

Farm Day Kickoff BBQ: .New this year, Farm Day will officially kickoff the night before, Friday, November 2, with a “Farm-to-Table” barbecue at Oxnard Historic Farm Park. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., the public can enjoy live music by Mark David, farm-fresh food prepared by celebrated chef Tim Kilcoyne, locally produced craft cocktails, beers and wines, and kids’ activities. Barbecue tickets are $45 for adults and $15 for kids under 12.

Speaking at the BBQ will be the new Ventura County Ag Commissioner Edmund (Ed) Williams at strong supporter of Ventura County Farm Day and the need for the public to understand the importance of agriculture. “The lineup of farm tours will give the public a wide view of many of the farming and ranching activities, and the families involved in producing the high quality agricultural products Ventura County is known for,” says Williams.

Participating Farms, museums and farming operations include Reiter Affiliated Companies at Laguna Farms, Houweling’s Tomatoes and McGrath Family Farm in Camarillo, Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, Agromin (organics recycler), Deardorff Family Farms and Gill’s Onions in Oxnard and Petty Ranch in Saticoy.

Ventura County Farm Day is organized by the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG). SEEAG’s mission is to help children understand the farm origins of their food and benefits of proper nutrition through classroom agricultural education and free farm field trips.

“Ventura County has such a rich farming history,” says Mary Maranville, SEEAG’s founder and CEO. “Many of our farmers have been growing food for decades, passing the farming tradition from one generation to the next. Ventura County Farm Day is an opportunity for the public to get a behind the scenes peak at farming life and say thank you to those who keep our markets brimming with fresh produce. ”

Ventura County Farm Day sponsors include Ventura County Coast, Farm Credit West, Reiter Affiliated Companies and Kaiser Permanente.

For more information about Ventura County Farm Day, go to www.venturacountyfarmday.com or call 805-901-0213. Farm Day t-shirts, hats, glasses and mugs are available for purchase on the website.

List of Participating farms, ranches and agricultural organizations:

Camarillo

Houweling’s Tomatoes

The Abundant Table at McGrath Family Farm

Fillmore

Chivas Skin Care (at Otto & Sons Nursery)

Otto & Sons

Moorpark

Apricot Lane Farms (pre-registration required)

Ojai

Boku Superfood

Earthtrine Farms

Ojai Olive Oil Company

Oxnard

AGQ Laboratory

Agromin

Beardsley & Son

Deardorff Family Farms

Gill’s Onions

Good Farm (Andrew Williamson Fresh Produce)

Laguna Farms (partner with Reiter Affiliated Companies)

Oxnard Historic Farm Park

Piru

Rancho Camulos Museum

Santa Paula

Ventura County Ag Museum

Saticoy

Petty Ranch

SEEAG’s Farm Lab (at Petty Ranch)

Somis

Alpacas at Windy Hills

Ventura

Rincon Vitova

About SEEAG

Founded in 2008, Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG) aims to help young students understand the origins of their food by bridging the gap between agriculture and consumption through its agricultural education programming. SEEAG’s “The Farm Lab: The Journey of Our Food From Field to Fork” program based in Ventura County teaches school children about the origins of their food and the importance of local farmland by providing schools with classroom agricultural education and free field trips to farms. Through this program, over 15,000 elementary school students in Southern California have increased their understanding of the food journey. For more information, visit www.seeag.org or email Mary Maranville at mary@seeag.org.

Emily HidalgoComment
Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture turns 10

Source: Ventura County Star

Agriculture industry representatives gathered recently at Petty Ranch in Saticoy to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture.

SEEAG was formed in 2008 to help youths understand the origins of their food through free agricultural education and nutrition programming and field trips.

"We knew there was a need for this type of education in our schools, but we didn't realize how it would be so wonderfully embraced by teachers and students," SEEAG founder and CEO Mary Maranville said in a news release.

More on SEEAG:

Attendees at the 10-year anniversary gathering included John Krist, CEO of Ventura County Farm Bureau; Steve Gill, CEO and president of Gill's Onions; Courtney Catalano, director of communications and community engagement at Reiter Affiliated Companies; Brett Burkey, vice-president of the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation; and Chris Sayer, manager of Petty Ranch.

The nonprofit organization created the Farm Lab at the Petty Ranch, where schoolchildren come to learn firsthand about the importance of local farming, and offers agricultural education in the classroom. More than 20,000 elementary school students in Southern California have participated in the program.

SEEAG also hosts Ventura County Farm Day, which this year will be Nov. 3, when the public is invited to visit farms throughout Ventura County.

Rhianna MooreComment