Local Farms Feed Families Far & Wide: 13

Farm Day Tour Provides Firsthand View

mong the many benefits of the Conejo Valley is the abundance of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Many are surprised to learn that Ventura County is actually one of the top-producing agricultural regions in the nation, with 100,594 acres of crops harvested in 2014, according to the Ventura County
 Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

The area’s temperate climate is ideal for growing strawberries, citrus and vegetables, harvested in amazing abundance, and along with 100+ fruit, nut, vegetable and grain crops, earned local farmers an estimated $2.1 billion in gross revenue in 2014. Ranked 11th among the nation’s 3,140 counties based on annual production value, Ventura County supplies millions of people around the world with fresh fruits and vegetables. Enough strawberries, for example, are produced to satisfy the annual consumption of 78 million Americans. It would take 87 million Americans to consume the county’s lemon crop, 135 million to consume its celery production and 45 million to eat all its avocados, says the Farm Bureau of Ventura County.

More than 25 of the county’s 2,000+ farms are opening their doors and inviting the public to experience a day of agricultural learning firsthand on Saturday, November 5 for the 4th Annual Ventura County Farm Day. This free event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and connects the community with its farming neighbors, providing an opportunity to say thanks to the farmers and agricultural workforce who ensure we have food on our table.

“This year, we moved Farm Day from summer to fall,” says Mary Maranville, founder and Executive Director of  Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), the nonprofit that organizes Farm Day each year. “The weather will be cooler, plus, in keeping with the spirit of giving during November, it gives the public an opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to our hardworking farmers who grow the food we eat.”

The self-guided tour of local farms includes family friendly activities, free produce, agricultural book signings and food and beverage samplings. The public is encouraged to visit VenturaCountyFarmDay.com and choose two or three farms to tour.Visitors should wear a hat and comfortable closed-toed shoes for the tour.

Participating farms, museums and farming operations include:

  • • Houweling’s Tomatoes and McGrath Family Farms in Camarillo
  • • Chivas Skin Care and Otto & Sons Nursery in Fillmore
  • • Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark
  • • Friends Ranch, Easthrine Farm, East End Eden Farm and Ojai Olive Oil in Ojai
  • • AGQ Laboratory, Agromin, Deardorff Family Farms, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Gills Onions and San Miguel Produce in Oxnard
  • • UC Hansen Ag Center, Calavo Growers and Ventura County Ag Museum in Santa Paula
  • • Rancho Camulos Museum in Piru
  • • Petty Ranch and Rincon Vitova Insectaries in Saticoy
  • • Alpacas at Windy Hills and Greenwood Daylily Gardens in Somis
  • • Diamond W Cattle Company and Salad Bar Farms at Balboa Middle School in Ventura.

The tour culminates with a fundraising barbecue from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Ventura County Fairgrounds (San Miguel Building) in Ventura, featuring live country music by Coldwater Canyon and Friends, farm-fresh food prepared by Young Farmers & Rangers and Dearmore BBQ Catering, locally produced craft cocktails, beers from Institution Ale and wines. Barbecue tickets are $40 for adults and $15 for kids under 12.

For more information on Ventura County Farm Day, including a list of participating farms and their locations, visit 
VenturaCountyFarmDay.com or call 805.901.0213.