On Saturday, November 4, more than 20 Ventura County farms will open their doors for the public to experience a day of agricultural activities and tours during the Fifth Annual Ventura County Farm Day.
Agriculture is Ventura County’s No. 1 industry, with some 100,000+ acres of crops harvested in the county in 2014, according to the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. Top crops in Ventura County include strawberries, lemons, raspberries, nursery stock, celery, avocados, tomatoes and peppers. Ventura County Farm Day is the public’s opportunity to see how these and other crops are grown, harvested and find their way into grocery stores.
Farm Day tour hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is encouraged to visit VenturaCountyFarmDay.com to select two or three farms to visit and map out their day. Farm Day visitors can travel at their own pace since they drive themselves to their selected farms. Expect to spend at least an hour or two at each farm. While each farm is unique, all will feature family-friendly activities, such as free produce and mini-tours.
Breakfast & Story Time
Before heading off to the farms, enjoy a free light breakfast hosted by Whole Foods at The Collection in Oxnard at 8 a.m. Visitors can also pick up a Farm Day map and goody bag from Whole Foods (while supplies last). Kids receive free book bags provided by First 5 Ventura County. They’ll also be a Farm Day story time for children ages 5 and under—with farm books read by a local farmer.
Participating farms, museums and farming operations include Reiter Affiliated Companies at Santa Rosa Ranch, Houweling’s Tomatoes and McGrath Family Farms in Camarillo, Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, Agromin (organics recycler), Deardorff Family Farms and Gills Onions in Oxnard, Calavo Growers in Santa Paula and Petty Ranch in Saticoy. A full list with directions is available online.
Participants can pack a lunch or visit Oxnard Historic Farm Park, the official Farm Day lunch location, where a taco truck will be selling lunch items. Also at the park will be free games, a vintage printing press demonstration and tours of historic buildings and farm equipment.
Ventura County Farm Day Barbeque
The culmination of the day’s activities is a farm-to-table barbeque at the Hansen Agricultural Center (Faulkner Farm) in Santa Paula from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The barbeque features live country music by Coldwater Canyon and Friends, farm-fresh food prepared by Dearmore BBQ, locally produced craft cocktails, beer and wine, kids’ activities, raffles and the Farmer Appreciation Awards Ceremony. Barbeque tickets are $45 for adults and $15 for kids under 12. Part of the proceeds will go to the center’s education and outreach programs.
Farm Film Festival – November 3
To get an early start to the Farm Day weekend, families are invited to attend the Farm Film Festival at the Ventura County Ag Museum (926 Railroad Avenue) in downtown Santa Paula, Friday, November 3 at 6 p.m. Farm-related short films will be shown along with “Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit.” Admission is $5 per person (includes popcorn). Scratch Food Truck will be onsite to offer food items made with locally sourced ingredients.
Ventura County Farm Day is organized by Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG). Formed in 2008, SEEAG’s mission is to help children understand the farm origins of their food through classroom agricultural education and free farm field trips. Over 15,000 elementary school students in Southern California have increased their understanding of the food journey through SEEAG programs.
“Farm Day attracts visitors of all ages,” says Mary Maranville, founder and CEO of SEEAG. “Everyone comes away with a greater appreciation of the hard work and dedication that goes into growing the food we eat. The public doesn’t often get the chance to talk with farmers and hear their stories. Farm Day is truly a special event.”
For more information about Ventura County Farm Day, visit VenturaCountyFarmDay.com or call 805.901.0213.