A chance to see behind the scenes at our local farms
Ventura County Farm Day returns for the 11th year.
A group of youngsters are on a field trip to Petty Ranch Farm in Ventura. It's one of the farms welcoming the public for a day of free agricultural activities and tours on the 11th annual Ventura County Farm Day.
But it's not just the youngsters who enjoy Farm Day. So do the parents and caregivers, says Seth Wilmoth, who works with Students for Eco Education and Agriculture, known as SEEAG, who are behind the annual Farm Day.
"What's remarkable is we have a lot of parents that come with their kids and attend, and they come up after and say, 'I can't believe how much I learned personally about our county, what we grow here, and just the basic sciences that underpin farming,'" said Wilmoth.
Petty Ranch has been in Chris Sayer's family for about 130 years. He takes a moment to consider the importance of the county's agriculture to the community.
"Ventura County is unique in that we've got one of the best Mediterranean climates anywhere in the world, and we're on a fairly rare open coastal plain in California. So the great thing is you can grow almost anything here. At times in the past, we were a world leader in barley and sugar beets and lima beans and walnuts. And today it's very largely strawberries and vegetables, other types of cane berries of, you know, raspberries and blackberries are grown here. And of course, I'm personally biased towards the avocados and citrus that have been the mainstay for my family for many years," said Sayer.
As well as the citrus and avocados grown here at Petty Ranch, other Farm Day participants grow fresh flowers, keep alpacas and nurture the strawberries we're so familiar with seeing for sale in our stores. Sayer says he hopes getting to see where our produces comes from, inspires some of the visitors.
"I'm really excited that they're getting a chance to see and connect with their environment. You know, agriculture is something that's man-made. You know, we're bending nature to do what we need to do to feed people and give them something delicious to eat. And I hope that they get a chance to understand that a little bit. And of course, coming out here also gives them a chance to explore a little bit about the natural sciences. And I hope maybe this will inspire somebody to pursue science. And, you know, someday they'll maybe they won't be a farmer, but they'll be the engineer or the doctor or the scientist who does something great," said Sayer.
Wilmer from SEEAG agrees and says thousands of students in the county benefit from understanding the farm origins of their food.
"We put on an event that's extremely unique, I think, in today's time, to not just open up a single farm, but let the community get the chance to meet all the diverse growers and organizations in the county that are working within agriculture and not just get a chance to see what they're doing and how our food is being raised, but also meet the individuals who are doing that," he said.
Ventura County Farm Day takes place on November 4th, with tours running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
SEEAG’s Farm Day Hub will feature seedling and produce giveaways, orchard tours and booths from the Ventura County Farm Bureau and other ag organizations. The Ventura County Farm Day Trail Map lists participating locations and is updated daily.
The public can avoid entry lines at each venue by registering in advance atMy805Tix (https://www.my805tix.com/e/venturafarmday). Once registered, visitors show their 805Tix QR code at each location to enter without having to sign in. Plus, they are automatically included in a drawing to win prizes. Winners will be notified on Farm Day.
Tour hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information about Ventura County Farm Day, visit www.VenturaCountyFarmDay.com or call 805-892-8155. No pets allowed.