Two Wineries Added to Santa Barbara County Farm Day

Santa Barbara, Calif. (July 25, 2019)—Two wineries are part of the first annual Santa Barbara County Farm Day coming up Saturday, September 28. On Farm Day, Hermanas Vineyard & Winery and Riverbench Vineyard will join 10 Santa Maria Valley ranches, nurseries and agricultural organizations in celebrating the bounty of food produced by local growers by offering free tours and other activities.

Riverbench Vineyard

6020 Foxen Canyon Road,

Santa Maria, CA 93454

Tour times: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Tours will last 20 to 30 minutes.

Vineyard Manager Jim Stollberg will take guests through the vineyard, describe the viticultural process and answer questions. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine. A picnic area is available at the tasting room.

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Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery

9660 Foxen Canyon Road,

Santa Maria, CA 93454

Tour Times: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Tours begin on the half hour.

Stop by to learn about the history of the winery as well as its family-owned Back Angus cattle operation. Tours begin on the half hour at the cattle ranch followed by tours of vineyards and processing and storage facilities. Wine tasting is available.

Tres Hermansas is also the site of Santa Barbara County Farm Day's Farm-To-Table Dinner, Friday, September 27. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the public can enjoy live music, a Santa Maria-style barbeque dinner and a Tres Hermanas wine flight. Local produce will be used from some of the participating Farm Day locations.

Other Farm Day participants include Allan Hancock College's Agriculture Program, Babé Farms, Bonipak Produce Company, Innovative Produce, Engel & Gray, Inc., Innovative Produce, Main Street Produce, Plantel Nurseries, Primus Labs, Rancho Laguna Farms and Reiter Affiliated Companies at Union Valley Ranch.

"Wineries are such an important part of the ag industry in Santa Barbara County," says Mary Maranville, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), which is organizing Santa Barbara County Farm Day. "We're happy that Riverbench Vineyard and Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery are giving us this unique opportunity to get an inside look of their operations."

Farm Day hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors drive themselves to the farms they select (plan on two or three stops). Each location features a number of activities such as educational tours and free produce sampling. A barbecue lunch is available for purchase at Engel & Gray, Inc.

SEEAG’s mission is to help children understand the farm origins of their food through classroom agricultural and nutrition education and free farm field trips. Although this is the first year of Santa Barbara County Farm Day, SEEAG has been hosting Ventura County Farm Day for six years (the seventh takes place November 9). The Ventura County version attracts over 5,000 visitors annually.

For information about participating farms and Farm-To-Table Dinner, visit www.SantaBarbaraCountyFarmDay.com  or call 805-901-0213.

Local Farms Getting Ready For First Santa Barbara County Farm Day

Santa Barbara, Calif. (June 19, 2019)—Local farmers are preparing for the first Santa Barbara County Farm Day Saturday, September 28. On Farm Day, ranches, wineries and nurseries in Santa Maria Valley will open their doors to the public so visitors can see how their food is grown. Farm Day is free.

“We are excited to participate in Santa Barbara County Farm Day as we see this as an excellent opportunity for farmers and ranchers to share their stories while also allowing the public to learn about the origins of their food," says Andrew Rice, vice president of production, Southern District, Reiter Affiliated Companies (RAC). RAC's Union Valley Ranch will be open for tours where it grows organic Driscoll's blackberries and blueberries.

"On Farm Day, we’ll be explaining how we grow Driscoll’s berries, from the research and genetics that Driscoll’s utilizes in developing new varieties, to the cultural growing practices we use to care for and harvest the fruit that you eat, from our farms to your families,” says Rice.

Tour hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Farm Day visitors travel at their own pace since they drive themselves to the farms they select. Each location is unique, but all feature a number of activities such as educational tours and free produce sampling. A barbecue lunch is available for purchase at Engel & Gray, Inc.

"Farm Day is a chance for the public to see firsthand how their food is produced; there is a lot of misinformation out there, and this gives us the opportunity to help people see for themselves how it actually works. We are very confident that they will like what they see," says Alexandra Allen, co-owner, with her husband Paul, of Main Street Produce, a Farm Day participant that grows strawberries, raspberries and vegetables on over 1,000 acres in Santa Maria Valley. "As time moves on, the general public is farther and farther removed from the farm, and yet more interested than ever in where their food comes from," says Allen. "Farm Day can bridge that gap and help people learn firsthand how commercial agriculture really works."

Besides Reiter and Main Street Produce, participating agricultural organizations include Allan Hancock College's Agriculture Program, Babé Farms, Bonipak Produce Company, Innovative Produce, Engel & Gray, Inc., L&G Chavez Family Farms, Plantel Nurseries, Primus Labs, Rancho Laguna Farms, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery and Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery. More are expected to be added.

Santa Barbara County Farm Day officially kicks off the night before, Friday, September 27 at Tres  Hermanas Vineyard & Winery. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the public can enjoy live music, a "Farm-to-Table" Santa Maria-style barbeque dinner and a Tres Hermanas wine flight. Local produce will be used from some of the participating Farm Day locations.

Santa Barbara 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 through classroom agricultural and nutrition education and free farm field trips. SEEAG has been hosting Ventura County Farm Day for six years (the seventh takes place November 9). The Ventura County version attracts over 5,000 visitors each year.

"We're thrilled that so many agricultural operations are part of the first Santa Barbara County Farm Day," says Mary Maranville, SEEAG CEO and founder. "It shows that there is a strong desire by the ag community to connect with the public. We're hoping Farm Day will grow to become a treasured annual community event."

For information about participating farms and dinner, visit www.SantaBarbaraCountyFarmDay.com or call 805-901-0213.

Santa Barbara County Farm Day highlighted at the Santa Maria Valley strawberry industry annual dinner!

Close to 700 people gathered April 3 in Santa Maria for the Strawberry Industry Recognition Dinner to celebrate the individuals and businesses that grow, package and sell what has become the county’s largest cash crop.

The annual dinner, organized by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, is in its 29th year. The event was held at the Santa Maria Fairpark and its sponsors included the California Strawberry Commission, Rabobank, Red Blossom and Titan Frozen Fruits, among other businesses and organizations.

In Santa Barbara County in 2017, the latest year for which there is data, strawberries generated $457 million, accounting for 29 percent of the nearly $1.6 billion that the county’s agriculture industry generated that year.

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On April 3, the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (COLAB) was awarded the Industry Partner of the Year Award. The nonprofit regularly advocates on behalf of agriculture businesses in the county.

Andy Caldwell, executive director of COLAB, said the nonprofit has tried to educate the public and lawmakers on the work done by local growers.

“One of my friends that was in politics one day told me, ‘a lot of business people don’t want to get engaged in politics,” he said. “Just this last week, we had to go to meetings on hoop houses. We had to go to meetings on H-2A housing, including whether or not workers could be housed in converted motels. The bottom line is there are people trying to put you out of business on any given Tuesday throughout the state of California.”

Caldwell said the agriculture industry was unique and encouraged industry leaders to be more vocal about their companies and the work they do.

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“People don’t know your stories. You need to tell them your story so you’ll become a person to them and not just an item on an agenda,” he said.

The inaugural Santa Barbara County Farm Day — scheduled for Sept. 28 — was also highlighted during the dinner.

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Alexandra Allen, of Main Street Produce, said the day would help the agriculture industry be understood in an era where fewer and fewer people are directly involved in growing food.

“Not too many generations ago we could kind of count on having the general support of the public because so many people had either grown up on a farm or their parents had grown up on a farm,” she said. “There was this natural connection [and] we could count on their support. But that has changed.”

During Farm Day, a number of farms, ranches, wineries and agricultural organizations plan to open their doors and invite the public for a day of activities and tours.

Mary Maranville, CEO of the Ventura-based Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture, also said she felt the industry was often misjudged by the general public, and that Farm Day could serve as a solution.

“As you know, 1 percent of the population feeds the other 99 percent,” she said. “And that 99 percent knows little to nothing about where their food comes from and that’s what Santa Barbara County Farm Day is going to do — they’re going to get the real story from all of you.”

SOURCE: https://santamariatimes.com/news/local/santa-maria-valley-strawberry-industry-celebrated-at-annual-dinner/article_b3d663e6-0305-5ea9-a4f3-4f48cd82af5e.html