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Eco-Farm Tour 2012

Amigo Bob was one of the original founders of Eco-Farm 32 years ago and our tour leader.  Wearing shorts and a hat adorned with a ladybug and a ribbon trailing off the back he lead us on a tour of 3 farms and a vineyard, breaking down any confusing farm terms for those of us not farmers.

Fogline Farm

First stop was Fogline Farm in Soquel Village in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Johnny and Jeffrey share the land with Bruce Manildi, a third generation farmer. Fogline is a fully integrated organic farm with vegetables, fruit trees, pigs and chickens. They have 3 acres of vegetables and 20 acres of orchards. The pigs are slaughtered in Modesto, the closest slaughterhouse and then brought back to the farm to be made into sausages.

Fogline Farm Berkshire Pigs

They raise both broiler chickens and chickens for eggs.  Fogline also make added value products like salsas, hot sauces and jams to sell at local farmers markets along with the broiler chickens, eggs and sausages. Currently the only other way to try their amazing bounty is to sign up for their local CSA.

Our second stop was Yellow Wall Farm in Santa Cruz where Allen and Judy Hasty run a CCOFcertified microfarm.

Yellow Wall Farm

In 1998 they started selling only to family and friends. Now they have expanded to restaurants, New Leaf Community Markets and have a farm stand down the road. Neighbors can still buy their eggs and slip the money under the door.  They have 1 ½ acres of row crops and ½ acre of a fruit orchard with asian pears, plums and peaches. This was a major life change for both of them and they are loving it!

We stopped for lunch in a public park in Santa Cruz and had a gourmet lunch prepared by a chef from Outstanding In The Field Farm Tours. Organic apple juice, rabbit stew with savory cabbage, organic greens from Happy Boy Farms and a sweet apple crumble for dessert. It was a perfect sunny day to have a picnic in the park.

Next on the tour was UC Santa Cruz CASFS (The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems).  CASFS is a training program for aspiring farmers and anyone interested in farming. They offer a 6 month apprenticeship for 39 students each year. 2012 is already filled up and they recommend signing up now for 2013.  The students learn by doing and experimenting and the teaching manuals are available online. People come from all over the world to learn how to farm on the central coast of California with its unique Mediterranean climate.  CASFS sells 60% of what they grow to their CSA, 30% to local grocery stores and 10% at a food truck at the base of campus.

CASFS

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Our final stop was The Bonny Doon Vineyard.  The winery and the tasting room are now located in Santa Cruz. They grow many bio dynamic white wines and are also experimenting in the San Juan Batista area with growing vegetables and new grape varieties from seeds instead of the standard grafting procedure.  It will be interesting to see how their new experiments turn out.

The day was fun filled and educational for someone like me who has no farming background.  I now have a better understanding and appreciation about the intense work and care farmers put into growing their food and raising their animals to feed us.

Susan Simitz
Marketing Manager

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