SOQUEL, Calif. — The 39th EcoFarm Conference will host its annual farm tour on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. This special event is a window into why EcoFarm Conference has been successful in educating the world about eco-farming. The bus tour of regional farms, ranches, dairies and packing houses has been rolling for thirty years and has proven to inspire and inform anyone curious about how organic produce begins its journey to your plate.
Consumers come away amazed at the planning and focused labor needed to set up a winter production area, observing transplants going in the ground and cases of produce heading for the cooler. Farmers don’t often have an opportunity to see how someone else is achieving what they also attempt. Here they can. Host farms will share their insights on cultivation and weed control, fertility, pest management, and habitat restoration projects. Last year at Phil Foster Ranches, aka Pinnacle Organic Produce, a casual stroll past Phil’s equipment line-up was worth the price of admission for the whole day.
“So that’s how you set that up!”
This year’s all-day field trip will visit these four organic and biodynamic farms in and near the Pájaro Valley on California’s Central Coast: Dirty Girl Produce, Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm, Monkeyflower Ranch, and High Ground Organics.
EcoFarm co-founder Amigo Bob Cantisano of Organic Ag Advisors, Jo Ann Baumgartner of Wild Farm Alliance, Sam Earnshaw of Hedgerows Unlimited, and Richard Smith of UC Cooperative Extension will guide this all-day tour. Each guide brings to the tour decades of priceless field experience and knowledge of organic farming practices. Another key contributor could be you. With over a hundred riders, many will have their own story and perspective to share.
About the Bus Tour’s Farms & Ranches
Dirty Girl Produce
Dirty Girl Produce is farmed by Joe Schirmer now in his 20th year, growing 30 veggie crops and strawberries year-round on 32 acres on three parcels around Watsonville. Joe markets at five farmers’ markets, to restaurants and local stores. Famous for dry farmed tomatoes, Joe may break out his new Dirty Girl tomato seed packets if we are lucky.
Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm
Carin Fortin and Delmar McComb of Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm produce a wide variety of veggies, flowers, animals and herbs, offering a year-round-herb CSA, numerous biodynamic herb tinctures, salves, skin care and teas. They sell through farmers’ markets and online. Passionate activists in the biodynamic movement, Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm teaches many classes.
Rebecca King of Monkeyflower Ranch produces seven award winning sheep’s milk cheeses, yogurt, and lamb from 100 milking ewes on 40 acres. We will meet the sheep, tour the Garden Variety Cheese dairy and cheese plant, and taste and purchase her wares. The farm is a participant in the California Healthy Soils Program, which is bringing benefits to the farm by building soil health, creating native plant habitat and sequestering carbon dioxide into the soil.
High Ground Organics
Jeanne Byrne and Stephen Pedersen of High Ground Organics grow strawberries and year round veggies, marketed through their CSA, farmstand, U-Pick berries and farmers’ market. A UC Davis researcher will discuss the ongoing study of beneficial and pest birds found on this and 26 other Central Coast organic strawberry farms.
Lunch will be a hearty natural foods meal prepared by noted chef Jim Denevan of Outstanding in the Field in Santa Cruz, with many ingredients provided by the farm tour hosts. Morning coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided, along with fruit and water during the day.
Details & How to Register: EcoFarm Bus Tour: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 from 8:00am – 5:30pm
Cost: $95 per person (includes lunch)
Buses depart from the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove at 8am sharp.
Lodging at Asilomar is available on the night before the tour (Tuesday, January 22).
To learn more and register visit: https://eco-farm.org/
–Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm)
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