Archive for the ‘FARM VISITS’ Category

Hey Locavores!  It’s that time of year again, when the wonderful folks at Riverdance Farms, host their annual “Pick and Gather”, it’s always a wonderful time rain or shine!

We’ll see you there with our bee~luscious lemonade!  Find the up to date info on facebook @ Hey Honey! Artisanals & Riverdance Farms Pick & Gather!


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Lorina’s Edible Garden

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First Day of Spring Open House News Letter
March 20,2009 12-5pm

Come check out what we are growing in our little greenhouse!
We have a selection of veggies and herbs ready to take home, more will be ready as the weeks go on.

You will find Lorina cleaning up the gardens still getting ready to plant. She would love to visit with you and help you with any garden questions that you might have.

Lorina will do guest speaking for clubs, classes or anyone interested in gardening with herbs.

We also welcome field trips at the farm for all ages. Gardening activities and visiting with the farm animals are a treat at the farm!

Come on out any day after March 20 by appointment.
For more info call (209)838-1457

Lorina’s Edible Garden

17397 Enterprise rd
Escalon ca 95320

Take hwy 120 east of Escalon towards oakdale. Look for enterprise on the north side of road, look for sign at end of driveway!

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The highlight of this visit was not just a farm, but a very unique class room on a country road in Turlock, in a barn on a farm….
there are children , teachers, desks, chalk boards, cows, goats, pigs, turkeys, a vegetable garden, a fruit garden and lots of fresh air!

We arrived with organic seeds, donated by The Greenery Nursery in Turlock, and compostable containers for all the students. These kids where excited to show us their farm and share with us their responsibilities of animal care and garden care. Kat talked about our farm visits and the many career choices in the farm industry with out being a farmer. What really sparked their interest was talk about our blog and how we social network, after all this is the plugged in generation, they already have the skills of online networking and this group understood the importance of how to apply it in creating a successful business.

Here at Keyes To Learning Charter School young minds are taught the environmental issues that effect the area they live in by learning with a hands on approach to earth friendly responsible farming & gardening. This open laboratory for outdoor exploration is the only school in the central valley that offers an alternative and creative curriculum for home schooled students. Since 1978 the gardening program has been available to students ranging from 5th to 8th graders attending once a week, with the older mentoring the younger allowing them to work on their leadership skills. This school also teaches the standard class’s such as California History, Art and Nutrition.

Diane Sugerman is the Ag teacher responsible for plant science and environmental education and believes …. ” We need youth that are knowledgeable about agriculture so that the industry will continue to be a viable force in one of the most exceptional growing areas in the country.”

That was the good news, now here is bad news… this charter school faces budget cuts due to economic times and is in danger of losing its program. They are looking for a permanent site, as this one is rented, the hope would be that someone or the Ag industry would step forward and help out in the process of educating our K-6 children like the programs offered to middle and high schools. Charter schools can be much more creative in developing innovative programs.

We are spreading the word about this exceptional learning opportunity for the future of our children so that we might inspire or motivate someone to help find a permanent site that would allow these students to showcase our local agriculture community through sustainable gardening!

Please shoot us an e-mail if you are interested in supporting this school in any way at: annariedinger@gmail.com

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Just as Athena, goddess of wisdom, provided the olive tree to the Greeks, the Piccirillo family provides all natural virgin olive oil to California’s San Joaquin Central Valley!

Fascination for Greek mythology and Athena’s divine creation of the olive tree is what started Anne Piccirillo’s dream and hobby, now nine and a half years latter it is a successful thriving olive orchard with 417 Spanish and Italian olive trees. The reward for persistence and hard work for Anne, her husband Paul and daughter Eleanor is now living in the middle of this beautiful olive orchard here in the small community of Gustine, Ca.

The Piccirillo family grows 4 different varieties of trees – Ascolano, Leccino, Frantoio and Mission, unlike many other olive oils their varieties are separated, offering 4 different types of oil – each with its own unique warm and roasted flavors. This specialty olive oil is extra virgin, first cold pressed (considered the best), meaning the olive is processed once & using as little heat as possible insuring the highest quality oil from the olive.

As we taste test a buffet of her oils with fresh french bread we learn from Anne just a few of the many health benefits of this Mediterranean fruit, it has a high content of antioxidative substances suppling vitamin E, healing fats supporting good cholesterol levels, lowering risk of colon cancer and the most common, heart disease.

When the harvest and time allows, Anne will also offer hand made soaps of lavender, honey/oatmeal and goat milk.

Harvest begins in the middle of October to beginning of November, while the olives are 1/2 green and 1/2 dark for quality flavor.

  • If you would like to try your hand at harvesting there is a volunteer day the third week in October, give them a call at 209.631.1137 … we’ll be there!

Athena’s Gift, Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be found locally at :

Beekman and Beekman in Hughson, Ca

Wolfsen’s Meats & Sausage in Gustine, Ca

Merced Farmers Market

Los Banos Farmers Market

Hops & Bangers event in Gustine, Ca

To order online and learn more about the people in your neighborhood visit Athena’s Gift!

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Open Space Meats

What a refreshing afternoon it turned into as we visited with Seth Nitschke and toured his beautiful grass fed beef ranch. We hopped on the back of his quad and off we went for a bumpy ride and a first hand view of the ranch.
He did warn us about the rough ride, his energy and knowledge made up for it, we survived!

It was an educating day for us, learning the care of the land and the life of pasture fed cattle. Seth explains the fine line of under grazing and over grazing, believing in slow, easy and natural, not too many cattle and not to long a time. Grazing in moderation helps the reproduction of grass allowing it to replenish its roots, prevents topsoil erosion, keeps a healthy rangeland, maintains clean water, protects against disease that will produce healthy quality beef.

In 1992 Seth spent time as an exchange student in Western Australia. In 1994 he returned to Australia to work on a ranch, then again in 1997 spending 6 weeks on the ground with a chuck wagon rounding up cattle – you don’t hear stories like that anymore. When he returned to the states he was a cattle buyer for larger corporations back east and in this area. After years of not being satisfied with the practices of the industry Open Space Meats was established.

He tells us, “I had enough of feed yards and lots, I’m not bashing them, what they are doing is not bad, we are just doing it better – the way we think it should be done, no steroids or concentrated grains, we raise grass feed cattle because we believe it is the right thing to do. The ranch looks good, the cows look good and it is good for our customers. We take great care of our ground, our animals and people.”

Currently they are renting grazing land in Hornitos and run about 30 head of cattle in a few different locations. They buy their calves from local known sources; people they know and trust then grass feed them until they are about 2 years of age. He does not believe in pushing the cattle past or faster then what nature has intended. Seth loves what he does and respects the land and the spring that runs through it, with plans to plant oak trees along the small creek to help improve the water retention and soil composition.

Seth jokes when he says many of their clients are recovering vegetarians, now enjoying nutritious grass fed meats. He is proud to say they have a 75% reorder rate from their customers. Most people hear about Open Space Meats by word of mouth, with customers located all over California, from San Fransisco to San Diego and a few out of state. In most cases Seth likes to deliver meat himself, wanting his customer to know where their food comes from and wanting to know his customer!

To place your custom beef order visit www.openspacemeats.com,
give Seth an e-mail or call (209) 262-8780.

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This California Certified Organic Farm in Merced, is family owned and operated by David and Michelle Silveira, along with their two sons, Joseph and Antonio. It is an abundant 65 acre ranch that produces organic crops, along with organic oat hay, Boer Goats (for sale) and many grass fed Sexlink chickens.

As we walked into the garden the colors were amazing. All neatly lined up in rows, about 20 to 30 different types of winter crops…. Kale, Swiss Chard, Cabbage, Celeriac, Leeks, Bok Choy, Garlic, Radishes, Turnips, Carrots, Broccoli, Beets, Rutabaga, Pack Choy, Lemon Grass, Arugula, and much more. The newly planted oat hay had three inches of growth that covered most of the ranch like a soft velvety green blanket, some day to feed local organic cows.

Throughout this last year, Silveira Farms provided fresh produce to about 100 happy CSA subscribers, their boxes are full of beautifully colored quality produce raised and harvested on the farm. Dedicated to keeping their members connected to the farm, a newsletter is included with recipes for what is currently in season. In addition to their shares, they offer add-ons of produce from other local organic farms like: T & D Willey Farms, Riverdance Farms, Cuyama, and A V Thomas. With drop sites in Merced, Turlock and surrounding areas, David plans to increase their CSA participation by 100 this next year.

This committed farmer shared with us how he has been farming this diversified ranch for about three years, and found this particular land through California FarmLink, a non-profit organization that helps build and conserve family farms in California. This property had sat vacant waiting for an organic farmer, David filled that spot and turned it into a successful alternative to store bought well traveled produce.

David has been honored this month by California FarmLink, with an invitation to Washington DC and discuss the 2008 farm bill, concerning policies and the future of farm business.

Congratulations Rancho piccolo – Silveira Farms!

Make 2008 a year of healthy food choices and sign up for a CSA!

David and Michelle can be contacted by calling (209) 380-9104 or at silveiradavid@hotmail.com

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