“People around here are so generous with their knowledge”

I am back from day one of the Know a California Farmer Farm Fresh Tour.  What a day! Here are a few highlights!

Our ride.


Thank you to Cal Poly’s Dr. Ben Swan for driving! We had to wait for a top secret Honda commercial to be filmed, but eventually, we made it to our first destination!

First stop: Halter Ranch Vineyard and Winery. What a beautiful facility! We toured the vineyard and learned about the winemaking process and barrel cleaning (below).


Recently retired, vineyard farmer, Mitch Wyss, taught us about growing wine grapes. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Mitch:

  • “The best fertilizer is a farmer’s footsteps.”
  • “You do have bad bugs but you also have the good bugs… it’s all about the balance.”
  • “What we are trying to do here is make our vines last a hundred years.”
  • “When I give [the wine grapes] to the winemaker, I say, ‘Don’t screw them up.'”
  • “We spend a lot of time trying to convince people that wine is not something heartless like Coca Cola.”


Second Stop: Pasolivo

This olive farm creates its own olive oil on site and provides some delicious tastings. Who knew honey tasted so great with olive oil? Salt mixes well too.

“We’re really proud of our oils… Our oil was ranked in the top ten oils in the world in 2008 at the biggest international tasting in Europe.”


Third Stop: Negranti Dairy and Creamery

YUM! We got to taste the ice cream and see where the sheep are milked and where the ice cream is made. Alexis and Wade Negranti faced a little criticism when they first decided to start their own sheep milk dairy and creamery.

Wade’s favorite response to such criticism is, “You can make fun of me now, but you can’t ride on my jet.”



Fourth Stop: Thomas Hill Organics

Joe Thomas showed us around their organic farm before we headed to the family restaurant for dinner. Joe  was a fine arts teacher in LA and his wife, Debbie, worked in sales before they moved to the central coast and began farming. Joe said he learned a lot from talking to farmers at the local markets.

“People around here are so generous with their knowledge,” Joe said.


We also met Joe and Debbie’s dog, Albert.


I learned a lot and met some incredible people (and animals). I can’t wait to see what’s in store for tomorrow!

Until next time, Jennifer

About Brock Center for Agricultural Communication

The Brock Center for Agricultural Communication has aggressively pursued the following goals to heighten public awareness and understanding of agricultural issues: *Locate and attract prospective undergraduate students who demonstrate aptitude for communication and have an abiding concern for agriculture. *Assist the university's Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and Liberal Arts in preparing these students to be effective professional communicators, through learn-by-doing opportunities. *Serve as a resource and vehicle for the continuing education of those in a position to promote the understanding of agriculture. *Promote the professional development of university faculty through teaching, research and service to agriculture communication. *Develop and maintain a website as a resource of information on agricultural issues to serve students, faculty, media professionals, agriculturists and the public.
This entry was posted in Ag Issues, Know a CA Farmer Tour and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s