Written by: Caitlin Paulus
The last time I went grocery shopping my heart sunk as I patiently waited for the cashier to ring up my items. Spinach $4, eggs $5, avocados $6, apples $5, chicken $10, oranges $6 — as my bill reached $50 I was hesitant to purchase what was left in my cart. There has to be a better way to do this, I thought to myself, as I swallowed my pride and spent $70 on enough food to only get me through the week. Luckily, the hard working students and faculty in the Horticulture and Crop Science Department have created a solution to the grocery store prices haunting many of us today. The Cal Poly U-Pick program gives students and community members alike the opportunity to pick fresh produce year round for discounted prices. Not only does the produce grown on campus rival what you could find in any grocery store, by purchasing it you can help support fellow Mustangs and Cal Poly agriculture as a whole.
The U-Pick farm stand is located at the Crops Unit off of Highland Drive, and is open for business on Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This unique experience allows for anyone who wishes to get outdoors to become truly involved in the farm-to-table lifestyle. The current varieties of fruits and vegetables available for purchase are strawberries, Eureka lemons, blood oranges, Susan avocados, and hydroponically grown tomatoes. This week’s featured item is Navel Oranges, which are currently available for only $1 per pound. If you are looking for more opportunities to buy fresh produce while saving money, Cal Poly’s products can also be purchased on Thursdays at the downtown Farmers’ Market from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays at the Madonna Farmers’ Market from 8 a.m.to 10:30 a.m. These two off-campus locations also offer organic produce, grown on Cal Poly’s 11-acre certified organic farm.
For more up-to-date produce information, you can call the U-Pick hotline at (805) 756-6778, or visit the Horticulture and Crop Science Department’s Facebook page here. Photos courtesy of the Horticulture and Crop Science Department’s Facebook page.