A Real Agventure in Ventura, California

A wide variety of increasingly popular ag ventures, all open to a public seeking locally grown produce and ways to reconnect with nature, are all within driving distance of Los Angeles.

| April 17, 2009

  • Fresh produce is the name of the game around Ventura, California.
    Fresh produce is the name of the game around Ventura, California.
    courtesy Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau
  • A little boy reaches into an apple crate.
    A little boy reaches into an apple crate.
    iStockphoto.com/Christine Keene

  • Fresh produce is the name of the game around Ventura, California.
  • A little boy reaches into an apple crate.

Ventura, California – In Ventura County, farm tours and even picking your own fresh produce from the fields have become increasingly popular activities with visitors to the area.

Located about an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles, Ventura and the surrounding countryside hosts over 25 farms that welcome the public – many at no cost – and offer a range of activities from farm tours that encourage visitors to roam the fields and pick their own crops, to petting zoos, to getting a firsthand look organic farming practices. Ventura is surrounded by verdant green fields reminiscent of a time gone by. Nearly all the farms are working family farms, making time for visitors by advance appointment, or with regularly scheduled hours.

Farm visits have something to offer both the eco-aware consumer interested in sourcing food that is locally grown, as well as families and individuals keen to escape an urban environment and connect with nature.

Ventura County is unique in coastal Southern California for having saved large expanses of the rich farmland surrounding its urban centers. For every acre of urban development, there is one acre that is still farmed and another two acres in open rangeland in the area.

Ventura harvests a bountiful range of produce year round – lemons, oranges, avocadoes, strawberries and seasonal vegetables from artichokes to pumpkins. There are also olive orchards which produce a green and grassy tasting extra virgin olive oil, honey producers and lavender farms.

The 300-acre  McGrath Family Farm  has been established in Ventura Country for five generations, growing a diversity of year-round fruits and vegetables. It is situated just off the 101 Freeway and is certified organic. As well as a commitment to sustainable farming practices, the McGrath family has a deep interest in sharing their knowledge of farming, nutrition, health and sustainability with the public. “We want people to know where their food comes from,” says owner Phil McGrath. “Agricultural education is part of all our farm tours, and it’s a great way for us to preserve our farmland as well.” For children, there are also hayrides, and the farm has ducks, geese, pigs, goats and turkeys – which youngsters are allowed to pet.

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