Ooooby Fresno

On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, the Central Valley North FARMS Leadership group visited Food Commons Fresno.  Students learned about the history of T&D Willey Farm and how Ooooby Fresno came to be. Students worked on the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) line and packed CSA Boxes that Ooooby distributes to over 700 local community customers. Students participated in making their own marketing and social media posts. The students worked outside of their comfort zone by producing their own videos displaying the many different products inside that weeks Ooooby box. “I was very surprised how quickly the students ran with this sort of task.” Eric DeJong, Students then enjoyed lunch and visited Road 20 Farm where the students walked a muddy block 1 of the farm where they saw the operation in action.  Road 20 Farm organically grows 60+ varieties of crops at one time. It was an amazing day!

Road 20 Farm

Packing CSA Boxes


Agriculture and Research

Program: FARMS Leadership

Region: Central Valley North & South

Field Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Location of Field Day: Kearney Research

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

Theme: Research in Agriculture

On, Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the Central Valley North and South FARMS Leadership Groups consisting of Madera High School, Madera Liberty High School, Kerman High School, Clovis East High School, Lindsey High School, Hanford High School, El Diamante High School and Mt. Whitney High School participated in a joint field day at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier CA.  At the beginning of the day the leadership team prepared introductions for the days hosts. Following introductions, students were split into three groups and rotated through three topic areas. They studieds Soils such as soil quality, healthy soils for healthy crops. The second area they studied Post Harvest Quality by answering the question of How suppliers know whether or not the fruits and vegetables that I buy will be ripe and flavorful?  And finally, the importance of grains, such as types of grains, whole grain nutrition and how they grow. At lunch time the hosts sat with the students and presented about their job and students asked all kinds of questions related to their work and how they got there. These questions lead to a great roundtable discussion. The hosts were very gracious with their time and answering all of the students questions. We had a great visit as always and are excited to return!

Enzo Olive Oil

Program: FARMS Leadership

Region: Central Valley North

Field Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Location of Field Day: Enzo Olive Oil Company, Madera CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Jasmine Mahfoud & Vincent Ricchiuti

Theme: Olive Oil Harvest

Summary of the Day:  On Tuesday, November 13th the Central Valley North FARMS Leadership that comprised of Kerman High School, Madera South High School, Madera Liberty High School and Clovis East High School.  As the students arrived they enjoyed a breakfast snack, a leadership team was designated and students practiced introducing and thanking a speaker. Owner Vincent Ricchiuti and Quality Manager Kathryn Tomajan met with the students and went over everything in relation to the History of PR-Farms and ENZO Olive Oil Company.  We then toured the orchard and mill, we saw harvesting, saw the mill at work, where the tanks were stored and the bottling station. At the end of our tour Enzo provided an Olive Oil Tasting. Students returned to the meeting room and participated in a teamwork cup stacking game. After lunch Vincent and Kathryn joined us again with Field Manager Brenden.  We had a lovely conversation about their education, how they ended up at Enzo and what they thought about the politics of the High Speed Rail that goes straight through a piece of their land. This conversation lead to a basic round table discussion of everything under the sun. They were very courteous of our group and took their time answering all the questions we had for them.  This really showed that the students were honestly interested in their day and what they were sharing with us. After our questions, the leadership team who introduced each individual thanked them as well for their time they took with us today. Lastly, the students completed a Career Self-Assessment to see where their interests lie and how true they thought they were. We had a great day at and cannot wait to return!  Thank you Enzo and PR-Farms for a wonderful day!

A Handful of Almonds…

(MADERA, CA) On Wednesday, September 26th, Students from the Central Valley North FARMS Leadership Program stepped out of the classroom to learn about the steps to harvesting almonds at Creekside Farming Company Inc. and learning about The Almond Company’s business.  Meeting for the first time were 30 sophomore and juniors students from Clovis East High School, Kerman High School, Liberty High School, and Madera South High Schools.

FARMS stands for Farming, Agriculture and Resource Management for Sustainability, which is a premier Leadership Program run by the Center for Land-Based Learning.  This statewide youth program connects high school students to California’s food system and teaches them leadership skills through a year of field days on farms, ranches and agribusinesses.  They get to explore college and career opportunities in agriculture, food and environmental science while helping them develop critical thinking skills through hands-on experiences. “It is so important for students to learn about the agriculture that surrounds them.”, said Katie Wortman, the FARMS Leadership Coordinator for the Central Valley.

The Madera County Farm Bureau provided the meeting space for the Leadership portion of the Field Day.  The day started out with the designation of leadership teams and students practicing the proper handshake.  Students got to know each other by interviewing each other and introduced each other as a preparation for introducing our individual speakers.  Each predetermined student interviewed each speaker of the day and introduced them to the group as a whole. Next, the group traveled to The Almond Company and were welcomed by Anthony Sagariballa, Director of Plant Operations and Jerry Magdaleno, Grower Relations.

Our students were treated to a company presentation, almond tasting, facility tour, and lunch. Finally, we ended our day with Creekside Farming. Jay Mahil, Owner and Eli Gallegos, Ranch Manager met us for an in-depth tour of harvesting Almonds. Students were able to watch how Almond trees are harvested including the shaking, sweeping and picking up of Almonds.  Almonds were then transferred to the truck and delivered to the processor. Our FARMS students did an excellent job asking questions and being engaged in the day.