Summary of the Day: On Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, the Kern County FARMS Leadership Program kicked off the year with a field day at AC Foods/Columbine Vineyards. Students from McFarland High School, West High School and Ridgeview Highschool came together to explore the different job opportunities that consists of managing a grape operation. We started off with Louis Gonzalez the Director of Farming as he went over many exciting things that we all learned about. We went into detail about the fertilizer that is used on the grapes and all the ingredients that are in it to make it so valuable. We got to see up close and touch the different additives to fertilizer that are used such as earth worm poop. They use an Aerobic Tea that blends all the ingredients of the fertilizer together with water and it is then pumped into the lines of the vineyards.
We then went over to the Sales Team of Columbine Vineyards and got to sit in and meet the VP of sales Dave Watson. They began to start and show us the pitch they would give to future buyers and anyone interested in their grapes. It was very interesting to see all the different data and reports they do to figure out what the consumers like best about picking the perfect bag of grapes. They have to be sure the label is perfect and placed in the correct spot as well. Presentation is everything!
We then went on to the vineyards and got to actually cut and pick our own bundle of grapes. They went on to show and tell us the specific characteristics the grape bundles must reach to be sale ready. We had to cut and trim to make the bundles uniform and eye appealing to the consumer. We also used a refractometer to practice measuring the sweetness in the grapes. We all had a great time and got to taste some AMAZING grapes!!!
FARMS Leadership | Tehama, North State, and Kern| April 21, 2021
Field Day Host(s) and Mentors Andersen and Sons Shelling: Vina, CA Karen Gundersen, Grower Relations Manager Kristin Coley, Food Safety and Marketing Jennifer Williams, Marketing Director with California Walnut Board and Commission
Hands-On Kit Components Variety ID Worksheet, 5 different walnut varietals, In shell walnuts for cracking and grading, Kernel Defects information sheet. Small mallet for cracking nuts.
Theme Walnuts and Processing
Summary of the Day This field day hosted by Andersen and Sons Shelling was extra special with Jennifer Williams with the California Walnut Board and Commission joining us. She started off the day by introducing herself and the California Walnut Board to the students and explaining the important role they play for all those involved in producing and processing walnuts. We then jumped into watching a wonderful video about Andersen and Sons as a company which gave the students a good overview of what to expect as Karen Gundersen and Kristin Coley took us on a LIVE tour of the HUGE and expanding facility in Vina, CA. Students were able to see everything from walnuts being cracked and sorted, to grading, and finally to the packing line where local walnuts were going into retail packages with large retail names on them! So cool!!
Along the way, we discussed the many career opportunities that Andersen and Sons offers. Many of which require only a high school diploma, however if students have an interest in exploring high education they learned about careers that needed a certificate as well as those which need a 4 year degree to hold. To wrap up the day, Karen did a fun and interactive walnut variety identification activity using the hands on kits each student had received prior to the field day. Who knew there were so many different varieties of walnuts?! Students then were encouraged to use the guide they were given to crack and sort the in shell walnuts they received to see what kind of work goes into deciding what a farmer get paid for his walnuts.
We couldn’t be more thankful for partners like Andersen and Sons and the support we get from the Walnut Board to help educate our youth on the importance of not only where our food comes from, but how much work goes into getting it from the orchard to your trail mix or granola.
If you would like to join in on this field day…click HERE!
FARMS Advanced & Leadership Program | Kern County | Tuesday, March 23rd
Field Day Partner:
Field Day Host Debbie Wise-Owner
Maddie Herndon-Ranch Manager
Summary of the Day: On Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021, the Kern County FARMS Advanced and Leadership Program from McFarland High School had a Regional Zoom field day with Redhouse Beef. Redhouse Beef is located in Bakersfield, CA and they operate a grass-fed beef operation. Their main goal is to serve high quality meat straight from the pasture to your table. Our video tour included walking around the ranch seeing the facilities where the cattle are raised on and how they are fed properly. We ran through the process of tagging, weighing and treating the cattle as they come through the chute and how to correctly do so. Redhouse also has grass fed chickens where they sell their eggs and they also have separate chickens that are meat hens and will be sold as grass fed. They like to keep stress free environment for the herd and the flock to help them maintain the best. If you have not tried any products from Redhouse you must! We are so thankful for their time and hope to go back in person next year!