Thursday, April 7, 2016

F is for Family Farms

F is for Family FarmsSan Luis Obispo County is an agricultural community. Much of our local economy in the North County areas of Paso Robles and Templeton is based on wine and tourism. Although the wineries get most of the publicity, I prefer visiting the more family oriented farms -- small family owned farms such as Jack Creek Farms and Finley Family Farm, which is now Finley Family Nursery. I guess the old commercials for Finley Family Farms I used to hear on the radio were twisting too many announcers' tongues. It's also true that that the Finleys are now known for selling plants rather than crops. F is for Family Farms

The photo on the right is an emu who lived with chickens and other fowl at Finley Family Nursery when I took the picture in 2011. 

The Finley Family Nursery's website I linked to above will tell you how to get there. You will know you have found the right place when you see this reminder to drive carefully on these rural roads.


F is for Family Farms
The Car that Crashed Beside Finley Family Nursery, © B. Radisavljevic

My husband and I visited the nursery shortly after we moved here to buy some fruit trees. They had a wide variety. You can see it on their website. On my last visit, I was more interested in watching the animals. Besides the emu, they had goats, chickens and maybe some others I've forgotten. I don't know if they are still there.

Almost all the farms I have visited have had chickens, goats, and other animals to help produce manure. I used to love watching the goats at Fat Cat Farm when it was still in business. You can also see goats at Jack Creek Farms. They have Nubian goats. They also have chickens, turkeys, and other animals.

F is for Family Farms
Nubian Goats at Jack Creek Farms, © B. Radisavljevic


They also have cats -- lots of cats. I guess farms need working cats. I think they must do the work on the night shift. When I visit, they are usually resting. They have at least seven cats, and probably more. This is one of them.

F is for Family Farms
Farm Cat Asleep on the Job at Jack Creek Farms,  © B. Radisavljevic


The cat above is sleeping in the area next to the buildings where the farm store is located. It has an Old West theme, and it's always fun to see the old Model T pickup truck (see collage at end of post) and the vintage farm machinery. There's also plenty to keep the kids busy. A large wooden train is there year-round, and there are planned activities seasonally. These are announced on the Jack Creek Farms Facebook page (linked to above), along with information about what's in season and for sale. I think this is an ideal rest stop for families traveling to the coast on Highway 46 West from Highway 101. Everyone can stretch their legs and grab a snack -- maybe fruit or one of the many varieties of farm-made fudge.

F is for Family Farms
Entrance to Jack Creek Farms,  © B. Radisavljevic


This is a farm, but the drought seems to have affected what crops are grown now. They used to  have a superb squash and pumpkin display in the fall with more varieties than I've seen anywhere else,  but I didn't see anything in the squash family last year.  I took this next photo in 2013. They sometimes have U-Pick days for crops in season. I picked heirloom tomatoes here several times.


F is for Family Farms
Rows of Heirloom Tomatoes and Corn at Jack Creek Farms,  © B. Radisavljevic


I've also picked apples there. They still have apple trees. Most of the apple trees are in orchards behind the buildings.

F is for Family Farms
Apple Tree at Jack Creek Farms,  © B. Radisavljevic


One of the most interesting events I've attended at Jack Creek Farms was a Threshing Bee in 2013 when they were still growing and harvesting wheat. The drought put a stop to the wheat crops after that, at least temporarily. I don't know if they have resumed. But you can see what I saw at the Threshing Bee in this previous post. It includes photos of classic cars and a video of the threshing machines at work.

One of the best things about these small local farms that let the public look in on them is that children can learn where their food comes from and how it is grown. That's another reason I recommend that families stop here on the way to the coast. There is always something interesting for children (and their parents) to see and something delicious for sale that they can taste.

A growing number of families are tired of the urban rat race and are buying acreage for homesteading or a small family farm or vineyard. If you would like to find out more about what's involved, consider getting one of these books on family farming or homesteading skills for self sufficiency . I own and highly recommend this one.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living has everything you need to know about rural self sufficient living. Everything. I have one of the earliest editions. I never actually had the opportunity to raise even chickens or goats, but this book tells you how to raise just about any animal you would want on your small farm. It also tells you how to produce and preserve your food once you grow it. That's just a taste of what's in the book. Just click the photo to get more information and reviews on Amazon. The author has lived what she has written.



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F is for Family Farms
© B. Radisavljevic


This is my sixth post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is Things You Can See or Experience in North San Luis Obispo County. Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Acorn
B is for Barney Schwartz Park
C is for Cattle in Wine Country
D is for Dark Star Cellars
E is for Electric Wires