YOLO COUNTY NEWS
A child hands a freshly picked strawberry to farm guide Anne Carollo during a tour at Capay Organic. In celebration of its 35th anniversary, the farm will be open for free to the public on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Farm tour activities include a question-and-answer session with farmer Thaddeus Barsotti, tractor tram tours of the farm, a fig harvest, children’s art activities and live music from the West Nile Ramblers. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and spend the day. Bill Goidell/Courtesy photo

Agriculture + Environment

Capay Organic celebrates 35 years with farm tour

By July 30, 2011

To celebrate its 35th anniversary, Capay Organic invites the public to a free farm tour and fig harvest on Saturday, Aug. 13.

“I’m certain that our parents would have never imagined in 1976 when they started our farm on 20 acres of thistle weed that our business would grow to feed thousands of families throughout California,” said Noah Barnes, co-owner of Farm Fresh to You and Capay Organic, who owns the company with his two brothers, Thaddeus and Freeman.

Farm Fresh to You may well be the country’s largest community supported agriculture delivery service. Farm Fresh to You delivers to 30,000 monthly customers all over Northern California and in Los Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California. It is also one of the largest producers of organic, heirloom tomatoes in the country as well.

The company’s Capay Organic brand sells the farm’s organic produce at 27 farmers markets in California in addition to providing fresh, organic produce to Northern California’s finest restaurants and grocery stores.

In celebration of its 35th anniversary, the farm will be open for free to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 13. Farm tour activities include a question-and-answer session with farmer Thaddeus Barsotti, tractor-pulled tram tours of the farm, a fig harvest, children’s art activities and live music from the West Nile Ramblers. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and spend the day. For more information on the free farm tour, visit the company’s website at www.farmfreshtoyou.com and click on the “Events” link.

The Capay Organic Farm was founded in 1976 by the current owners’ parents Kathleen Barsotti and Martin Barnes in the early stages of the organic foods movement. Brothers Noah Barnes, Thaddeus Barsotti and Freeman Barsotti run the day-to-day operations of Capay Organic and Farm Fresh to You, the company’s organic produce delivery service.

“Our mother started Farm Fresh to You (in 1992) as a way to connect consumers with the farm that grew their food. That is still our company’s goal today — giving people a connection to their food system and a vested interest in local, sustainable agriculture,” Noah Barnes said.

The Capay Valley’s unique micro-climate and soil type creates an ideal farming environment for the farm’s wide array of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

In addition to having the soil and climate required to grow top-quality crops, the varieties of each crop grown on the farm are carefully selected to assure that the farm always has the best tasting product on the market. The farm also prides itself on regularly introducing new crops to the marketplace. Cherry tomatoes, sweet pea flowers, ambrosia melons and heirloom tomatoes are just a few of the crops pioneered at the farm over the past 35 years.

“Our farming practices go far beyond those required to be certified organic,” said farmer/co-owner Thaddeus Barsotti. “This is the land that nourished me as a child, and our goal is to ensure that it will sustainably nourish every generation’s children. We do this by creating a healthy environment in which our crops can naturally thrive. Cover crops, compost and crop rotations keep our soils healthy. Hedge rows and wild areas care for the farm’s beneficial insects and animals.”

In 2007, the company began farming in the Imperial Valley in Southern California to expand its produce line during Capay Valley’s cold winter months. The new farming region has allowed the farm to extend the season of the heirloom and traditional crops it produces while ensuring that they are being produced by a trusted farm. This expansion and partnerships with other farms has allowed Farm Fresh to You to provide service to the Los Angeles area and has expanded the produce availability to all Farm Fresh to You customers.

In addition to its Farm Fresh to You home and office produce delivery service, the company also sells produce at several year-round farmers markets, partners with produce wholesalers, grocers and Bay Area restaurants, and runs a retail store in San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

For more information about the farm, visit www.capayorganic.com.

For more information about the produce delivery service, visit www.farmfreshtoyou.com.

For a slideshow of photos from the farm’s early days, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/farmfreshtoyou/sets/72157626050956185.

Special to The Enterprise

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