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November 30, 2021

Lakeside Organic Gardens celebrates 25 years

When Dick Peixoto decided in 1996 to convert his 55-acre farm in Watsonville to an organic production, he wasn’t sure if he’d made the right decision.  Peixoto had been farming conventionally for years, and back then, organic produce was a specialty—something only smaller farms tended...

Santa Cruz’s Charlie Hong Kong serves lunch to local farmworkers

lakeside lunch
WATSONVILLE—About two dozen farmworkers settled in on picnic tables at a Lakeside Organic Gardens field Wednesday for a fresh, healthy lunch featuring the very crops they harvest.  The meal was prepared by Charlie Hong Kong, a Santa Cruz Asian fusion restaurant that was Lakeside’s first...

USDA announces increase to CalFresh benefits

WATSONVILLE—Starting on Oct. 1, anyone receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known in California as CalFresh, will see a slight increase to the amount they receive each month. The changes to the federal Thrifty Food Plan comes thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture...

Organization aims to integrate beneficial songbirds on farms

WATSONVILLE—For more than 20 years, Watsonville-based organization Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) has aimed to find a sustainable balance between conservation and agriculture. Established by a like-minded group of wildland proponents and ecological farming advocates, WFA’s primary goal is to bring nature back into the industry. “As...

Strawberry Commission reports healthy fruit, high demand

According to the California Strawberry Commission, about 90% of all strawberries in the U.S. are grown in California. The fruit thrives in the state, due to its need for year-round moderate weather, which allows its roots to grow strong and stable.  On the Central Coast, consistent...

Key environmental legislation passes assembly

CALIFORNIA—As California recovers from a historic heatwave, the State Assembly last week passed three bills by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) to help fight the climate crisis, incentivize sustainable agriculture, and advance environmental justice for all.  “California has ambitious environmental goals, and the advancement of my...

Local water agency works toward long-term drought solutions

  In 1983, a group of local farmers looking for ways to manage the Pajaro Valley’s groundwater basin formed the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (PVWMA). A year later, the agency was officially recognized by the state legislature, who tasked them to stop groundwater overdraft...

Orchard offers u-pick roses, outdoor fun

There is now a new way to assemble your own bouquet of roses, thanks to a pick-your-own rose venue at Birdsong Orchards in Watsonville. Owner Nadine Schaeffer said she is growing dozens of varieties of roses on her 8-acre parcel where she also tends to...

Sambrailo sees major growth in sustainable packaging line

WATSONVILLE—When Santa Cruz-based natural foods store Staff of Life opened its second location in Watsonville in March, employees from Sambrailo were pleased to see their products featured front and center. Fresh, organic vegetables and fruit in the store’s produce aisle were nestled inside Sambrailo’s sustainable...

Aptos farm wins Best of Show at regional olive oil competition

Patrick and Teresa Royan were living in Los Gatos when they first discovered Pleasant Valley, a rural area in Aptos permeated with rolling hills, orchards, vineyards and pastures. The couple had been looking for a place to settle relatively close to the beach yet...
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Local runners finish strong at CIF State Championships | HS cross...

St. Francis High senior Julian Vargas and a group of other local high school runners put on a strong performance at the 34th CIF...