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January 16, 2022

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...

Watsonville Airport’s organic farm an ‘uncut diamond’

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WATSONVILLE—On March 30, the Watsonville Municipal Airport (KWVI) announced it had renewed a two-year lease with Watsonville-based Urban Organics, aiming to bring fresh produce to the community as the sole organic farm within city limits. At the southernmost tip of airport property, just over the...

Organic produce sales up 9%, tops $2B for the quarter

Total organic fresh produce sales for the first quarter of 2021 saw a continuation of last year’s growth, increasing by 9.3% from the same period in 2020 and topping $2.2 billion for the quarter, according to the Q1 2021 Organic Produce Performance Report released...

Bill bolstering wildfire protections for farmworkers advances

SACRAMENTO—A bill that would increase protections for California’s farmworkers during hazardous smoky conditions created by seasonal wildfires is making its way through the state legislature. Assembly Bill 73, also known as the Farmworker Wildfire Smoke Protections Act, recently passed the Assembly Committee on Labor and...

New bill would provide $500M to agricultural fairs

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SACRAMENTO—Earlier this month, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley), Representatives Billy Long (R-MO), Mike Levin (D-CA), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced bipartisan legislation aiming to help preserve agricultural fairs across the country and offset the devastating financial losses they have experienced due to Covid-19. The Agricultural...

Watsonville farm, biotech company receives major grant from USDA

Since 2009, Blume Industries (BI) and Whiskey Hill Farms (WHF) have jointly operated a research and development incubator in Watsonville, aiming to find regenerative solutions for food, fuel and waste management. And now they will have the opportunity to expand their reach, sharing what they...

National Agriculture Day to be observed March 23

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Agriculture, like most industries across the U.S., has faced numerous challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic this past year. From worker safety to supply chain shortages, everyone from large corporations to small family farms have felt the effects.  Which is why this year’s National Agriculture Day...

Local nursery buzzing amidst pandemic, winter months

With most people staying close to home during the pandemic, looking for things to do and ways to stay safe, local nurseries have seen an uptick in customers. Stay-at-home orders have prompted many to find new hobbies—and gardening has been a popular choice. Sierra Azul...

California Pajarosa navigates a changing industry

Business at California Pajarosa Floral, one of Watsonville’s last remaining large flower growers, has altered drastically since the outbreak of Covid-19 last year. Already dealing with an evolving industry before the pandemic due to growth in offshore production, things came to a sudden halt at...
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Older adult programs shutter as Covid-19 cases rise

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—In early November 2021, Meals on Wheels’ (MOW) congregate meal sites reopened to older adults across Santa Cruz County for the first...