Kindergarteners from Valencia School search a corn field at Crystal Bay Farm for mini pumpkins. —Johanna Miller/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—Thick fog rolled in and blanketed Crystal Bay Farm Wednesday morning, but the fields of the farm were teeming with life.

A group of kindergarteners from Valencia Elementary School in Aptos, along with parents and teacher Karen Richmond, were visiting the organic farm  just off San Andreas Road.

Children followed Crystal Bay Farm owner Lori Fiorovich into the farm’s strawberry field to pick and taste strawberries, and to a vegetable plot to pick and wash carrots. They met farm animals and learned about how the small farm is run.

“Anything that can get kids outdoors, into nature… it’s just great,” Richmond said.

Kindergarteners from Valencia School line up to get their newly-harvested carrots washed by farmer Lori Fiorovich (far right) at Crystal Bay Farm on Wednesday. —Johanna Miller/The Pajaronian

At one point, Fiorovich asked the kids to help her out. A pumpkin fairy, she said, had swept into the farm recently and scattered her supply of mini pumpkins into her cornfield. 

Children were let loose into the field, searching through the tall rows to find as many of the pumpkins as they could, depositing their finds into a red wagon.

“Lori is fantastic with the kids,” said Richmond. “She makes everything so special.”

Fiorovich said Valencia School is the first of thirteen local schools that will visit the farm in the next couple of weeks. In addition, the pumpkin patch is now open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. until Oct. 31.

Crystal Bay Farm is located at 40 Zils Rd., Watsonville. For information, visit

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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