Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Shares a Perspective on the Effects of the Drought

The California drought has taken a toll on cities and individuals and especially those in farming.  Farmers with the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association share their perspective on the long-lasting drought.

Greg Mitchell with Blue Ridge Honey reports that even with a substantial amount of rain this past season, certain types of sage, buckwheat and chaparral habitats utilized in this production have a way to go before getting back to normal.  “Without a full recovery from the drought, our honey operation is stressed as less rain mean less flowering,” stated Greg Mitchell.  “Adequate rain means our bees are less susceptible to malnutrition and disease and have more energy to do their work, which is to pollinate and bring honey,” he continued.

According to Mitchell, the drought has caused for a smaller production of honey, especially in the wilderness areas where the bees are hosted.  “It will take several average or even above average rainfall years in a row to usher back in normal local plant growth again,” added Mitchell.  Currently, Blue Ridge Honey offers five local floral varieties of honey – Sage Blossom, Wildflower, Raspberry Blossom, Orange Blossom and Avocado Blossom.  Blue Ridge Honey can be found at the Wednesday Farmers’ Market at Pacific View Mall in Ventura, and on Saturday mornings at the Downtown Ventura Farmers’ Market.

The drought has also taken a toll on Mizuno Farms, who had to alter their irrigation system from flood irrigation to drip irrigation.  In addition, the drought has caused food prices to increase with certain crops now limited.   “The growing season has definitely changed due to the drought,” stated Gregory Mizuno.  “To help us with quality of water for our trees, we have utilized different nutrients to improve the water and ensure high quality for our shoppers,” he continued.  “We are now constantly looking for new technology to further improve our water system,” he added.  Mizuno Farms produces flavorful apples in addition to blackberries and a vast variety of tree fruit.  Mizuno Farms participates in the Saturday morning Downtown Ventura Farmers’ Market and on Sundays at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.

At Martian Ranch & Vineyard, a farm that produces wine grapes, the owners found that the drought worked to their advantage.  “The water stressed production actually worked to our advantage as it produced top quality grapes this year,” stated Nan Helgeland, owner.    Based in Los Alamos, Martian Ranch & Vineyard is name after Helgeland’s son’s – a blend of Martin & Ian.  Now in its 10th year of production, the farm utilizes bio-dynamic farm practices and is demeter certified.  Martian Ranch & Vineyard offer ten different varieties of wine and can be found at the Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market held on Thursday afternoons at the Oaks Shopping Center.

For more information on the drought situation affecting farmers or on the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association, call 805-529-6266, or visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets — Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.  The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m.  Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. 


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