The hours have been flying by for Open Farm Tours founder Penny Ellis.
She’s been working hard to make the sixth-annual Farm Tour weekend a reality. This year, Ellis has added an extra day to the festivities, which run Saturday, Oct. 12, to Sunday, Oct. 13. Ellis has also added two new farms, bringing the total to 14 farms offering free tours.
Why did you expand the tours to two days?
PENNY ELLIS: There were so many people last year who said, ‘We wanted to visit more farms. We couldn’t visit all of them in one day, and we really wanted to stay over in Santa Cruz.’ I figured it would be really good for tourism to expand it to two days and give people more opportunity to visit more of the farms. And why not give it a try? On the other hand, it is more work, especially with the lunch—figuring out how much food for each day, where to keep it in between.
The lunch venue is Alladin Nursery. Tell me about that part.
Fired Up Fresh will be there. Linda Ortega, she has a wood-burning pizza oven that she brings. She’ll be using a lot of the farms’ ingredients. There’s a new vendor this year, Cuevas Express Food. They’ll be making tamales and tacos, chile rellenos. They’ve got a really nice menu.
Open Farm Tours has a buffet we’re doing this year. We always have the Corralitos meat market sausages. They donate a bunch to our event every year. … Beckmann’s Bakery’s going to be donating a bunch of pies for dessert. Marianne’s ice cream will donate a bunch of ice cream to go with the pies. We’re making strawberry kabobs.
Hold on. Strawberry kabobs?
It’s gonna be pound cake and strawberry on a stick, and then I’m making an orange icing to drizzle over it. It’s really good.
Open Farm Tours happen Saturday, Oct. 12, and Sunday, Oct. 13, from 10am-4pm. Lunch will run noon-4pm both days at Alladin Nursery in Watsonville. openfarmtours.com.