Farm Store’s annual Strawberry Festival draws crowds

By Matthew Saunders

Cal Poly Pomona’s Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch had a berry good time celebrating the peak of California’s strawberry season at the Tractor and Car Show & Strawberry Festival.

Families from all over Southern California gathered at the Farm Store on Saturday to attend the free event that featured freshly picked strawberries, classic cars, tractors rides, a petting zoo and horseback riding. The Farm Store, located across from the University Village, sells CPP-grown fruits and vegetables and CPP-raised meat products to the local community.

“The Strawberry Festival is a fun family day,” says Farm Store event coordinator Brenda Orozco. “This is our ninth year putting on the festival, and the festival been successful over the years.”

The freshly grown strawberries were the most popular item at the event. The Farm Store had to close the strawberry field as the field had run out of strawberries early in the afternoon. Fortunately, the Farm Store had cartons of pre-picked strawberries for sale, so participants could still buy the fruit throughout the day.

“Working the Strawberry Festival and for the Farm Store in general has been lots of fun,” says second-year political science student Hannah Blankenship. “It definitely was not fun when I had to turn away children and their families when the strawberry field ran out of berries, but I love every thing else about my job. I love the atmosphere of the festival. It’s very busy. My coworkers are amazing, and I get happy when I see all the children get excited.”

Specialty food company Stonewall Kitchen also offered free crackers and samples of different berry jams and preservatives.

The festival, according to the Farm Store’s website, sold various berries along with strawberries during previous years. There were other forms of fresh produce families could choose from this year, including kale, cauliflower and onions.

The Farm Store had some of its workers out in the field with families to assist in choosing the right vegetables as well as slicing vegetables if desired.

“Working for the Farm Store makes me happy,” says third-year graphic design student Nathen Ruiz. “Art is definitely my passion, but working on a ranch in Simi Valley made me really admire and appreciate what the Farm Store does. I personally felt this year was slower for me than it was last year, but that is why I like working for the Farm Store. Everything is always changing, and it’s always busy.”

The insect exhibit, located near the petting zoo, also made for an interesting attraction to the festival. Both children and adults observed the creatures.

Classic car owners also came to the Farm Store to showcase their modified and renovated vehicles. Vehicles from the 1950s to the present day graced the pavement of the Farm Store. Some cars had all of their original parts, while others were modified to be fast racing machines.

“I owned my first Corvette at the age of 17,” says Leland McCoy, owner of a white 1960 Chevrolet Corvette. “I have owned four Corvettes over the years, and this will be the last one I own.”

McCoy was particularly proud of his vehicle.

“The Corvette that I currently own and restored was part of a limited production line, and my car was the last to be made in that series,” said McCoy. “I looked for this Corvette for over two years and found a man who was selling it in 2002. The car was sitting in his garage, so I bought it from him and spent the next five years restoring it piece by piece. It was like building a new car from scratch but more expensive than actually doing so.”

In addition to the classic cars in attendance, there were also tractors of various types. There were also many engines and water pumps from the early 1900s on display to show attendants how much technology has progressed.

The Farm Store’s next big event will be the annual Pumpkin Festival in October.

Strawberry Festival

Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post

Strawberry Festival

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