A visit with Gaytan Family Farm- Chickens and Strawberries

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Edelmira is a strong “Badass Latina Farmer”. Always a lady, today she greets us with her manicured hot pink nails, rhinestone cap, and patent leather farm boots. She successfully runs and manages Gaytan Family Farm with confidence and pride. She has a lot to be proud of, managing multiple farm locations from Miraloma all the way to Nipomo, and employing her family members, many of them women.

Knowing how animals are raised is a big consideration for folks buying eggs these days. Orange Home Grown wanted to see firsthand how the 300 Gaytan Rhode Island Reds live. Be assured, these finely feathered reds live in a quiet area outside in the fresh air, enjoy ample space and shady or sunny places to nap or to take a dirt bath. A couple of colorful towering roosters keep the numerous hens in line, while they cluck about and lay their eggs. The abundance of farm scraps such as carrot tops, kale, and other greens, in addition to supplemental feed of oyster shells, grit, and scratch compose their healthy diet. Grape seeds are given once a year to help boost their egg yolks golden color. The Gaytan’s use the chicken manure for fertilizer on the farm, thus creating a closed loop system.

Gaytan Family Farm recently renovated an adorable eye catching farm stand adjacent to their land located at Chino and Cypress Avenues in Mira Loma. Rows and rows of strawberries interplanted with sweet red onion in the middle dominate the 5 acre property. They are also growing beets, carrots, and radishes on this fertile land surrounded by new housing development. We learned that Gaytan strawberries are grown without pesticides or herbicides, which is good for people, the planet and their pickers (which are mostly family members). This field can produce 200-250 flats of strawberries per day!

Strawberries are a California springtime staple, but a controversial crop. Conventionally grown strawberries made the top of the 2016 Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list (see http://www.ewg.org/release/ewg-s-2016-dirty-dozen-list-pesticides-produce-strawberries-most-contaminated-apples-drop), so strawberries grown without pesticides and fungicides are a must!

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