Kid-friendly UCSC Harvest Festival boasts organic food, farm tours, live music

Scene from a previous Harvest Festival

Scene from a previous Harvest Festival

The 19th annual UCSC Harvest Festival, held at the campus’ 30-acre organic farm on Sunday, Sept 29 from 11a.m.-5 p.m., is fun for the whole family. It features live music—from bluegrass to reggae—plus organic food, kids’ crafts, rides, tours, produce and pumpkin sales, and an apple pie contest.

Admission varies between free and $5; general public adult admission is $5 but it’s free for UCSC students with ID, kids 12 and under, and members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden.

Visitors of all ages are invited to sample more than two dozen apple varieties, savor roasted peppers, enter the pie baking contest, try their hand at pressing cider, scale the climbing wall, and enjoy locally sourced, tasty treats. Also available: workshops on making salsa, growing and using peppers, saving seeds, creating popcorn treats, and understanding permaculture design, along with farm tours and an herb walk through the garden. Plus, there will be campus and community group information tables.

The event is co-sponsored by the UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), UCSC’s Food Systems Working Group, UCSC’s Measure 43 (Sustainable Health & Wellness), and the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden. People Power is providing free valet parking for bicycles.

For those unfamiliar with CASFS, its research and education programs include the UCSC Farm, the Alan Chadwick Garden, and the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. The apprenticeship program is a 6-month, full-time organic training program. Upwards of 1,300 people have graduated from the apprenticeship.

For more info, visit the CASFS web site and/or see schedule below. Free parking will be available at the Campus Facilities and Barn Theater parking lots, and a free shuttle will be running.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

2013 Harvest Festival Schedule


Feed Me Jack 11a.m. – noon

The Downbeets 12:15 – 1:30p.m.

Live Elk   1:45 – 2:45p.m.

Kinetic Poetics   3 – 3:25p.m.

Ancestree Reggae 3:30 – 5p.m.

Activities, Tours, Workshops

Apple and Pepper Variety Tasting                                         11:30 – 4:00
Apple Pie Contest Bake-Off (entry deadline)                          12:30
Salsa It Up!                                                                                     12:00 – 1:00
Crystal Owings, Food Systems Working Group
Guided Tours of the UCSC Farm                                                12:30 & 4 pm
Popcorn Palooza                                                                            1:15 – 2:15
Austin Lewis, Food Systems Working Group
Herb Talk & Walk through the Garden                                         2:00 – 3:00
Darren Huckle, Western/Chinese herbalist & licensed acupuncturist
Introduction to Permaculture Design                                            3:00 – 3:45
David Shaw, UCSC Common Ground Center
Pepper Talk: Varieties and How to Use Them                            3:30 – 4:00
Orin Martin, manager of the Alan Chadwick Garden
Seed Saving and Cleaning Workshop                                        4:00 – 5:00
Cole Thomas and Connor Spears, Demeter Seed Project

Official Rules for the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden Apple Pie Contest

Pie entries accepted 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Official judging begins at 12:45 p.m.

Winners will be announced at between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

1. The Friends of Farm and Garden Apple Pie Bake-Off is a nonprofessional baking competition open to Harvest Festival attendees (entry to the Harvest Festival is $5; free admission for UCSC students, Friends of the Farm & Garden members and for children 12 and under).

2. Contestants are responsible for submitting a written (preferably typed) recipe with their pie.

3. Contestants are responsible for supplying all ingredients and baking the pie prior to bringing it to the contest.

4. All entries in this contest must be homemade.

5. A representative of the Friends of the Farm & Garden will assign each contestant a number. Contestants should verify that the number on the bottom of their container is the same number assigned by the representative.

6. Contestants’ entries are judged on taste, presentation, and creativity.

7. The decision of the judges shall be final. Pie not consumed during judging will be returned to the contestant.

All pies must be entered by 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 29, at the Fall Harvest Festival, UCSC Farm. For questions or additional copies of the rules, call (831) 459-3240 or e-mail