Farmers' Markets and Farm Fresh Produce Around Ventura County

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Looking for fresh produce in Ventura County? "Lettuce" help you! There are over a dozen farmers' markets in and around Ventura County each week, not to mention another dozen or so stores and Community Supported Agriculture programs that sell organic produce.

Times, dates and places subject to change. Let us know of any updates!

FARMERS' MARKETS (In "day of the week" order)

VENTURA: Wednesdays 9 am to 1 pm at Pacific View Mall in front of Red Robin. Call 805.529.6266. vccfarmersmarkets.com/ventura

OXNARD: Thursdays 9 am to 2 pm at Plaza Park, 5th and C Streets. Call 805.247.0197. www.oxnardfarmersmarket.com

THOUSAND OAKS: Thursdays NOON to 5 pm (previously 1:30-6PM) at the The Oaks Mall east parking lot. Produce, flowers, food and more! vccfarmersmarkets.com/thousand-oaks 

VENTURA: Thursdays 3 pm to 7 pm at Ventura Community Park, 901 South Kimball Road Visit www.facebook.com/EastandWestVenturaFarmersMarket for more information. Open rain or shine.

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SIMI VALLEY: Fridays 11 am to 3:30 pm at Simi Valley Civic Center Plaza, 2757 Tapo Canyon Rd., next to TGI Friday's. www.coastalpacific.info/simi_valley.php or 805.643.6458 

VENTURA: Saturdays 8:30 am to noon at corner of Palm and Santa Clara Streets. Call 805.529.6266 or visit vccfarmersmarkets.com/ventura

CAMARILLO: Saturdays 8 am to noon 2220 Ventura Boulevard camarillofarmersmarket.com. Proceeds benefit Camarillo Hospice. Call 805.386.3584.

CALABASAS: Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm in Old Town Calabasas on Calabasas Road west of El Canon Avenue (across from Sagebrush Cantina). Call 818.591.8161.

VENTURA: Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road is the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace. Fresh produce, nursery plants, flowers and more offered. www.venturacollege.edu/departments/administrative/foundation/marketplace

WESTLAKE VILLAGE: Sundays 10 am to 2 pm at 2797 Agoura Road (Village Glen). Call 818.591.8161. www.facebook.com/WestlakeVillageFM

OJAI: Sundays 9 am to 1 pm at 300 E. Matilija Street year-round, rain or shine. Produce, flowers and gourmet food. Call 805.698.5555. www.ojaicertifiedfarmersmarket.com.

OXNARD/CHANNEL ISLANDS HARBORSundays 10 am to 2 pm at 2805 South Harbor Boulevard year-round. Call 805.643.6458.

MALIBU: Sundays 10 am to 3 pm at Malibu Library Parking Lot, 23555 Civic Center Way. www.malibufarmersmarket.net

LOCAL STORES WITH FRESH PRODUCE:

Underwood Family Farms Market at 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark has farm fresh produce, pickled items, honey, nuts, juices, dried beans, farm fresh eggs and fresh cut flowers. Moorpark location is usually closed from late December through February. Open 9am to 6pm March to November and weekends in December (5pm after DST). Call 805.529.3690.

Underwood Family Farms Market at 5696 E. Los Angeles Avenue in Somis is open every day year-round 9am to 6pm (5pm after DST) with the exception of some holidays. Call 805.386.4660.

Underwood Family Farms Market in Moorpark.

Underwood Family Farms Market in Moorpark.

McGrath Family Farm at 505 North Wood Road, Camarillo is open March through December 9am to pm and offers organic fruits, flowers and vegetables.  Freeway convenient off the Central Avenue offramp of the 101. Call 805.983.0333.

Lassen's Natural Foods, with locations in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura and Simi Valley, has offered fresh produce since 1971.

Sprouts Farmers Market sells local farm fresh produce as well as a full range of other grocery items, with local area locations at:

Whole Foods Market organic fresh produce and a full range of grocery items, with local locations in Thousand Oaks (740 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks) 805.777.4730 and Oxnard at The Collection (650 Town Center Drive) 805.751.4300

Green Acres Farm Market (2918 Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley) opened in 1968 and offers farm fresh produce, meat, fine wines and gourmet groceries. Call 805.526.1312.

A & F Country Market is at 4550 Olivas Park Drive in Ventura. From Thousand Oaks, take Victoria offramp from 101 south to Olivas Park and make a right. Store is on your left. Nice stop on your way to/from the Olivas Adobe and Ventura Harbor Village. 805.644.5470.

The Berry Best stand at 3030 Dodge Road (at Pleasant Valley Road, just east of Rice Avenue) is strawberry, fruit and vegetable stand. Call 805.271.4490.

Francisco's Fruits is located at 1782 E. Telegraph Road in Fillmore. Fruits, nuts, snacks, and more. Great place to buy citrus! www.facebook.com/FranciscosFruit 805.524.4616

Lil Red Barn is located at 100 S. Victoria Avenue in Oxnard, with seasonable produce like strawberries, avocados, vegetables and more. 805.382.0799

CSA (COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE) AND LOCAL DELIVERY PROGRAMS

Local Harvest Delivery is based in Santa Barbara and delivers harvest boxes to homes as far as Ventura and Ojai.

Hello Harvest local delivery service has been serving Ventura County since 2010. Visit their site or call 805.551.3454 for more information.

The Abundant Table CSA offers pickup locations and home delivery throughout the area. csa.farmigo.com/join/jointhefarm

The Camarillo Health Care District has partnered with Food Share to distribute a variety of free produce items on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 11am to 1pm. Supplies are limited.

Farmers' Market Websites:

Farm Bureau of Ventura County: www.farmbureauvc.com/consumers.html

California-Grown Certified Farmers Markets: www.cafarmersmarkets.com

Ventura County Certified Farmers Markets: www.vccfarmersmarkets.com

Coastal Pacific Farmers Markets: coastalpacificfm.com

Retired Farmers' Markets:

NEWBURY PARK: Fridays 2pm to 7pm (The Village at Dos Vientos Ranch). www.facebook.com/goldenstatecertifiedfm Announced on 12/9/13 that market is closed.

SIMI VALLEY: The Simi Valley Town Center Market was discontinued effective 11/26/14 after running for a year and a half.

AGOURA HILLS: Sundays 9 am to 2 pm at 5835 Kanan Road (Agoura's Famous Deli parking lot) closed 6/28/15.

CAMARILLO: Wednesdays 3-7pm Pleasant Valley Certified Farmers' Market at the Camarillo Community Center parking lot closed 9/30/15.

NEWBURY PARK: Saturdays 9 am to 2 pm at the Newbury Park Library parking lot (Borchard Road and Michael Drive)  www.facebook.com/newburyparkfarmersmarket is closed Feb 2017

OXNARD: Thursdays 4 pm to 8 pm at The Collection at RiverPark thecollectionrp.com/connect/news/detail/133/farmers-market-thursdays

Would You Like Slides with That? Fast Food Places in Ventura County with Play Areas!

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Sometimes it's fun to take the kids out where you know they'll be able to burn off some steam after their chicken nuggets and fries. Mind you, my kids much prefer going to a park to play, but sometimes it’s nice to eat and play at these (mostly) indoor play areas.

Here are places to eat that have play areas.  Know of other places?  Well then, give me the scoop (the news, not the fries).

McDonalds Locations with Play Areas

Carl's Jr Locations with Play Areas

Chick-fil-A Locations with Play Areas

Other Places with Play Areas

Fruit, Vegetable and Other Food, Beer and Wine Festivals In and Around Ventura County

According to the California Department of Food & Agriculture, California has over 80,000 farms and ranches and in 2010 accounted for over 16% of the nation's national receipts for crops. The state produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables! Top commodities in the state include produce and nuts such as grapes, almonds, berries, lettuce, pistachios, tomatoes, walnuts, oranges, broccoli, carrots, avocados and celery.

Ventura County ranked 26th out of 58 California counties in geographic size but in 2010 ranked 7th overall in terms of agricultural output, producing over $1.5 billion worth of strawberries, celery, lemons, raspberries, avocados and other commodities.

All that produce grown in Ventura County (as well as Santa Barbara County) and the hard work that goes into it must explain why we have so many nearby food related festivals and celebrations year-round! Specific dates each year are posted in the Local Events and Events Calendar sections but here's a compilation for you to, ahem, digest. We also opted to include beer, wine and other long-standing festivals for your imbibing pleasure.

The Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks Chili Cook-Off is in the late April time frame each year. It is a charitable fundraiser that has taken place since 1977.

The California Strawberry Festival takes place in Oxnard on the 3rd weekend of May each year. This wildly popular event has been taking place since 1984.

The Soroptimist International of the Conejo hosts an annual "Margarita Mixoff" event in Thousand Oaks in the May time frame. 2018 was the 17th annual event. 

The Ojai Wine Festival takes place in the June time frame at Lake Casitas has been around since 1987. They say over 5,000 people attend the event! The 33rd annual event takes place in June 2019.

The Knights of Columbus of Simi Valley has been hosting an Annual Chili Cook-Off since about 1988. The event currently takes place in the June time frame.

The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival benefits Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and has been running since 1994. Currently takes place in early June.

The Calabasas, Malibu Wine & Food Festival occurs in June since 2007.

The Conejo Food & Wine Fest premiered in 2010 and as of 2014 takes place in Thousand Oaks in the June time frame.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has hosted the Santa Barbara Wine Festival in the June time frame each year since 1988.

The Oxnard Salsa Festival has taken place each summer (currently July) since 1994. The festival currently is free of charge.

Since 1988, the Meadowlark Service League has been hosting A Taste of Camarillo Wine & Food Festival. The event currently takes place in late July.

The California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara in July marks 2004 as its first year. They also are planning a Winter Wine Classic in the January time frame.

The California Beer Festival takes place in Ventura in the September time frame.

The Port of Hueneme Banana Festival took place for the first time in 2012 and its 7th annual event took place the last Saturday of September 2018.

The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival takes place in October. There is a small admission charge.

The California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria goes back to 1987 and claims to be the largest free festival on the west coast. It currently occurs in October.

The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival originated in 2001 and offers live lobster, crab, prawns, BBQ albacore, clam chowder, fish tacos, seafood gumbo and other prepared dishes in the October time frame.

The Santa Barbara Beer Festival takes place generally in the October time frame.

The California Lemon Festival also takes place in October in Goleta. Free admission. This one has been around since 1992.

The Oxnard Tamale Festival takes place in the early December time frame each year. It began in 2008.

The 805 Wine & Brew Festival is an annual event hosted by the Conejo Simi Moorpark Association of Realtors and takes place each May in Thousand Oaks.

List obviously subject to change! Contact us for additions. The list is meant to include recurring, annual events, not one-time events, that focus primarily on food and/or drinks.

Rolling Pin Donuts in Camarillo Captured in Oil Painting by Local Artist

Rolling Pin Donuts in Camarillo (Artist: Linda Dark)

Rolling Pin Donuts in Camarillo (Artist: Linda Dark)

Long-time Camarillo resident and artist Linda Dark enjoys capturing local scenes in oil paint. Rolling Pin Donuts has operated at 2153 Las Posas Road since 1992 and has quite a loyal following at this stand-alone location. Dark has lived in Camarillo since 1978 and recalls it was previously called Donna Lee Donuts.

Have a donut craving? Rolling Pin is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. You'll want to stop by for sure after checking out their creations at www.facebook.com/RollingPinCamarillo.

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Rolling Pin Donuts on Rainy Day (Artist: Linda Dark)

Rolling Pin Donuts on Rainy Day (Artist: Linda Dark)

Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Followers Share Their Favorite Desserts at Local Eateries

As part of a one day ticket drawing on the Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Page, we asked folks to tell us their favorite desserts at any restaurant in the Conejo Valley and surrounding areas. Boy oh boy did we get the best compilation of great sounding desserts EVER! 

We are going to share these comments with you but be sure to keep in mind, eat desserts only after finishing your dinner. To quote a Pink Floyd lyric "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!" ("Another Brick in the Wall" 1979)

And here they are, in no particular order:

  • Pastries from Champagne Bakery
  • Strawberry Shortcake at Boccali's in Ojai
  • Butter cake at Mastro's Steakhouse Thousand Oaks (mentioned 27 times)
  • Pizookie at BJ's Restaurant in Thousand Oaks (mentioned 44 times)
  • Cinnamon Puffs from Pizza Nosh in Agoura Hills
  • Creme Brulee at Aroha Restaurant in Westlake Village
  • Richie's Magic Bar at Pearl District (mentioned 2 times)
  • Warm peach cobbler at Lazy Dog Restaurant
  • Cheesecake Factory (mentioned 42 times - banana, Oreo, strawberry, chocolate fudge, key lime, tiramisu, Limoncello, banana cream, red velvet, Snickers, peanut butter, White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Linda's Fudge Cake, Dulce de Leche Caramel, Godiva, Peanut Butter)
  • Apple fritters at Best Donuts
  • Chocolate cake at Bandits' BBQ
  • Banana cream pudding in Mason jar at Public School 805
  • Carrot cake at Boney Mountain Tavern (mentioned 2 times)
  • White chocolate pretzel cheesecake at Lazy Dog Restaurant
  • Creme brulee or cobbler at Blue Stove in The Oaks Mall (mentioned 2 times)
  • Donuts and cupcakes at Karma Baker (mentioned 3 times)
  • Carmelized almond bowl with white chocolate laced chantilly cream and fresh berries at Mediterraneo in Westlake Village
  • Creme brulee at Lazy Dog Restaurant (mentioned 2 times)
  • Cheesecake with blueberries at Stonefire Grill 
  • Creme brulee or pecan pie at Mastro's
  • Cannoli at Roma Deli in Newbury Park (mentioned 2 times)
  • Blackberry crumble at Lure Fish House
  • Salted chocolate chip cookie at Urbane Cafe
  • Banana cream pie at Paul Martin's (mentioned 3 times)
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes (mentioned 4 times)
  • Fudge brownie sundae at Bandits BBQ
  • Key lime pie at Mastro's
  • Green tea ice cream at Kabuki
  • The Wonderbar at Pearl District (mentioned 2 times)
  • Apple strudel at Jeanette's Edelweiss in Newbury Park (mentioned 2 times)
  • Mountain High Mud Pie at Red Robin
  • Chocolate fondue at The Melting Pot (mentioned 7 times)
  • Ice cream sundae at Stacked
  • S'Mores at Holdren's in Newbury Park
  • Menchies Frozen Yogurt
  • Kona Pie at Islands
  • Butter cake with vanilla ice cream at California Pizza Kitchen (mentioned 3 times)
  • Fried cheesecake at Sutter's Mill in Simi Valley
  • Tiramisu at Marcello Ristorante in Thousand Oaks
  • Brownie ice cream sundae at Pickles Deli in Newbury Park
  • Brownie at Stonefire Grill (mentioned 3 times)
  • Bread pudding at Twenty88 in Camarillo
  • Donuts at Dunkin' Donuts
  • Deep fried ice cream at Cisco's
  • Chocolate Dome at PF Chang's
  • Caramel apples from Newberry Candies in Thousand Oaks
  • The gooey center of a Cinnabon
  • Black and white cookie at Brent's Deli (mentioned 2 times)
  • Chocolatine French Cafe
  • Salted caramel cheesecake at Blue Stove
  • The Melting Pot - any dessert
  • Sweet quinoa cake from Grabbagreen in Thousand Oaks
  • Cinnamon chips at Snapper Jack's Taco Shack in Camarillo
  • Ice cream at Lure Fish House
  • Dessert sampler at Holdren's in Newbury Park
  • Chocolate cake at Brent's Deli (mentioned 2 times)
  • Apple pie at Stella's in Newbury Park
  • Banana spring rolls at PF Chang's
  • Baklava at Mama's Hummus
  • Spotted dick at Crown and Anchor in Thousand Oaks
  • Pavlova at Aroha Cuisine
  • Shave It (mentioned 4 times)
  • Gelato at Urban Pizza
  • Banana pudding bread at Cafe Firenze in Moorpark
  • Carrot cake at Stonefire Grill (mentioned 6 times)
  • Shakes at In-N-Out Burger
  • Apple fritters at Rolling Pin Donuts in Camarillo
  • Little Calf Creamery in Thousand Oaks (mentioned 26 times)
  • McDonald's strawberry and cream pies
  • Molten chocolate cake at Lure Fish House
  • Lava cake at Chili's in Newbury Park (mentioned 2 times)
  • Macaroons from Lemonade
  • Ice cream at Rite Aid (mentioned 2 times)
  • Creme Brulee at Tuscany in Westlake Village (mentioned 2 times)
  • Cotton candy at Zin Bistro in Westlake Village
  • Fried ice cream at Yolanda's in Camarillo (mentioned 2 times)
  • Molten Chocolate Cake at Marmalade Cafe in Westlake Village
  • Salted caramel pudding from California Pizza Kitchen
  • Fruit cobbler at Lazy Dog Cafe
  • Chocolate mousse cake at Blue Stove (mentioned 2 times)
  • Eclairs at Brent's Deli
  • Carrot cake at Old New York Deli in Newbury Park
  • Mud Pie at Holdren's
  • Ice cream sandwiches at Stacked
  • Raised chocolate donut at Foster's Donuts
  • Nutella and Biscotti Semifreddo at Cafe Firenze
  • Frozen yogurt at Tutti Frutti
  • Nutella cheesecake at Lemonade in Westlake Village
  • Chocolate chip brownie sundae at Lazy Dog Cafe (mentioned 2 times)
  • Chocolate cake at Paul Martin's
  • Chocolate souffle at Mastro's
  • Berry cobbler at Lure Fish House
  • Chocolate lasagna at Olive Garden
  • Brownie sundae from Sunset Terrace
  • Florentine art dessert at Mediterraneo
  • Churros (Nutella filled) at Sabor (mentioned 2 times)
  • Baskin Robbins (mentioned 10 times)
  • Cannoli at Italia Deli & Bakery
  • Baklava at Baba's Kitchen
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes (mentioned 14 times)
  • Black Forest Cake at Paul Martin's
  • Strawberry cake at Jeannette's Edelweiss
  • Sticky rice at Sawadee Thai in Camarillo
  • Neapolitan Shake from In N Out Burger
  • Pastries and tiramisu at Al Mulino Eataliano
  • Hot fudge sundae at McDonald's
  • Sticky coconut rice and mango at Bangkok Avenue
  • Strawberry shortcake at Country Harvest in Newbury Park
  • Pizza cookie at Topper's Pizza
  • Peruvian cookies at Mouthful Eatery
  • Baklava at Mediterranean Pita Grill
  • Flan at Don Cucos
  • Fruit tart at Viktor Benes
  • Butter cake at Lazy Dog Cafe
  • Ras Malai and Gulab Jamun at Anarbagh in Westlake Village
  • Cold Stone Creamery (mentioned 3 times)
  • Wild Cherry Yogurt
  • Carrera's Bakery (mentioned 15 times for items like triolgia, fritelle, gelato, cannoli)
  • Tifa Gelato (mentioned 6 times)
  • Sweet Arlene's (mentioned 6 times)

Sweeten Your Day with a Visit to Bennett's Honey Tasting Room in Fillmore

We were in the Santa Clarita area ready to head back home to the Conejo Valley, when I decided, how about if we take Highway 126 for once. So we did.

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It was a leisurely drive on a late Sunday morning, when we came across a sign that caught my interest.

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After passing the sign, I asked my son if he would like to do some honey tasting, to which he replied, "SURE!" So we turned back!

Bennett's Honey Tasting Room is located just north of Highway 126 at 3176 Honey Lane in Fillmore. It feels really off the beaten path, but is just 5 miles east of central Fillmore.

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There's a small parking lot in front of the retail store. We walked up the steps, opened the door, and found ourselves in a small, one room shop, where we were greeted by smiling staff and stacks of honey jars and products.

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But what really caught our eye, the reason for our stopping by on this mild, Sunday morning, was the honey tasting kiosk in the middle of the room. We treated ourselves to samples of honey derived from orange blossoms, sage, wildflowers, buckwheat, avocado, clover, eucalyptus and cactus. Honey heaven!

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How is honey made? Worker bees suck nectar from a blossom and carry it back to the hive in their honey sacs (i.e. stomachs). On its way home, acid secretions in the sacs start changing the nectar to honey. In the hive, the honey is passed to a receiving bee where it is processed and concentrated for storage in empty honeycomb cells. 70,000 nectar "loads" become one pound of honey. Housekeeping bees "dry" the honey by fanning their wings in unison, then the cells are sealed for beeswax. Honey will keep for years.

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My top choice was the cactus flavored honey as well as the "creamed" honey. We inquired about a honey that would be best for combating pollen allergies, and were told the wildflower honey was the best bet. And then we asked about the raw honeycomb shown above.

We were immediately offered a sample of the honeycomb. Heck, why not! Are we supposed to eat the wax comb? Some people do, but most swallow the tasty honey and spit out the wax.  The honeycomb was a delicious treat and we bought one of those too!

Bennett's Honey Farm was founded by Red and Ann Bennett and is currently owned by Chip and Taydee Vannoy. They produce their own honey right here in Ventura County under brands "Topanga Quality Honey" (found at Whole Foods and other specialty markets) and "Piru Canyon Honey" found at farmers' market and fruit stands in local counties.

To learn more, visit www.bennetthoney.com or call 805.521.1375.

Bacon, Avocado and Grilled Onions Top List of Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Followers' Favorite Hamburger Toppings

The burger from Bandits' Grill and Bar Thousand Oaks that inspired the drawing.

The burger from Bandits' Grill and Bar Thousand Oaks that inspired the drawing.

Yes, this is breaking news. Very important stuff. To celebrate reaching 12,000 followers on the Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Page, we teamed up with Bandits' Grill and Bar Thousand Oaks for a gift card drawing. To enter the six-hour drawing, we asked folks to name a favorite burger topping.

The drawing ended at 11PM and as always, when CVG Facebook followers are offered the chance to win free food, they do not hesitate to participate.

After selecting the winner, I decided to tabulate the responses to see if there was a clear-cut favorite topping.  It was not particularly surprising that bacon received 19% of total votes, making it the #1 choice.

But avocado gave bacon a clear run for its money, with 16% of the vote. As I was tabulating, midway through the count I thought avocado was actually going to pull out an upset win. But in the end, "bad fat" prevailed over "good fat," though not by much!

In a tie for third place were grilled onions and cheese, with 12% of the vote each. Rounding out the next four spots were blue cheese (this one surprised me a bit), mushrooms, onion strings/rings and BBQ sauce. Pickles, jalapenos, fresh tomato were noted several times.

Speaking of burgers and restaurants, visit THIS LINK for a rundown on local area eateries that are newly opened or soon to be opening.