Talley Farms Fresh Harvest

Talley Farms & How We Grow


 Talley Family History

Talley Family History

The Talley Family has been farming since 1948 and the third generation are now managing Talley Farms and Talley Vineyards, while the fourth generation is being "schooled" in our operations. 

For over three generations, Talley Farms has been growing high quality fruits and vegetables. It all started in 1948, when Oliver Talley began growing vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley on California’s Central Coast just south of San Luis Obispo.  Talley Farms is now a diversified family-owned farming operation that grows, packs and ships a variety of fruits and vegetables, including bell peppers, wine grapes, napa cabbage, lemons, avocados, cilantro and Brussels sprouts.  Brian, Todd, Ryan and Rosemary Talley are active in all aspects of the day-to-day operations of Talley Farms, following the company’s vision to strive for “Excellence in Everything.”

In 1982, Brian’s father, Don Talley, was convinced of the potential to grow high quality chardonnay and pinot noir wine grapes on the steep hillsides above Talley Farms. Talley Vineyards produced its first wine in 1986 with a production of 450 cases.  Today, with a total of 190 acres of vineyards in the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys, Talley Vineyards is producing annually about 36,000 cases of award winning wine and hosts a beautiful tasting room overlooking the vegetable fields of Talley Farms. 

 Fresh Harvest History

Fresh Harvest History

The Talley Farms Fresh Harvest CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program was created in early 2012 when the Talley Family decided to grow a larger variety of specialty vegetables and sell local produce to local people.

Talley Farms Fresh Harvest was created by newly hired Andrea Chavez, who had 30 years of previous produce business experience. Her goal was to translate the Talley Farms vision of “Excellence in Everything” to a healthy, fresh, subscription-based farm-box program available to Central Coast residents.  Our user-friendly service assures customers a safe, convenient, local and affordable food source with a more sustainable means of acquiring their weekly or bi-weekly provisions. With over 50 convenient pick up locations on the California Central Coast, we are now offering home delivery anywhere in California, Arizona and most of Nevada.

 What We Grow

What We Grow

The Fresh Harvest program grows over 40 different vegetables on about 30 acres of Talley Farms land. 

Of the approximately 1500 acres farmed by Talley Farms, Fresh Harvest currently uses 30-40 acres depending on the season. (You may view our complete list of what’s in our boxes on the What’s Fresh by Season page.)  Throughout the year we grow over 40 different vegetable items plus avocados and lemons.  Our most popular items include sweet bi color corn, heirloom tomatoes, French beans, orange carrots, colored sweet peppers, purple radishes, gold beets and baby lettuces.  For the best variety throughout the year, we also support other local California farmers by purchasing their fruits and vegetables to be included in our Fresh Harvest boxes.  

 Where We Grow Fresh Harvest

Where We Grow

Talley Farms grows on the Central Coast of California in the Arroyo Grande Valley just south of San Luis Obispo.  

San Luis Obispo County is known for the many microclimates within its boundaries, and it is the microclimate of the Arroyo Grande Valley that makes it prime farmland. Approximately 10 miles inland from Pismo Beach, we enjoy the cool ocean air in the evening and warm temperatures during the day allowing our crops to thrive. Talley Farms also grows in Edna Valley, just 6 miles northwest of our main farm operation. The long growing seasons and moderate climates of these areas allow us to successfully grow many different crops. There are still items we cannot grow in our microclimate so we support other California growers within about a 150 mile radius by purchasing some produce items from them.  This ensures a quality, local Fresh Harvest box that contains a variety of the best and freshest produce that California has to offer.  

 Talley Farms Fresh Harvest Food Safety

How We Grow

We grow using Sustainable Farming Methods including drip irrigation and monthly water testing for minerality and pathogens.  As a priority, we use organic sprays and fertilizers, while practicing strict food safety programs in our fields and coolers.  Conventional methods and products are used only when organic applications cannot control diseases and harmful pests.  All of our seed is non-GMO.

We often get the question: “Why isn’t all of your produce grown organically?”  As farmers, we would love to grow everything according to an organic ideal where we simply plant and harvest our crops, and let Mother Nature take care of the rest.  Unfortunately, this ideal doesn’t exist in sustainable agriculture, either conventional or organic, where we rely on assistance to successfully grow our fruits and vegetables. At Talley Farms, we strive to take care of our people, our land and our community the best way possible, which means that we employ both organic and conventional farming methods.  The methods we choose are dictated by a number of factors, but we are committed to long term sustainability as reflected in our three generation history in the Arroyo Grande Valley and the fact that we live on our farm. Much of the concern about conventional versus organic produce centers on pesticide use.  Most people don’t realize that both organic and conventional produce is sprayed with pesticides.  The difference is that organic produce can only be treated with organic pesticides whereas conventional produce can be treated with a wider range of products, all of which must be registered as safe for the crop to which they are applied.  In general, conventional sprays have greater efficacy than organic sprays, which reduces the number of times we need to spray and the volume of material applied.  The newest conventional insecticides more effectively target pests while leaving beneficial insects unharmed.   This is important because these beneficial insects play a critical role in protecting our crops.  Finally, some organic sprays just aren’t effective against our worst pests, such as the Bagrada Bug, a pest that has ravaged a wide range of vegetable crops throughout the Central Coast. Many people are unaware of the strict regulatory system that governs the use of all pesticides, whether organic or conventional.  At the State and Federal Level, all pesticides must be registered for use on the particular crops to which they are applied.  Every time we spray a field, we file a report with the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner describing when, where and what we sprayed.  All employees are trained, and those who apply pesticides or supervise the operations receive more training and are licensed.  We are subject to random surprise inspections at all times.  All of these regulations apply to both organic and conventional spray applications.

 

Our goal with the Fresh Harvest program is to serve our members by providing an exceptional box full of fresh, good tasting locally grown fruits and vegetables.  As much as possible, this includes organic produce.  We believe that consumers should strive to eat more produce, period. Restricting oneself to organically grown produce restricts the variety and nutrition available from eating locally and seasonally.  Thanks for your support of our farm, our employees, our community and our earth. We welcome you out to our farm for a tour and we look forward to the opportunity to teach more consumers about farming, agriculture and the importance of eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables. 

 

Food safety is a high priority at Talley Farms! We have a complete food safety department dedicated to complying with the latest government and organization safety requirements.  We also require other local farmers that we buy from to follow food safety standards. Currently Talley Farms practices:

  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in the Field, (crew, ranches)
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
  • Global Food Safety Audit (GFS) – all harvesting crews, ranches and coolers underwent the most extensive food safety audit and passed with a 97% rating!
  • Trace-Back and Recall Program
  • Member of CA Leafy Greens Initiative– CDFA Certified.
  • Monthly Internal Audits with yearly Independent Third-Party Audits by PrimusLabs.com
  • USDA Organic Certified

 Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Talley Farms Fresh Harvest is proud to be a part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which is a popular way for consumers to buy seasonal food directly from local farmers.  

 

CSA’s bring farmers and the community together by sharing the fresh foods they harvest.   When local consumers buy from local farmers, they:

  • Support the farm directly
  • Eliminate the middle man
  • Reduce packaging and carbon footprint
  • Receive fresh, nutritious locally grown foods
  • Enjoy seasonal, fresh-tasting produce
  • Support their local community