Get seasonal fruits and vegetables, home-baked goodies and more at Avila Valley Farm
Pull quote: “Every year we put something new in and listen to the community. When we started in 1987 it was just a fruit stand.” – Debbie Smith
Find a variety of vegetables growing at the 46-acre family run Avila Valley Farm from May through September. Several varieties of peaches have their own peak season in July and August. Crisp, juicy apples are ready for picking from August through September. Find blackberries, raspberries, and flowers. Pumpkins are ready at the end of September. October is the best month to choose from 49 varities of pumpkin from small baseball sized all the way up to pumpkins that weigh hundreds of pounds.
Field trips take place from May through October, with focus on produce that is seasonal to the month. Visit goats, horses, cows, sheep, chickens, guinea hens and the emu. The small valley is home to owls, deer, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, turkeys, and mountain lions. Avila Valley Barn is one of the few remaining pristine places where you can wander and harvest fresh, ripe fruit straight from the field.
Taste a variety of pies from apricots to peaches, apples to berries and cobblers from the farm bakery. Every batch is handmade the old fashioned way, fresh from scratch seven days a week until 6 p.m. The very first pies Debbie baked in her kitchen using fruit from the day’s harvest, were the same hand-rolled dough recipe used today.
Be sure to get your order in for Thanksgiving and Christmas fresh baked goodies. Savor some hot roasted corn on the cob served right from the corn roaster.
Don’t forget to visit the sweet shop where you find ice cream, a deli menu including fried chicken and smoked and barbecued sandwiches from the barbecue pit.
Since 1987 the purpose of the farm has been to “Bring agriculture to the community and have a place to connect,” says owner Debbie Smith. The Smith family brings agriculture to the community through educational field trips giving children first hand experience with a working farm. Children gain a deeper appreciation of the environment and food they eat when they get to see how their food grows.
A family farm tradition
The Smith family co-owns this landmark destination with the founding family. When original owner, local orthodontist Dr. John DeVincenzo, was looking for help on the farm, Debbie Smith, one of a 100 applicants, got the job.
In time Debbie helped to develop the farm and watch it grow. With local support and summer tourism, Avila Valley Barn grew from fresh produce and U-Pick to gifts, a bakery, sweet shop and deli. Debbie and Bruce Smith raised seven kids and many of them work on the farm.
“In 1987 we were just a fruit stand. We wanted to make it an outdoor experience,” Smith said. “We listen to the community and add something new every year.”
Preservation and sustainability
Avila Valley Barn is dedicated to the preservation of the area and does not use pesticides or herbicides. Sustainable farming practices include: cover cropping to protect and build the soil, reduced or eliminated tillage to foster healthy soil biology, and animal integration to increase nutrition for animals, soil, and fruit. All of their crops are watered with heavy mineral water.
“My brothers, sister and I all grew up walking barefoot, picking fruit off the trees and even off of the ground. My hopes are that someday our grandkids will have the same opportunity,” said Jake Smith.
The Avila Valley Barn is a very special place to visit or to host a party or other event.
Avila Valley Barn is located at 560 Avila Beach Dr. between San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach. Open daily from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more information, call (805) 595-2816 or visit www.avilavalleybarn.com.