Not Just Grapes...
These bells have just been washed and about to be sorted by size and grade.
Visitors to the winery are often surprised at the diversity of crops they see growing in the fields adjacent to the Rincon Vineyard. In fact, our family farming heritage stretches back 65 years to 1948 when my grandfather began growing vegetables here in the Arroyo Grande Valley. That tradition continues to this day, and just as fall is our peak harvest period for wine grapes, so too is it for our vegetable production. The single biggest crop that we grow at Talley Farms is bell peppers, and the entire crop is harvested between early August and mid-November. Just as in our vineyards, we’ve enjoyed a bumper crop of bell peppers, with perhaps the best yields in our history. This is attributable to near perfect growing conditions as well as continuous improvement and refinement of our growing practices under the leadership of my cousin, Ryan Talley, who oversees our vegetable farming operations.
In addition to bell peppers, we grow about 20 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, many of which we grow exclusively for Talley Farms Fresh Harvest, www.talleyfarmsfreshharvest.com, our weekly harvest box program. Because of the extremely moderate climate of the Arroyo Grande Valley, it is one of the few places in the world where vegetables can be grown year round, though the selection varies with the season. Right now we are producing beautiful tomatoes, basil, squash, pasillas, jalapenos, beans, lettuce and padron peppers. In the winter, we focus on leeks, beets, radishes and Brussels sprouts. We grow items like green onions, carrots, spinach, cilantro, lemons, avocados and nappa cabbage year round.
One of my favorite seasonal projects is the annual pumpkin patch that we grow in conjunction with Branch Elementary School. This project was conceived by my dad as a fundraiser for the school almost 15 years ago when my daughters attended Branch. Now Ryan (who currently has two daughters at the school) oversees the project. This is a great local fundraiser and a great place for locals to get pumpkins and decorative gourds for the autumn season. They are available for purchase every day in the Tasting Room, or you can come out on the weekend and pick your own. Enjoy the bounty of the season!