Swanton Pacific Ranch is located in Santa Cruz County at the northern reaches of California's Central Coast and the Monterey Bay. The 3,200 acre property is a landscape composed of a majestic redwood forest, lush riverine ecosystems and expansive coastal grassland overlooking the bay and the Pacific Ocean.
The Student Experience * Live and learn on a working ranch * Develop career skills * Gain exposure to current technology * Work on diverse research projects
Recognized for its high biodiversity and abundant resources, this area provides a valuable opportunity to study the methods of resource conservation applied through sustainable management techniques.The Ranch was donated to the College in 1993 by the late Al Smith. A Cal Poly graduate and founder of Orchard Supply Hardware, Al had specific goals, "...that Swanton Pacific Ranch be maintained as a working ranch and used exclusively for agriculture, recreational, educational purposes".
This educational and research facility is owned by the Cal Poly Corporation and managed by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Faculty, graduate students and undergraduates actively pursue research opportunities, utilizing the forest, range, and watershed resources within the ranch. The Ranch hosts a variety of functions some of which include the production of certified natural beef, "U-pick" certified organic apples, hosting of professional meetings and workshops, and courses offered by the Department of Natural Resource Management.
Spotlight on Apples
Apple picking season: Thursday Aug 19th. through November
Hours of operation are 9am - 5pm, Thurs - Monday. Apples are selling for $1.75/lb.
Yielding five tons of apples per year, our 2-acre orchard offers multiple varieties of apples. Although varietals are limited to what's on hand, the 12 different varieties ripen in stages throughout the fall months which allows for an extended picking window. The apple orchard is certified and inspected annually by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). In addition to U-Pick harvesting, students and interns hand-pick apples throughout the season for local wholesale.
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