Meet the Farmers: Fiesta Farm
Sarah & Aurelio Lopez
Meat, Eggs, & Vegetables
Watsonville, California
Established 2009
 

Raising and growing high quality, nutrient-dense meats, eggs, and vegetables for people to enjoy is what Fiesta Farm is all about.

Owners Sarah and Aurelio Lopez came into poultry farming by accident, deciding to explore raising humane meats for consumption after reading one of Joel Salatin's books. Recognizing the demand for high-quality and ethically-raised meats, they launched Fiesta Farm in the town of Watsonville, an hour south of the San Francisco Bay Area, with a focus on pastured chickens and eggs. 

 

What led you to begin farming?

Aurelio has really been a farmer since childhood, immersed in organic corn, coffee and bean farming in his native Oaxaca, Mexico, plus a decade of farming vegetables at High Ground Organics in Watsonville.  Sarah began experimenting with backyard chickens after reading one of farmer/author Joel Salatin’s books and wanting a source of humanely raised meat for herself and friends.  Aurelio’s farming experience and Sarah’s chicken project joined forces in 2009, eventually becoming Fiesta Farm.
 

Aurelio y Sarah, Photo Credit: Rachel Olmstead

Aurelio y Sarah, Photo Credit: Rachel Olmstead

What does Fiesta Farm look like today?  

We raise chickens for meat and eggs, as well as pigs, rabbits, and turkeys on close to 30 acres of pasture and oak forest near Watsonville.  Each week our farm provides nutrient-dense, humanely-raised protein to several hundred farmers market customers and CSA (community supported agriculture) members.  We are also exploring organic fruit and vegetable production, which is currently in a re-grouping phase due to drought and needing to relocate that piece of the farm.

 

What are each of your roles on the farm?  

While we each pitch in across the board, Sarah handles most of the “front of farm” operations like sales and marketing, as well as veterinary issues, which she balances with her off-farm job monitoring water quality for farms on the Central Coast. Aurelio oversees the production efforts, including day-to-day livestock care, maintaining and building new infrastructure, supervising employees, and harvesting/packing.

 

Tell us a little about how you farm.  

We strive to maintain rotational, forage-rich environments for our livestock, which is good for the animals and the earth. This system also results in the most high-quality, nutrient-dense, flavorful meats and eggs for our community. And ultimately, caring for the soil itself - the land on which we grow - is just as important as caring for the animals or crops themselves.
Aurelio & chick - Photo Credit: Rachel Olmstead

Aurelio & chick - Photo Credit: Rachel Olmstead

How has Kitchen Table Advisors helped support you on this journey?

Anthony has really helped us organize our thoughts and develop record-keeping for information needed to make decisions about what to grow, where to market, etc.  Like every beginning farm, we’re trying to pay ourselves, and having quality financial information helps us to make good decisions.  Kitchen Table Advisors has also helped us to network with a variety of important contacts, from our accountant to marketing advisors to potential lenders.

 

What fuels your passion for this work in spite of all the challenges?

Farming is just about the hardest job we know of, but also the most rewarding.  Being able to see our animals’ contentment, and also providing nourishment for literally hundreds of people —that feels really good.  We also see our son connecting with the animals and the farming lifestyle, and that feels like a great path for him to start out on, regardless of where life takes him.

Wondering where to find Fiesta Farm’s products?

  • Purchase a bulk order of chickens or a whole / half hog direct from the farm
  • Visit them at the following farmers markets: Saturdays: 9am-1pm in Sunnyvale AND 9am-1pm at the Santa Cruz - Westside market, and Sundays 9am-1pm in Campbell 

For more information on Fiesta Farm, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.