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U-Pick Apples

U-Pick Apples

16 distinct varieties…

To provide Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and the public with a unique interdisciplinary environment in which to foster the Learn by Doing philosophy by providing educational experiences on a working ranch, supporting diversified agriculture and forest resources while maintaining the integrity of ranch operations.

  —Our Mission

Ranch Events

News & Events

Cal Poly Day & Al Smith Day

Al Smith Day typically takes place during the end of April or beginning of May. Al Smith Day highlights the Swanton Pacific Railroad while giving attendees a glimpse of ranch operations and educational opportunities. Train rides, a ranch barbeque, live music, and the chance to visit the Swanton Pacific Ranch makes Al Smith Day a fun event for all. The Railroad Society takes care of registration for this event.

Cal Poly Day is usually the last Sunday in September. Please join us for the annual train rides, barbecue and choice of other activities put on by the railroad and ranch. Those attending will be brought up to date on what has been taking place at Swanton by both the railroad and the ranch. The annual event is held at the beautiful Swanton Pacific Ranch in Davenport, CA. The Railroad Society takes care of registration for this event.

These two yearly events are used to showcase activities at the ranch, and include barbeque, train rides and roping demonstrations. The Cal Poly Logging Team often joins in the fun with axe throwing and cross-cut demonstrations. Swanton equipment as well as t-shirts, hats, etc., are also on display. Plan on joining us this year.

* Please pre-register for events - contact the Railroad Society to register. Thank you!

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Products and Produce Availability

U-Pick Apples

Please note: the Apple Orchard is located across the street from the Old School House at 480 Swanton Road (this is a few miles north of our 125 Swanton Road address).

The Organic Apple Orchard is open seasonally to the public, Cal Poly alumni, and grade-school groups.

Certified annually by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and yielding five tons of apples per year, the ranch's 2-acre orchard produces a diverse array of apples for many uses. The 16 distinct varieties ripen progressively throughout the fall allowing for an extended picking season. Grade-school groups are encouraged to arrange visits to the U-Pick where children receive an overview of ecological processes in organic farming before they set out to collect apples.

Natural Grass-fed Beef

Grass-fed CowsGrass-fed beef is fed just that, grass. Grass-fed beef differs slightly in look, texture, smell, and taste; but to many, it tastes better. Grass-fed beef has less than 10% saturated fat, is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, high in conjugated Linoleic Acid, high in vitamin A and E, and high in Beta Carotene.

The Cal Poly Swanton Pacific Ranch Grass-fed Beef Enterprise in conjunction with Cal Poly Meats sells 30 lb pre-packaged boxes of grass-fed beef. If you have questions please call Cal Poly Meats at 805.756.2114, or visit us on the web.

Ranch News

Today is Saturday - Feb 6, 2016

Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch Joins US Forest Service Research Program

Posted Monday - Nov 30, 2015

Agreement will expand climate change research at Santa Cruz property as it joins 80 experimental forests in the U.S.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly and the USDA Forest Service recently signed an agreement to include the university’s Swanton Pacific Ranch near Santa Cruz, Calif., in the federal Experimental Forests and Ranges program. The U.S. Forest Service’s system of Experimental Forests and Ranges provides places specifically designated and administered to enable the research necessary for developing improved methods of forest management.

The five-year agreement between Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station will facilitate an increase in research projects at the 3,200-acre Swanton Pacific Ranch, aimed largely at monitoring and attempting to predict the effects of climate change on the nations farm, range and forest lands.

“This is a mutually beneficial agreement that creates the potential for exciting collaborative research with the Forest Service and other experimental forests, and with other nearby universities,” said Swanton Pacific Ranch Director Brian Dietterick, a researcher in hydrology and watershed management and professor in Cal Poly’s Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity this will present for our students, faculty and staff to become involved in even more Learn by Doing projects aimed at solving real-world problems.”

In the memorandum of understanding signed earlier this month, Swanton Pacific Ranch joins 80 experimental forests nationwide, including 12 others in California, in the more than 100-year-old federal program. Swanton Pacific will help fill some significant gaps in the program’s research efforts.

“Swanton Pacific is situated in an ecoregion where we do not yet have any other experimental forests,” said Peter Stine, director of partnerships and collaboration with the Pacific Southwest Research Station.” Cal Poly’s existing operation of the ranch as a hands-on research and teaching facility means it’s already well-suited for the kind of work that’s done at our experimental forests.”

Swanton Pacific has a rare confluence of significant portions of farm, range and forest lands, which will present opportunities in all three of the USDA’s key research areas, said Stine. Swanton Pacific’s large redwood forest will present essential collaborative research opportunities with two other experimental redwood stands near Fort Bragg and Arcata in Northern California.

Cal Poly and the Forest Service have been discussing the agreement for about three years. While the Forest Service has collaboration agreements with a couple of other universities on the East Coast, Swanton Pacific Ranch is the first university-owned property to become part of the federal Experimental Forests and Ranges program.

Summer Internships

Posted Monday - Jan 4, 2016

Now accepting internship applications for Summer Quarter. Please apply now!

See: Internship Information and Application

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