Monache High School FFA agriculture department sold oranges, vegetables, citrus trees and plants on Saturday, March 30, at their third annual FFA Farmers Day event. Besides the sale, 55 runners also participated in a 5K run earlier in the day. According to teacher and head of the Monache ag department James Corbett, they made $12,000 on Saturday, and over 1,000 people visited the department.
Before walking into the sale in the barn, Brianna Marshall, Monache sopohmore and FFA Sentenial, greeted people and gave directions if needed. In the agriculture department barn, there were box loads of fresh green broccoli, a light green broccoli varietal called Vita Verde, purple Graffitti broccoli and large white cauliflowers for sale. There were also cabbages
Agriculture teacher Frank Roche said students planted 15,000 broccoli starts in November and they were just harvested. There were also navel, Cara-Cara, and blood oranges for sale, and larger Lisbon lemons.
Christie Bennett, who teaches ornamental horticulture class, floral class, and earth science class said, “This sale is all very much student-driven and they take a lot of pride in it.” There were two large greenhouses full of plants, and an outdoor covered area with loads of plants for sale. Many types of succulents, besides some house plants and citrus trees.
Julia Guzman, who is in FFA Farm Management said, “The Future Farmers of America is really fun and I encourage everyone to get involved. And I am looking forward to continuing. We had Graffitti purple broccoli, but we sold it to teachers. I personally like it better than regular broccoli. It has more taste.”
“This is just a great ag department at Monache High School,” said Becky Flores, a FFA booster parent who was helping at the cash register. “It teaches the kids a lot of responsibility that they can take into the real world.”
Corbett presided over the sale, talking to parents and teachers and keeping an eye on everything. He was interested in having Cesar Pena, an ag mechanics student, interviewed about the completion of his recent project of a portable welder and compressor on a skid that he built. Pena built the machine in a month and a half, and says it works well on gasoline. It is brightly painted and color coded.
“I built if for Monache FFA because they have such a large farm and they needed a portable welder in order to repair anything, from chain link fencing, to pig pens or greenhouses,” said Pena. “This would be great for repair on the go. Just hoist if on a forklift and put it on the back of a truck. The portable welder has a compressor attached, with spools for positive and negative electricity, and oxygen and acetylene tanks attached.”
Pena has been in Monache FFA for three years and says all of the projects they build in ag mechanics are for the community. They build portable barbeque trailers, dump trailers, and Santa Maria style trailers.
Brianna Marshall, Monache sophmore and FFA Sentinel, greeted people as they walked into the sale, and was very personable and helpful. She said being in the FFA helped her keep doing the right thing during her freshman and sophmore school year, and said, “I’ve made a lot of friends. Some of the best I’ve ever had in the FFA. They are a lot of good people, and there are a lot of good opportunities and experiences in the FFA that you can’t get anywhere else.” She is proud of helping to organize before FFA club meetings and obviously is enjoying herself while she’s learning.
“It’s a great experience being in the FFA,” said Monache sophmore Hunter Weiner, who was helping his mother with a wagon of plants. “You learn a lot of new things. I enjoyed learning about growing broccoli and onions and having our own plot last year. I loved having my own things to grow. I grew green and white onions.”
His mother Kim Weiner, said, “I’m proud of him.”
“Thank you to the community for all their support,” said Corbett, “The money we raise goes directly back into ornamental horticulture and the farm. The money will purchase new plants, animal feed, and support other projects. Farmer’s Day started three years ago, and the next one will be the last Saturday of March in 2020.