Farm Spotlight: Talley Farms in Arroyo Grande, CA

“The Talley family and our employees are pleased to ship weekly fresh produce to the Food Bank.  We believe that providing the opportunity for GleanSLO volunteers to come in and glean our fields is another way to care for those in need.  The enthusiasm of the volunteers from Glean SLO makes working with them a real pleasure as we come together to support our community. “ 

Todd Talley, CFO, Talley Farms

Pictured above are Brian Talley, Olivia Talley (center photo), Mission College Prep students, Charlee Bunnell (SLO Food Bank employee), Andrea Shapiro Chavez (Manager, Talley Farms Fresh Harvest).

Pictured above are Brian Talley, Olivia Talley (center photo), Mission College Prep students, Charlee Bunnell (SLO Food Bank employee), Andrea Shapiro Chavez (Manager, Talley Farms Fresh Harvest).

The Talley family has been donating harvested weekly fresh produce to the Food Bank for more than 4 years, donating more than 300,000 pounds of food since 2010. The Oceano Food Bank warehouse team has been receiving this produce and sharing it within 24 hours with Food Bank agencies and recipients. In 2012, the Talley family generously welcomed GleanSLO and Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School students for a bell pepper glean. Hosted by Brian and Johnine Talley as well as their daughters, this glean opened the door to future opportunities. GleanSLO is grateful to the Talley family, both family members and employees, for their generous spirit in not only allowing us into their fields, but by additionally believing in the importance of supporting a healthy community and donating already harvested produce each week. We want to thank the Talley family for their generous contributions!


Interview with Andrea Shapiro Chavez by Carolyn Eicher


Please share information about you and your background:

Andrea Shapiro ChavezManager, Fresh HarvestTalley Farms

Andrea is a Cal Poly graduate, earning a degree in Economics in 1980.  She has spent the last 30 years working at various levels in the produce business from Western Regional Sales Manager for Dole Fresh Vegetables, to being a Buying Broker, shipping produce all over the world, to owning her own business for 13 years delivering fresh produce and gourmet food to homes and offices in Southern California.  In February of 2012, Talley Farms hired her to create a new, local, consumer program for them called Talley Farms Fresh Harvest.  As a mother, wife and cook who loves fruits and vegetables, her passion in life is to “GET PEOPLE TO EAT MORE PRODUCE!”


We would love to know more about the Talley history! 


For over three generations, Talley Farms has been growing high quality fruits and vegetables.  It all started in 1948, when Oliver Talley began growing vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley on California’s Central Coast.  Talley Farms is now a diversified family-owned farming operation that grows, packs and ships a variety of fruits and vegetables, including bell peppers, wine grapes, napa cabbage, lemons, avocados, cilantro and brussels sprouts.  Brian, Todd, Ryan and Rosemary Talley are active in all aspects of the day-to-day operations of Talley Farms, following the company’s vision to strive for “Excellence in Everything.”


What is your connection to gleaning and GleanSLO?

I first heard about GleanSLO from participating in the SLO County Food System Coalition.  I always think of calling Jen Miller, GleanSLO Program Manager, when we have extra product in our Fresh Harvest fields and don’t have the labor to harvest it.  Jen is so enthusiastic about life and her job with the food bank.  I love communicating with her!  If we have the labor, we’ll go ahead and harvest the product and then donate it directly to the food bank.


What do you like about GleanSLO?

What I like the most about GleanSLO is we don’t have to use our labor to harvest a crop that we have chosen not to sell.  And it doesn’t get wasted!  All the volunteers are so positive and energetic.  It’s great to see them out in our fields!


Can you share ideas with us about the future of GleanSLO and the vision for a healthy community?


As the word gets out about GleanSLO and your ability to gather your volunteer troops to harvest, more and more growers will be calling you to finish up certain fields that they may not want to sell due to market conditions.  There are three of us at Talley Farms that communicates with Jen about fields available for gleaning.  As Jen gets to know more and more growers, there will be more product available for the food bank.


Any messages you’d like to share with other farmers who might be considering working with GleanSLO? 

Jen Miller is the key to having a warm and consistent relationship with GleanSLO and the food bank.  We are also happy to see volunteers who are aware of food safety standards that we follow in our fields.  We do not usually allow volunteers or strangers in our fields.

50 volunteers gleaned over 6,000 pounds of bell peppers and onions in less than 2 hours at Talley Farms.

50 volunteers gleaned over 6,000 pounds of bell peppers and onions in less than 2 hours at Talley Farms.

A story of wine, storage and glean love

GleanSLO had a need, we were really in a pinch. Homeless, you might say…

In August, we discovered that our comfortable storage space in the city of SLO (our central hub housing all gleaning supplies and equipment) was to be sold and we needed to find a new space pronto, before Oct. 1st. We panicked for a brief second. Then we remembered that we are a part of a community that loves all things gleaning. So we shouted our need from the rooftops, the social media mountains and the newsletter outlets. And the most amazing thing happened.


Winemaker Pat Muran, President Andy Niner, Winemakers Pat Martinez and Molly Bohlman and GleanSLO Program Manager Jen Miller.

Andy Niner of Niner Wine Estates called and offered to have a Mystery Wine Sale to benefit GleanSLO. He basically gleaned some of his older vintages to make room for newer vintages, sold the Mystery Wine cases (which were a combo of delish older and newer vintages) and gave 100% of the proceeds to GleanSLO to purchase storage space and supplies. The check totaled $6,300! It was like the gleaning gods were all singing in harmony, shining a little light upon us!

There was only one problem.

We had money for a shed, but no property to put it on.

So Andy Niner called his friend over at Meathead Movers. “Hi Aaron. There’s an organization, GleanSLO – from the Food Bank – that needs your help renting storage space. If you can donate a portion of the rent, I’ll fit the bill.” DONE. Meathead Movers donated a space big enough for all of GleanSLO’s equipment with room to grow.

We literally jumped for joy. A lot. (A very excited, and somewhat embarrassing, jumping Jeanine and Jen video: IMG_6989)

This story is worth telling because it reminds us that GleanSLO is a program of the community, for the community, by the community. We recognize that we are blessed to live in a region of such abundance and it is our responsibility to do good with the resources we’ve been given. When the community has a need, we come together to meet the challenge. It doesn’t take much to move mountains! Please help us support our sponsors, Meathead Movers and Niner Wine Estates. Be good to those that keep programs like GleanSLO going strong!



SLO Creek Farms Apple Harvest Festival

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2014   1pm-4pm


Hi Apple Friends,
It’s that time of year again for the Annual Apple Harvest Festival 2014!!! 
Come out to SLO Creek Farms Organic U-Pick Garden Area Sunday, October 12, 2014 from 1:00pm-4:00pm and get some FREE cider, freshly pressed right before your eyes. All we ask is that you bring your own 1/2 gallon empty jug and help pick some apples off the trees to help donate to the cider press so everyone can enjoy some free cider. First 1/2 gallon is free!!! There will be a tip jar if you would like to contribute to GleanSLO. Also more cider will be available for purchase if 1/2 gallon is not enough for you cider addicts.
This Festival is Sponsored by the Food Bank/GleanSLO & SLO Creek Farms. We are celebrating the harvest season, the generosity of the Gable family, and GleanSLO volunteers’ hard work and dedication to feed the hungry and help make this world a better place. Special thanks to SLO Creek Farms for making this possible!!! We love you guys!


We will have Live Music by Green to White, Dancing, BBQing, Raffling, Hooping Contest, Apple Seed Spitting Contest, Apple Pie Baking Contest, Pumpkins Painting, Hayrides and More!

SLO Creek Farms Apple Harvest Festival 2014 bushel_of_apples_1791838 15094312578_27db962454_z_________________________________

SLO Creek Farms~ Apple Harvest Festival 2014


Contests Itinerary:

  • 12:00pm: Turn in all Baked Pies for contest at 3:00pmat Pie Table
  • 1:30pm: Hoop Contest
  • 2:30pm: Apple Eating Contest
  • 3:15pm: Apple Pie Judging
  • 3:00pm: Apple Seed Spitting Contest
  • 3:30pm: Balance an apple on your head/Hooping Contest
  • 1:00pm-4:00pmTractor Hayrides-Free, Go to Community Garden
  • 1:00pm-4:00pm Sumo Wrestling-Free
  • 1:00pm-4:00pm Pumpkin Painting-Purchase Tickets $3.00
  • 1:00pm-3:00pm Face Painting- $ Pay at Face Painting Booth

Live Music:

  • 1:00pm-4:00pm Live Music by Green to White

Purchase Food, Raffle & Pumpkin Painting Tickets at the U-Pick Garden Stand


Apple Harvest Festival Raffle

$1.00 a Ticket

All proceeds go to benefit GleanSLO.


  • 2 – 1 month U-Pick Apple pass
  • 6 – ½ Gallon Apple Cider Certificate
  • 6 – 5 lbs U-Pick Apples Certificates

14 Total chances to win and all helping a good cause in the meanwhile.

Please print your name, phone number, email and your raffle ticket number on the Raffle Form. We will announce the winner; if you are not present we will contact you to collect your prize.

Good Luck Everyone!


Apple Pie Baking Contest:
*Must pick apples from SLO Creek Farms Orchard the week before and make your own pie crust.
Bring your apple pie to the baking table by 12:00pm and leave your name, recipe, and phone number at the registration booth, so we can contact you if you are one of the 3 winners. Recipe will be published in our recipe book for all to see and try, with your name next to it, so make sure it is an original or your own twist to it.

Apple Pie Baking Contest will be held around 3:00pm.

*1st place winner will receive a free months pass to pick apples, a jug of cider, apple chips, and an apple pie cookie.

*2nd place winner will receive a 10 free pounds of apples, plus a jug of or cider, apple chips, and an apple pie cookie.

*3rd place winner will receive a jug of our cider, apple chips, and an apple pie cookie.


Apple Harvest Art Contest 2014
Enter to win!!! The Apple Harvest Art Contest 2014!!!
Held at the Apple Harvest Festival October 12, 2014

Draw, paint, photograph or create a sculpture of beautiful apples. Finished piece will be showcased at the Apple Harvest Festival October 12, 2014 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm

***Bring your finished pieces to the Apple Harvest Festival at the SLO Creek Farms Organic Herb Garden October 12, 2014 between 10am-12pm.
Please put the name of your art piece on the front of you art piece, and also your full name, contact number and email taped to the back of the frame.
Call (702)245-3135 for questions.

Be inspired. Create. Have fun.
All levels of artists welcome, Amateur or Professional.


You are welcome to go get inspired by wondering the SLO Creek Farms apple orchard with all the fall season apples on the tree at SLO Creek Farms from now till October 12, 2014

3 Categories:
*Kids 12 and under
*Ages 13 and up Amateur
*Ages 16 and up Professional

Contest prizes:

1st Place winners- Seasons Pass Apple Picking 2015
2nd Place winners- Months Pass Apple Picking 2014
3rd Place winners- One Week Pass Apple Picking 2014

So bring your 1/2 gallon empty jug and come celebrate with us. The apples are AMAZINGLY delicious right now and we want you to enjoy them as much as we do.

Looking forward to celebrating apple harvest season with all our apple friends,
Love, GleanSLO and

The Gable Family
SLO Creek Farms
6455 Monte Rd
SLO,CA 93401

Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Constable, Neighborhood Harvest Leader

“It’s cool to see the ‘fruits’ of our labor.”

Interview by Carolyn Eicher

Mike with his mom, Laurie, gleaning avocados. Photo credit: Carolyn Eicher

Mike with his mom, Laurie, gleaning avocados. Photo credit: Carolyn Eicher

Mike Constable is a Cal Poly graduate who soon begins training with the Air National Guard as a pilot to fly transport planes. Since early 2013, Mike has volunteered with GleanSLO, bringing enthusiasm, a great attitude and muscle! This year he chose to become a Neighborhood Harvest Leader and lead his own local gleans. We are pleased to share an interview with Mike here and want to thank him for his energy and dedication to GleanSLO!

GS: Please tell us about yourself:

I’ve enjoyed the awesomeness the central coast has to offer over the last six years. During and after school at Cal Poly, I worked at the San Luis Obispo Airport. As a Line Service Technician I fueled planes and aided arrivals/departures. I graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Construction Management and continued to pursue my dream of flying. I was selected to attend Air Force Pilot Training and I’m currently awaiting training to begin later this fall.

GS: How did you find out about GleanSLO?

I actually just googled ‘San Luis Obispo Volunteering’ and stumbled across the GleanSLO webpage which worked very well at organizing gleans.

GS: What is your favorite part of gleaning?

I have two favorite parts. First, driving out to glean spectacular farms/locations on the central coast. The scenery around these farms is truly remarkable. Second, dropping off gleaned food to charities, agencies and food pantries. The smiles and thank you’s we received from distributors of gleaned food really made me feel like I helped someone out. It’s cool to see the ‘fruit’ of our labor. 

GS: Any memorable stories/farms/connections you’ve made through GleanSLO?

Getting recognized multiple times as a ‘gleaner’ at the grocery store always gave me a chuckle. I also had fun getting to know the other volunteers. Regardless of age or background, our common interests always insured we were volunteering among friends. I remember showing up late to my first glean at an orange orchard in Nipomo due to a dead car battery. From then on I was hooked and much more punctual.


Meet Vince Petrie!

Vince Petrie, a Neighborhood Harvest Leader

Vince started volunteering with GleanSLO at the beginning of 2013. At that time he fearlessly approached many of his neighbors to ask if they’d like to donate their excess fruit. This is when we had some of our FIRST Neighborhood-wide Collections! Now Vince is a seasoned Neighborhood Harvest Leader. Thanks for all or your great ideas, Vince!  Keep ‘em coming!


Vince1. Why are you interested in gleaning?

I’m a scrounger by nature.  I like to take things that other people don’t want and find a use for them, giving them a second life.  Before I found GleanSLO, as I would walk around my neighborhood I was bothered by all the fruit that was falling on the ground and rotting.  I thought that there must be a way to save this fruit.  I thought about starting a neighborhood produce exchange.  That was just about the time I found out about GleanSLO.  So I called them and volunteered.

2. How did you first make contact with GleanSLO?

I saw a GleanSLO flyer somewhere, can’t remember where.  So I called the number on the flyer and took it from there.

3. What is your favorite part about neighborhood harvests? 

My favorite part is participating in a group activity with others who share my enthusiasm for the task at hand.  I tend to be more of a loner, not fond of team or group activities.  But I’ve found that gleaning is an exception for me.

4. How does gleaning make you feel?

Gleaning gives me great satisfaction, and here’s why.  The corporate food industry has made it its mission to sell us cheap, unhealthy food (or food-like products) that maximize their profits, while paying lip service to our health.  Meanwhile, they demand and get government subsidies from self-serving politicians.  When I glean, I’m helping to provide healthy food, at no cost, to people who need it but can’t afford grocery store prices.  Gleaning completely bypasses corporations and government while contributing to the betterment of our community.  That makes me very happy.


Rescuing Avocados from Drought

Local farmer’s well runs dry – GleanSLO salvages undersized fruit


Avocado farmer Rick Saurwein of Casa Milagro has decided to “stump” his drying, drought ravaged trees. Thousands of branches full of ripe, undersized fruit have been cut down. But before the fruit could rot he called GleanSLO to pick what is salvageable and donate it to the Food Bank.

“My family is very active at Rock Harbor Christian Fellowship and see the value that the Food Bank & GleanSLO provides every week at our Saturday food distribution and the Monday meals that are served at the Vet’s Hall.  We’re very grateful for their service to the community and pleased that we can share the fruit we have with those who need it,” said Rick.

Rick Saurwein will not be able to harvest a new crop for three to four years depending on the weather this fall and if the aquifer fills to an adequate level to support the trees.

GleanSLO volunteers harvested more than 5,200 pounds of avocados from Casa Milagro and donated 214 volunteer hours to salvage the fruit.

More coverage on this story:



San Luis Obispo Tribune

Firstfruits Farm, bringing nature’s abundance to the people

GleanSLO has a unique opportunity to partner with a special farm. Typically GleanSLO gathers the excess, the unharvested, the not-so-pretty looking produce and donates it to our neighbors in need. Firstfruits Farm is different. It is a 100% volunteer run effort, operating on donations of everything from seed to compost. They grow perfect, organic produce FOR our neighbors in need. Firstfruits Farm donates the first pick, not the seconds. The farm is managed under the skilled hand of Darin Laity. Produce is grown and harvested by loving volunteers coming from various sources including Trinity Church, Grace Church and GleanSLO. Veggies are distributed at God’s Storehouse at Grace Church as well as several other food pantries.


14788227605_b54d6d683d_zWe asked Jon Medlock, pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church to share his thoughts about the farm:


“Firstfruits Farm is a small but growing little farm, tucked away behind the SLO airport off of Davenport Creek Road. Started in 2013 by Trinity Presbyterian Church in SLO, Firstfruits Farm borrows its name from the bible.  In the Old Testament, God instructed his people to offer the firstfruits of their harvest as an act of thanksgiving and gratitude. In this spirit, Trinity wants to offer our best to the people of this city, and the farm is our effort make top quality, organically grown vegetables available to residents of our city who cannot easily afford healthy, fresh food. 

 Photo May 24, 10 59 30 AM

We do this for a number of reasons: We believe God created all people in his image, with dignity and worth. We believe that our bodies matter as much as our souls. We believe that access to healthy food is a matter of basic justice. We believe that God is graciously renewing this broken world, and that when we pursue healing and restoration, we are acting in faith that God will bring perfect healing and restoration one day. We also believe, along with Wendell Berry that “Christian agriculture [is] formed upon the understanding that it is sinful for people to misuse or destroy what they did not make. The Creation is a unique, irreplaceable gift, therefore to be used with humility, respect, and skill.” In short, we support and work with this farm because of our Christian convictions. 



If you are interested in helping us serve alongside our neighbors in this way, we would love to have you join us. We harvest and do basic farm maintenance Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 9:00. In addition we have evening harvests on Fridays at 6:00. We are located off of just east of the intersection of Davenport Creek and Serpa Ranch Roads in SLO.”

Firstfruits Farm is a special place, an ideal volunteer opportunity for families. You’ll find a sandbox, picnic tables, wildflower and native bee garden and 2 acres of assorted organic veggies – cucumbers, bell peppers, chard, several varieties of kale, herbs, corn, tomatoes, melons, squash, eggplant, and a small orchard full of ancient varieties of fruit trees!