Underwood Family Farms: A Blend of Tradition and Agricultural Innovation


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Underwood Family Farms: A Blend of Tradition and Agricultural Innovation

July 3, 2024
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Underwood Family Farms: A Blend of Tradition and Agricultural Innovation

Underwood Family Farms: A Blend of Tradition and Agricultural Innovation

Just north of Los Angeles in the fertile landscape of Ventura County, Underwood Family Farms represents both agricultural heritage and family-oriented fun. This popular destination not only connects visitors to the roots of farming but also offers a lively escape into the world of farm tours. From humble beginnings to its current status as a must-visit location in Southern California, Underwood Family Farms continues to cultivate a story worth telling. We recently had the chance to visit and speak with Susanna Underwood, Marketing Director, and a 5th generation member of a farming family.

susannah underwood, in a strawberry field at underwood family farms

The Seedlings of History

Underwood Family Farms traces its origins back to 1867 when the Underwood family first ventured into agriculture in Southern California. Officially founded by Craig Underwood,, who began farming on a mere five acres in Moorpark in 1980, the farm has grown significantly over the decades. Today, it spans over 200 acres, spread across two main locations: Moorpark and Somis. Craig Underwood, a fourth-generation farmer, has dedicated his life to expanding the farm’s operations while still maintaining the integrity and sustainability practices that honor his family’s long-standing tradition in agriculture.

“At Underwood Family Farms and Underwood Ranches, we grow a wide variety of crops from avocados to lemons, all different kinds of citrus, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, salad vegetables, and flowers. We do grow year-round because the climate in California is so perfect for growing,” says Susanna.

“The climate in the Tierra Grajada Valley is perfect year-round. We rarely reach freezing temperatures, sometimes we get to the low 30s, but for the most part the weather is pretty even and perfect for growing,” she continues.

Despite the farm’s growth over the last five decades, the family’s commitment to sustainable farming practices and community engagement remains steadfast. 

Susanna explains, “Here on the farm, we practice sustainable agriculture — we use beneficial insects, crop rotation, composting, and we really think of ourselves as a large garden. We really like that nature kind of takes care of itself and that we have balance and harmony here.” 

A Day at the Farm

Visitors to Underwood Family Farms are immediately drawn into a vibrant world where agriculture meets recreation. The farm is renowned for extensive U-pick opportunities, allowing guests to harvest their own fruits and vegetables directly from the field. 

“It’s very important to us that guests come to the farm, they learn where their food comes from, they get their hands into the soil, and they learn that the produce doesn’t just show up at the market,” Susanna says.

From season to season, the offerings vary from strawberries and peas in the spring to pumpkins and squashes in the fall. This hands-on approach not only connects people with the source of their food but also provides an educational experience that spans all ages.

“At our farm in Moorpark, we have 50 acres that the public can visit,” says Susanna. “We grow on 200 acres and we have fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers – snd in the spring we have strawberries. In the fall we have pumpkins and we have salad vegetables and tomatoes and peppers, blueberries, and raspberries.” 

Seasonal festivals further enhance the farm’s allure, with the Fall Harvest Festival being a highlight each year. During this time, the farm transforms into an autumnal paradise, complete with tractor-drawn wagon rides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and live entertainment. Springtime brings the equally popular Easter on the Farm, featuring egg hunts, photo ops with the Easter Bunny, and baby animals.

drone shot of crops and fields at underwood family farms

Educational Outreach and Community Involvement

Education is at the heart of Underwood Family Farms’ mission. The farm offers guided tours and field trips tailored to provide students and visitors a deep dive into farming techniques and the importance of agriculture. These educational programs are designed to inspire a new generation of eco-conscious individuals, emphasizing sustainability and the benefits of local farming.

“Every day visitors come out here and they’re able to learn about the animals and the fruits and the vegetables. But we also have school tours with about 60, 000 kids who come here throughout the year. And they learn about fruits and vegetables and animals.

And we also do a farm camp in the summer where kids can come. Kids can be educated about life on the farm,” explains Susanna.

Where to Find Underwood Produce

Underwood Family Farms’ produce is readily available at multiple venues. The farm operates a vibrant roadside market in both of its main locations, where freshly picked produce is sold alongside homemade jams, honey, and other locally made products. Additionally, Underwood Family Farms has a robust presence in about fourteen local farmers’ markets across Southern California, ensuring that their fresh produce reaches a wide audience.

A Legacy of Growth and Sustainability

ripening strawberries in the field at underwood family farms in moorpark

As Underwood Family Farms continues to thrive under the stewardship of the Underwood family, the farm not only serves as a reminder of Southern California’s rich agricultural heritage but also as a forward-thinking example of how farms can adapt and thrive in the modern world. 

Susanna elaborates, “In business and in agriculture, you have to constantly be changing and adapting, and bringing in that entertainment and education mixed in with our farming was very important. It’s what people wanted, and it’s what people need.”

“I feel so connected to the land here and agriculture. I have two boys now who want to be a part of agriculture and that just means the world to me to have them continue this, for years to come,” she says.

Underwood Family Farms is more than just a destination; it offers a taste of farm life with a side of education and entertainment. It’s a place where families can spend a day picking fresh produce, learning about sustainable agriculture, and participating in seasonal festivities that celebrate the bounty of the earth. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a day at Underwood Family Farms is an enriching experience that connects the past with the present, one harvest at a time.

outside of underwood family farms in moorpark, CA

Visit Underwood Family Farms


Moorpark Farm Center
3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark, CA

Somis Farm Center
5696 E. Los Angeles Ave, Somis, CA

There is no shortage of farms you can visit in the Golden State! Check out this amazing list of farms you can tour.

Article written by Alison Needham for California Grown. Images by James Collier.

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