Friday, April 20 , 2018, 8:13 pm | Fair 59º


Local News

‘Farm Fish Fun Day’ at Folded Hills Ranch in Santa Ynez Valley Lives Up to Its Name

Hosted by SBHS junior Nick Busch, more than 40 local youths bask in the thrill of catching fish, playing sports and getting up close with farm animals

Nick Busch, third from right, hosted youths from local agencies for “Farm Fish Fun Day” at his family’s Folded Hills Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, and was assisted by friends, from left, Miguel Weedn, A.V. Bennett, Cord Pereira, Brent Peus and Tyler Greenwald as team captains.
Nick Busch, third from right, hosted youths from local agencies for “Farm Fish Fun Day” at his family’s Folded Hills Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, and was assisted by friends, from left, Miguel Weedn, A.V. Bennett, Cord Pereira, Brent Peus and Tyler Greenwald as team captains. (Judy Crowell / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Folded Hills Ranch, the Busch family ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, was the setting last Saturday for a charity event titled “Farm Fish Fun Day,” a full day of fun for junior high school kids and an opportunity to make new friends and enjoy companionship and team spirit while benefiting from outdoor sports such as fishing, baseball and Frisbee competition.

Nick Busch, a Santa Barbara High School junior and son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Busch, came up with the idea several months ago and was assisted by Tyler Greewald, Brent Peus, Cord Periera (Santa Barbara High School students), Miguel Weedn and A.V. Bennet (Bishop Diego High School students) helping out as team captains.

More than 40 eager kids from Girls Inc., the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, the Police Activities League and the Storyteller Children’s Center, joined by two adult counselors from each agency, were divided into teams of Red, Blue, Green and Yellow and given T-shirts to wear for the day and to take home.

For some it was their first chance to experience the thrill of landing a bass; watch pigs come running for their "slop" food; carefully collect a freshly laid egg from nesting farm hens; get up close and personal with horses; make friends with the Sicilian donkeys; feed imperfect veggies to the llamas and Nigerian dwarf goats; hit a home run on a polo field; learn about organic farming from master farmer Abel Basch; watch a segway polo demonstration; catch and pet a squealing KuneKune baby piglet; and simply enjoy the quiet beauty of Folded Hills Ranch and the ranch’s adjoining organic farm and Farm Stead, located at 2323 Old Coast Hwy. Road in Gaviota, off Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Buellton. Homemade granola, olive oil, honey and homebaked snacks together with certified seasonal organic produce are offered for sale the old fashioned way — by the honor system.

At the Farm Stead, the kids were able to meet even more farm animals — friendly KuneKune pigs, llamas, miniature horses and the goats who love to climb up the wooden "slide" to greet visitors and munch on offered carrots and lettuce.

"During the planning stages of the event, I had no idea how much fun this would bring to these kids," Nick Busch said. "For some of them, it was their first time playing baseball and fishing. The way their eyes would light up after hitting a base hit or catching a bass has made me realize how lucky I am to be able to have the privileges that some of these kids have never been given.”

Yellow Team captain Tyler Greenwald recounted his feelings about the day: “I will never forget one of the kid’s words to me, ‘This is the best day of my life.’”

Cord Periera, captain of the Blue Team, said, “It was amazing to see the reactions of the kids after catching a fish and visiting the Farm Stead.”

At the day’s end, all attendees agreed that Farm Fish Fun Day had lived up to its name.

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

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