|Owner:||Sarah & Aurelio Lopez|
Aurelio Lopez was born and spent his early years in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico. A Mixteco indian, he speaks fluent Mixteco, Spanish, and English. With 10 children in the family (Aurelio is the second youngest), Aurelio’s parents grow corn, beans, and coffee… Aurelio has been a farmer all his life! More recently, Aurelio spent just over a decade working for an organic vegetable farm in Watsonville. Though chickens and other livestock are new “crops” for him, Aurelio’s experience with organic farming and the type of production schedule needed to support CSA and farmer’s market sales are what makes Fiesta Farm “go.” For example, whenever things get hard enough to make Sarah cry, Aurelio responds with a reassuring, “Like I always tell you, this is farming.”
Sarah Lopez grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Her first part-time job was taking care of the birds and snakes behind the scenes at a pet store… which makes her parents wonder… Sarah studied natural resource management at the University of Michigan and then returned to the Chesapeake to earn a master’s degree in marine science. Like many east coasties, she ventured west to California in search of gold, and found Aurelio. A former vegetarian, Sarah became interested in raising her own meat, and stumbled upon the growing demand for local and humanely raised meat and dairy products, which led to the creation of the former Surfside Chickens (which became Fiesta Farm). Sarah maintains an off-farm job monitoring water quality on behalf of the irrigated agriculture industry here on the Central Coast. She also manages the Fiesta Farm sales, marketing, and “office.”
Fiesta Farm raising chickens for both meat and eggs, as well as pigs, rabbits, and goats on almost 30 acres of mixed grass pasture and oak forest. They are proud of their “triple bottom line” business which feeds hundreds of local families with nourishing, nutrient-dense foods while maintaining a balance between People, Profit, and Planet.
Aurelio and Sarah Lopez began experimenting with pasture-raised chickens in 2009 after reading one of Joel Salatin’s books. They started off living in a barn above a single acre of rented land, moonlighting as chicken farmers while both working full-time day jobs.