General/ Organic

Ojai’s Rio Gozo Farm – New CSA Venture

In early May, Rio Gozo Farm owner Steve Sprinkel announced the expansion of his Ojai Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program “down river” to residents in Ventura. CSA is a relatively new movement in the United States starting in the mid-80’s. It is a farm program offering subscribers a weekly box of seasonal, fresh produce and a chance to have a direct connection to the food put on their table.

Four acres of the Rio Gozo Farm have been dedicated to this new venture. Farmer John Fonteyn is managing it and successfully delivered his first CSA shares to Ventura residents a couple of weeks ago.


John was born in Santa Barbara. As a young man he grew up in Santa Barbara, lived in Texas and northern California with his family. It was in San Francisco that he began a career cooking and working in catering. John says that “Growing up in San Francisco provided me the opportunity to eat the finest and most diverse cuisine in the U.S. but traveling forced me to live and eat outside my comfort zone. It was this experience that most profoundly impacted my long term vision for food culture. To make a long story short, I wanted to know food from the bed to the table. I reasoned that I could not access its full potential without both producing and preparing it myself.”

John had plenty of experience preparing and serving food while in San Francisco. When he relocated to Ojai about nines years ago he began producing food working in organic farming and food production. He ultimately landed at The Farmer and the Cook where he was the restaurant’s farm manager. John says that “ this is first year where I am solely responsible for the production of a 4 acre plot dedicated exclusively to the Ventura CSA. The learning curve is steep and I still seek Steve’s (Sprinkel) council on a regular basis.”

When asked what he likes best about the Ventura CSA program, he says it’s the members. When asked to elaborate, he says “I like people and one of the best ways to get to know them is to share a meal. By working together to co-produce a sustainable food system I believe we are shifting the dominant paradigm from one of consumption to one of communion. We’re looking forward to putting local food on your plate”.


For subscriptions to this new organic Community Supported Agriculture program for Ventura residents, contact John or Elizabeth at or call (805) 272-8170. The cost of the Ventura CSA share is $25 per week. There are about 7- 12 items in the share boxes and items vary according to season. Pick up is in downtown Ventura on the patio outside Bikram Yoga Studio on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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  • dancingvegan (3 comments)
    July 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    What a great idea!! A sense of one with the community!!

    What an awesome price for an awesome service & product!!


  • Chia (326 comments)
    July 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Great way to get fresh farm produce to those who don’t have immediate access to a local farmers’ market. I like the photos. Thanks for this article!

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