Los Angeles

Catfish Farm Tour & Fish Fry

Come join us for a fascinating tour of sustainable aquaculture in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

When: Saturday, May 22, 2004 — 10:00 AM
Where: Ironwood Ranch, near Arvin, CA (San Joaquin Valley)
Cost: $45.00

Ironwood Ranch is located 1-1/2 hours North of Los Angeles at the foot of the Tehachapi Mountains near the town of Arvin. There, Randy and Gail Heinrich raise and sell an average of 3,000 lbs of channel catfish and carp per week for Los Angeles area restaurants and fish markets. This unusual opportunity will allow you to see all aspects of a commercial hatchery and harvesting operation from beginning to end.

Catfish are spawned in holding ponds and the egg masses are transferred to the hatchery where they are cultivated until young catfish–fingerlings–are large enough to be released back into the holding ponds. There they are allowed to grow until they reach the market demand of an average of 2 to 3 lbs, and are netted for live transport to Los Angeles area markets.

After the tour, stay for lunch and a big catfish fry! Bring binoculars and enjoy the ambiance of a commercial fishery that doubles as a wetland sanctuary for an astonishing variety of California freshwater and marine shore birds. Bring an ice chest and you can bring some fresh fish home! If you like water skiing, Ironwood Ranch hosts numerous water skiing events throughout the year. Details are available from Randy & Gail after the tour.

For preliminary reservations please e-mail Jordan Vannini at jordan_vannini@hotmail.com

For reservation confirmation, please send a check for $45.00 payable to Slow Food LA no later than May 14, 2004 to

Ironwood Ranch Tour
c/o Jordan Vannini
PO Box 91536
Pasadena CA 91109


Directions: Take Interstate 5 North out of Los Angeles for approximately 90 miles. Shortly after descending the Grapevine into the San Joaquin Valley, exit at Laval Road East (exit 219A) and bear right onto Wheeler Ridge Road. Continue through the signal and stay on Wheeler Ridge Road for approximately 14 miles. Take the left hand turn at Millux Road (where three rows of tall power transmission lines cross the road) and proceed 1-1/4 miles past a series of lakeside developments called Paradise Lakes and Ski West Village. Slow down as the paved road turns into a narrower earthen levee and continue on the dirt road slowly until you pass through a green metal gate and arrive at a grassy area next to another series of lakes and ponds. A Slow Food Event sign will direct you where to park. This is the meeting area for the beginning of the 10:00 o’clock tour.

Bring sturdy shoes, sun block, and a hat as we will be walking a respectable distance along on earth levees.