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Tourist attractions in the Santa Ynez Valley taking precautionary measures during extreme heat

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jul 13, 2023

Beginning Thursday and continuing throughout the weekend, the sun is beating down on the Santa Ynez Valley.

But as families spend their summers checking out the nearby towns and their attractions, local businesses are taking extra measures to keep everyone safe.

“With all the rain that we had come in, it was a little cooler at the beginning of the summer, so, I was wondering if it was going to start heating up," said Rudy Franco, manager of the Foxen Canyon Ranch in Los Olivos. "And, it has started heating up now."

Through September, it is lavender-picking season at Franco’s farm, and as the heat of summer continues to pick up, Franco says precautionary measures are in place for his employees, as well as his visitors.

“All our picnic areas are shaded with a lovely oak tree and umbrella," Franco said. "Out here, I need to make sure that I stay hydrated. Also, these are my babies, I got to make sure the plants stay hydrated and are healthy."

He says when temperatures loom close to triple digits, the Foxen Canyon Ranch staff stops work in the fields altogether to keep employees safe.

However, Sara Swenson, who was checking out the lavender for the first time Thursday, said the July sunshine was just what she needed.

“It is crawling up there. It is pretty, pretty hot. I am loving it though, I am mostly exposed to 50-degree weather so I am really enjoying it out here right now,” Swenson said.

Meanwhile, a few miles away off Highway 246, families bore the heat to hang out with some of the Santa Ynez Valley’s feathered friends.

“We are coming here to feed the ostriches!” said Sable Jonsson of Ventura, who was visiting the farm with her daughter Thursday.

Blake Fowler, general manager of Ostrichland USA says throughout the summer, his family’s ostrich farm ramps up shady spots for visitors and staff to cool down, with additional measures in place for his birds.

“We have got six sprinklers going out here for all the birds," Fowler said. "They have access to all the water; plus, the wind pushes it all back this way. We have several misters here throughout the farm, too."

And similar to Franco and his staff at the lavender ranch, Fowler says during the peak of summer, heat safety is a top priority.

“I have no problem giving anyone 10 minutes here to take a break in the shade or whatever you need," he explained. "Because we are constantly running and my employees are moving to grab these bowls and get the flow of traffic moving here."

Both Franco and Fowler say if you are planning a trip to see the ostriches or lavender this weekend, it is a good idea to bring a hat or sunglasses, and also think about coming early before it gets too hot.

Ostrichland USA and the Foxen Canyon Ranch said that their farms suffered extensive damage from this winter’s storms, adding that a lot of work went into getting their sites ready for the wave of summer visitors.