In an attempt to escape the winter weather of Ohio, Spink and I took a week’s vacation in San Diego. Despite the cooler temps (highs in the low 60s), we did enjoy full days of SUN! We took the opportunity to visit a few farms in the region in order to learn from those with more experience. We found farms through Local Harvest and a simple email exchange set up a couple of tours.
Our first tour took us to Suzie’s Farm. Even though we didn’t get a chance to meet the owners, they have become our heroes. Ellie, their full-time farm manager, took time to show us around the farm and share a bit of the farm’s history. In 2009, they were a 2-acre farm and had been growing and selling microgreens for 25 years. When 40 acres nearby became available for lease, they jumped on it without hesitation. The farm is now up to 75 acres and about 400-500 CSA members! They also have relationships with several restaurants (some of which we sampled….super tasty!) and a local Whole Foods. When Ellie, originally from PA, questioned why grocery stores everywhere carry produce from CA, she pointed out the need for localized food systems. Suzie’s Farm’s philosophy seems to be centered on the idea that they can grow high quality food for their community and in the process they are trying to inspire others to get on board…easier to do in CA, no doubt, but we are inspired nonetheless. Here are a couple pics of their amazing farm.
Our next visit was to Seabreeze Organic Farm for a self-tour. The farm, surrounded by trees in the suburbs, is 2 acres and celebrates diversity. The farm grows vegetables and fruits and has chickens, a turkey, a goat and a pony. We were impressed by their use of space and their on-farm input development. On part of the farm they use a vertical growing system to increase growing space, eliminate weeding, reduce water consumption, and make it easier to harvest. Around the farm we saw many compost bins and the chicken and animal waste could be used on the farm as well. Unfortunately, we did not meet the owner, but we chatted briefly with Corry and Marj who work on the farm. Seabreeze Organic Farm services 180 customers a week, delivering directly to their doorstep.