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Our Farm Stand
We have leased the farmland around the Redman Hirahara House for the past 10 years and are delighted to be able to offer what we grow to the public at the little farmstand on the edge of the property. Located conveniently just off Highway 1 at Riverside Drive in Watsonville, you can stop in here to load up on fresh strawberries, or to buy your week’s lettuce, greens, potatoes, herbs, artichokes, scallions, squash, and other vegetables and fruits. We always have a good variety to sell. In addition to our own certified organic produce, we also sometimes offer a few sought-after items from other local organic farms, including avocados from Old Adobe Orchard, eggs from Fiesta Farm and organic flowers from Steve’s cousin Josh at Thomas Farm.
Strawberries and Blueberries
OK, so we know that half of you mainly come for the berries. We choose the varieties of berries we grow for their excellent flavor and we can pick them ripe because we are not shipping them across the state or country. They come right out of the field and into the farmstand or our CSA boxes.
As organic farmers, we rotate our strawberry patch every year to foil the fungal diseases that build up in the soil. Once we’ve planted a patch into berries, we won’t grow berries on that same ground for at least 4 years. (Conventional growers fumigate their fields every year to kill these pathogens.) For 2014 we’ll grow about 3 acres of Albion strawberries in the field behind the Redman House. We expect to have strawberries from late March or early April to October.
Blueberries have a shorter season (late spring to mid summer). We grow four varieties of southern highbush blueberries at our home site. They are SouthMoon, O’Neal, Misty, and Jewel.
We are mainly a CSA farm (people get a box of produce from the farm every week at pick-up locations from Carmel to Palo Alto. If you’re interested in becoming a CSA member you can sign up here.) So, we need to grow a very wide variety of vegetables and fruits to be able to provide a diverse selection for our customers. That means that we have a wide variety of vegetables available at the farmstand too. Here are some of the vegetables that we grow: artichokes, beans (green, yellow, romano), beets (red, gold, chioggia), bok choy, braising mix, broccoli, butternut squash, cabbage (green, red, and savoy), carrots, cauliflower (white, purple and orange), celery, chard (red, green, gold), cilantro, collards, dill, fennel, green onions, kale (green, lacinato, red russian), leeks, lettuce (red and green leaf, red and green butter, little gem, romaine), mei quin choi, potatoes (red, gold, purple, fingerling), pumpkins (jack o’lantern, rouge vif d’etampes, sugar pie), onions, peppers, radishes, romanesco, salad mix, spinach, summer squash (cousa, three colors of patty pan, yellow crookneck, zucchini), tomatoes, turnips, and winter squash (many interesting types). I may have left some things out.
To find out what’s at the stand before you go, you can check our Facebook page. Our Farmstand Manager Extraordinaire Mike posts each week what’s available.
Apples and Pears
If you’ve come to the stand in the fall, you may have already tried some of the heirloom varieties of apples that we grow. We have a few acres of Hudson’s Golden Gem, Rubanette, Waltanna, and Jonagold apples at our home farm that started to bear in 2010 and continue to give us a small apple crop each year.
In 2013 our pears also came into production! We have several varieties, including three French butter pears (Hardy Beurré, Beurré Superfine, Easter Beurré), Harrows Delight, Warren, and Seckel. Seckels are an American variety, developed near Philadelphia at the end of the 18th century. They’re small and not suited for long distance traveling, but are fine textured, juicy, and syrupy—a perfect fruit for the farmstand, farmers market, or CSA.
Avocados and Eggs
We’ve been blessed with the farmstand location to be able to sell our produce and we like to be able to provide access to market to some other small local growers who don’t have a farmstand of their own! Old Adobe Orchard is a small certified organic avocado farm off of Larkin Valley Road and we love their avocados.
We also hear your requests for free range chicken eggs. We’re excited to be able to offer free range chicken eggs this year from Fiesta Farm, run by Sarah and Aurelio Lopez. Aurelio worked for High Ground Organics for 11 years as a field hand and tractor driver and we’re excited to see him and Sarah launching into the free range chicken business. They raise their chickens using the “pastured poultry” model, with portable chicken coops (“chicken tractors”) that they move every two weeks to give their chickens new grassy fields to scratch in.
We love being able to offer flowers at our farmstand, not just because they are so beautiful. The certified organic field grown cut flowers that Steve’s cousin Josh Thomas grows represent an important principle of organic growing–that you buy organic not just for your own health, but for the health of workers and the environment too. No, you’re not going to eat them, but the fact is that most flowers that people buy today are grown in countries where the pesticide regulations are weak and workers and the environment suffer serious effects, especially in greenhouse growing where chemical exposures are more concentrated for the workers. So, you should feel good about buying the flowers that were grown up the road apiece without chemicals, rather than across the world with chemicals that may even be banned here. It does help that they’re beautiful, though.
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