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The difficult search for farmable land in SB county.

Hi my favorite people. Well it’s misting and foggy outside but your box is looking more like summer than it has since, well, summer! Those zucchinis are looking hella good alongside my favorite spring onions in the entire world, spring torpedo onions. How about a rad veggie scramble for breakfast tomorrow? Or some veggie tacos with sweet potatoes for dinner tonight? Ok great.

So for this week’s email I wanted to just talk about farm land in SB because ima be real, it’s really hard to find it. For the last few months, Jose Alcantar’s beautiful small five acre property (pictured above) on Bailard Ave in Carpinteria has been on the market. And supposedly it’s in escrow right now with the county of Santa Barbara. We believe it will be developed into a low income housing but that is not 100% sure so please do not quote us on that. We need more homes in SB and definitely more affordable homes. I could not agree more and I understand this is a huge controversial subject… land development. The point of this email is to be just be aware that organic land is extremely hard to come by and that’s why our main farmers are being pushed north into Buellton.

For those of you that are new to our program, my father is Tom Shepherd and he’s been farming here in Santa Barbara forever. Growing up, I never lived on any of the farms but I was lucky enough to live in a track home here in Carpinteria. However my dad moved farms ALL OF THE TIME. I can count off the top of my head twenty different farms and in total, my father has farmed 32 farms in Santa Barbara. Many of them have been developed, many of them were just bought by new owners, others turned into estates or vineyards, some with water issues or deer or ground squirrel issues, and some with partners that didn’t work out. My dad’s last property is where Alex Frecker (Frecker Farms) is currently farming which is a beautiful 45 acre farm in Carpinteria. The last largest, flat, farm ground in Carpinteria with a well. But now, Tom is farming up in Gaviota on a small but perfect five acre property where he is very happy.

Although Jose’s Carpinteria property is in the air, he is feeling okay because he has a bigger farm in Buellton. But this is a common issue farmers are having to face…. moving outside the “city” to find organic farming land. In fact, most of the farmers we work with have their farms in the Buellton now (Sunrise, Alcantar, Givens, & Tom). And beyond this, we definitely have to reach out to farmers as far as Bakersfield for crops like stone fruit, grapes, corn, and potatoes. Let’s be real guys, good peaches do not grow here in Carpinteria nor really in Santa Barbara County for that matter.

As I figure out our weekly farm boxes, an awesome variety and being local is at the top of my list. I’m always trying to build the best box with what’s available while supporting our favorite farmers. As we approach summer let’s just be super real about where our food comes from and I’ll do my best to share the farmers’s story.

Have a great week! -Katie Lesh

Baby lettuces enjoying Jose’s healthy soil and the wet moist air.

Baby lettuces enjoying Jose’s healthy soil and the wet moist air.

Small Zucchini Plants with lettuces growing in between at Jose’s Bailard Property.

Small Zucchini Plants with lettuces growing in between at Jose’s Bailard Property.

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This is Jose. Jose has been an awesome friend to us and a big supporter in our scene since day one. Jose bought us the Mariachi at our wedding and to be honest, it will be sad to see him not farming in Carpinteria. I will not be able to just pop in and say hi anymore and see what kind of tacos him and his wife are cooking for lunch. But hey things happen. Looks like I’ll be dragging the kids up to Buellton for family day!

Follow Jose on Instagram to see what he’s doing at @alcantar_organics

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Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

Zucchini Fritters

Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Hey dudes, tag us in your pics this week. Want want to see what YOUR cooking!