It is hard to believe that we have already reached the zenith of the summer growing season. I swear, I can already feel the difference in the light. Or maybe, it's just that the sun finally came out today. Lol. Either way, this time of year reminds me of time and of seasons passing. It makes us re-evaluate and think about where we have come from and where we are going. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share our backstory with you.
Six years ago, in September, Jason and I were given a really awesome opportunity from my father. He gifted us an heirloom wooden wagon and helped us to get permitted to sell his vegetables in an unkempt little corner, in the center of Carpinteria. We cleaned up our little nook, rehabilitated the wagon, and opened shop selling everything we could harvest ourselves from my father’s Carpinteria farm each and every morning. From that, the Farm Cart was born, and it was awesome! We had a great little business started practically over-night. We provided local, fresh, organic produce; something of great value to our community! Unfortunately, or as we have come to see in hindsight; fortunately, this arrangement didn't last long. My father was forced to close his farm in Carpinteria and move his operation up to Nojoqui park road.
We quickly realized it wasn't reasonable to drive to my father’s new farm every day, and instead we began farming on our own. We started with a rototiller and a half-acre of land. Eventually we progressed to a semi-broken tractor, farming 2 acres. As we struggled and wrestled with the realities of farming, a really cool thing happened- Other farmers took us in! They saw us genuinely struggling to learn their craft and they offered us guidance and support.
Robert Abbott drove his tractor over and disced our first field; Jose Alcantar loaned us everything he had and gave us the keys to harvest his fields when ours were short. Jacob Grant would answer any question we ever had with a smile, and Father Tom was always there to offer his support in every way. While we had some difficulties trying to grow produce that we could be proud of, we came to understand exactly what it took to put this beautiful food on our tables. We came to truly appreciate the practices of the farmers around us in a very deep way.
We stopped farming our 2 acres when the drought got really severe two years ago. The deer came down one night and ate all of Jason's strawberry plantings. It was devastating to him. We had been struggling with the squirrels eating our crops, but the deer were another level of destruction. Jason and I took it as an omen; we decided to shift gears for a season.
When we stopped farming, we put that time and energy into raising our children. All the while, Jason continued learning, kept reading, and spent more time with the farmers around us. We started buying all our produce from these guys and spent the time to deeply understand their practices. It is funny how things work out, and how these roadblocks we encounter turn into blessings. If we wouldn't have stopped farming then, we wouldn't have been able to build such a solid community of farmers around us. We would still be trying to do it ourselves…and would not be doing it very well. I dare say our produce would not be that sexy...
Now we can proudly say that we work closely with the best growers in our area. We treat them like family and that they treat us like family. Jason is proud to call Alex Frecker, Jose Alcantar, Tom Shepherd, Jesus Ocampo, Will Carlton, and (even the hard to bond with) John Givens friends now. We do the best that we can to support them in everything that they do because we believe wholeheartedly in what they do. We are organic because organic is the only way to do this.
With that said, we are insanely grateful that you have trusted us to put the food on your table. We do not take this task lightly at all. We truly believe that food is medicine and we have made it our mission to bring you the best medicine available.
p.s. Jason has a new, tiny farm again. (and is stoked!) He has 75 chickens and 1 acre of mixed vegetables that he is farming using the bio-dynamic principles of Rudolf Steiner. He gets to wrestle with pests again, sweat in the sun, and share all the magic with our kids. Here's some pictures of our little garden.
p.p.s. Unfortunately for us, all the food he grows, (which he will tell you is not even close to as good as John Givens yet), is eaten in the student cafeteria at Pacifica Graduate Institute.