A portion of the proceeds to benefit The Julia Child Foundation
Organic farmer, Jay Ruskey, has been at the forefront of commercially growing exotic and rare fruit species at his farm perched on the side of the Santa Ynez Mountains above Goleta since the mid 1990s. Today, Jay is doing something that no one else is doing in the Continental United States… growing coffee as a commercial crop. The coffee industry is watching his project closely – already several producers from Ethiopia (original source of coffee trees) have visited his property and Starbucks even recently filmed a coffee commercial on site. Join Jay for a tour of his coffee farm.
Walking tour duration:
Details of the tour:
The tour will be led by Good Land Organics owner and grower, Jay Ruskey. You will be welcomed with fresh coffee, freshly made juice and seasonal fruit. Jay will give an overview of the coffee research collaboration that has been conducted with the assistance of the University of California Small Farm Program. He will then lead you on a moderate level hike where Jay will explain the dynamics of new crop adaptation and integration of organic tree fruit agriculture.
The walk will take you through the eclectic mix of exotic fruit varieties that grow on the farm. Upon reaching the coffee you will discover the dozen Arabica varieties at various stages of development. Here you will learn about the coffee planting trial and what it has taken to establish the orchard. The trees always have fruit so you are guaranteed to see beans on the trees. Each person will have an opportunity to taste a fresh picked coffee berry and discover the original flavors of the coffee bean, while discussing coffee cultivation and post harvest processing.
25 people maximum per tour, 10 people minimum
About Good Land Organics
Good Land Organics™ is located in the hills of Goleta, California, two miles from the Pacific Coast. This certified organic land is called Condor Ridge Ranch, and is a unique ecosystem, unlike almost any other in the area, that allows them to grow a diversity of exotic sub-tropical crops. The soil is a rich clay loam free of chemical pesticides. Santa Barbara’s winters are mild and typically frost-free, while mild summer days start with foggy mornings. These climate patterns contribute to their ability to grow the specialty sub-tropical fruits others cannot.
Calimoya™ Brand Cherimoyas and Hass avocados have been their predominant crops. In recent years, through a technique called inter-planting, they have added dragon fruit, passion fruit, coffee beans and caviar limes, among other produce in the works. Now, the farm boasts nearly one hundred different, organic fruiting plants.
Our biggest challenge is that we have no flat land. Rather, we farm up and down gentle (and in places, not so gentle), slopes. Organic cultivation requires extensive hand labor. We also must always work on keeping the land well graded to ensure adequate drainage during the rainy season. Most of the good flat, arable land in the Goleta area – an area that has long been revered with the moniker: “The Good Land” – has been taken over by residential and commercial development. Land values have become high, and farmland becomes more and more scarce. Fortunately, though, the local community continues to provide a good market for the local farms, and our website has allowed us to reach out to an even larger market.
Our approach to farming some may deem “unconventional”, though many of the basic tenets we embrace stem from practices in sustainable crop production. Through the years, we often have bucked local ways to experiment with new techniques, and introduce new crops, sometimes to a chorus of traditional nay-sayers who were accustomed to, and content with maintaining the region’s classic mono-crops of lemons and avocados. Our experiments and innovations have been informed by many sources of inspiration, including my Agribusiness Marketing degree from the famed agricultural department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; my long term involvement with the California Rare Fruit Growers, and the University California Farm Extension Service, along with a handful of visionaries and mentors who have helped to guide this journey towards a way to make local agriculture exciting, viable and environmentally enriching. Our loyal customers, and the agriculture industry have recognized these efforts. In 2010 I was honored to receive the innovative small farmer of the year award from University of California.Our work doesn’t stop here. We have many goals that we have not yet achieved. Good Land Organics™ will continue to strive to be the best steward of the good land that we can be, and to work with our neighboring farmers, in order to continually delight our customers, and to ensure that California can uphold its rich agricultural heritage in today’s evolving world.
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