Farm eight [on March 8] was the beautiful Forbidden Fruit Orchards in Lompoc, CA. They grow organic blueberries on a portion of their 100 acre farm. On the rest of their land they grow a variety of conventionally farmed fruits as well as green tea & honey.
The owner, Sandra, is a strong advocate of conventional farming and is more of a believer in locally grown produce than organic. She said that, if done properly, conventional farming is not harmful to your health or the land. Problems arise when it’s improperly used….which frequently happens. Having received her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Delaware in Plant Science and being arboretum trained at Longwood and Winterthur gives her a valuable perspective.
Their fruit is picked by hand and shipped fresh. They sell to restaurants, some farmer’s markets, and to distributors like Earl’s Organic Produce. The farm is beautiful however the outlook on small farms is anything but. With profit margins getting smaller, more and more cheap & substandard food coming in from China or Mexico, and the large farms continually getting subsidized by the fed, it’s difficult to see how small farms, let alone organic, will be able to make it in the following years.
More photos here.