in Watsonville and Hollister
Years farming: Andy has farmed for
the last 20 years in various capacities from farmworker
to owner, from large farm to small.
Total acres farmed: 25
Key people: Andy, farmer and rave king;
Julia, farm wife, CEO, mom, email elf, etc.; España,
foreman, tractor driver, all around repairman; Jose
España, head harvester; Lourdes Duarte, head
Range of crops: greens, root crops,
tubers and herbs, berries, peppers, tomatoes, garlic,
melons, artichokes, and more besides that.
Marketing methods: CSA and 1 farmers
market, with a small number of carefully selected restaurants
that pick up at the farmers market
Soil type: silty loam
Regenerative practices: cover cropping,
crop rotation, fallowing
Length of season: all year
|| Posted June 2,
2004: At our San Francisco farmers market stand we often
provide our customers with helpful recipes printed on slips of paper.
What the public actually does with the vegetables they purchase from
us, once they are in the privacy of their own homes, is entirely up
to them, as our most recent harvest of root crops illustrates.
As spring advances and the planting schedule is translated from the
little squares on my calendar to the actual rows in the field it seems
I never have enough land for everything to fit. This year, rather
than reduce my plantings I decided to harvest the carrots and parsnips
that remained in the field, top them, bag them, and put them into
storage to free up some ground.
I don’t have much refrigerator space. When I saw how much
product was coming out of the ground I checked in with my friend
Dick Peixoto, the owner of Lakeside Organics. Lakeside has a huge
cooler and, fortunately for me, it wasn’t full. Dick was gracious
enough to give me some space. In went the roots. Of course not all
of the carrots were straight as arrows - some were kinky, some were
forked, some had ‘anatomically correct’ rootlets. This
doesn’t bother me. I sell them all.
Upon observing some of the more cosmetically challenged carrots
in my “pack” Dick was moved to remark that during a
recent carrot harvest in the Arizona desert they had had to leave
behind on the dirt bins and bins worth of cull carrots. I wasn’t
sure if he was being envious or critical so I rushed to tell him
just who is paying cash for my weirder vegetables.
The straight and narrow isn’t for everyone. Some farmers
market customers are so frugal or warm-hearted that they can’t
bear to see a crooked carrot get thrown away so they especially
seek them out. THIS JUST IN - Their dollars are worth 100 cents,
too. And then there are the consumers who dress up their carrot
in underpants - their money is good, as well. I’m not lying.
One shopper of mine is no chef, but she is a photographer and she
likes to take funny carrots whose funny shapes make them erotically
suggestive and dress them up in tiny lingerie she sews herself.
Then she photographs the roots in artistic poses. Why not? Who says
we have to eat every carrot we buy? Some people find more fulfillment
with arts and crafts.
Another customer of ours sorts through our displays of carrots
to find roots with curves and spurs suggestive of rumps and penises
and photographs them without dressing, “au natural.”
When she has enough photos she’s proud of she plans to put
on an exhibit. She’s asked me if I wouldn’t advertise
her show in the email newsletter we send out each week to our farmers
market customers. You bet I will. With any luck her show will be
banned by the authorities and then we can sue to protect our first
amendment rights. My farmers market stall will be famous. Everyone
knows that both fame and infamy help to promote a product. I sell
carrots. You folks can grow straight and narrow carrots for the
one pound cello pack, but save me the kinky ones. I’m frugal
and warm-hearted and I don’t throw anything away.
I smart? Carelessness, poor planning and neglect
leads Mariquita's Andy Griffin to discover the true
value of a strange old heirloom crop--black Spanish
April 20, 2004
off to the many sombreros of a farmer Quack lawyer,
truck driver, fake chef, and borderline carnival barker:
all in a day’s work for a farmer like Andy Griffin
… and once in a while he gets to contemplate nature.
April 2, 2004
watermelon radish: Conspiracy from the left or the right
… or just a darned good heirloom daikon? Those
were among the suspicions raised by this ancient veggie
at a recent event in Santa Cruz designed to introduce
consumers to local food producers.
March 4, 2004
the influx of cheap Chinese garlic—even in to
Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital of the World”—Mariquita
Farm grows green spring garlic, and banks its garlic
dollars long before the garlic festival in July.
February 13, 2004
riders of the purple goosefoot In Watsonville, California,
the founders of Mariquita CSA discover the value of
this antique cousin to spinach.
March 23, 2004
is the time for shameless self-promotion He can't
plant, cultivate or harvest--the fields are a swamp--but
Mariquita's Andy Griffin can sell shares and hustle