1856 Saturn Boulevard San Diego, California 92154
Tours and picking: 2nd Saturday of the Month (at the time of our visit.)
It was a quiet Saturday morning and I was sipping my coffee in bed with my cozy P.J.'s on, when all of the sudden the phone rang.
"Hello?" I said.
In a perky morning voice my girlfriend said, "Hey do you want to go to Suzie's Farm with me and pick vegetables?"
"Sure," I said.
"Great, I'll pick you up in 15 minutes. It costs $10 and is by the border in Otay Mesa."
"Uhhhhh, ok," I said.
Well, I finished my coffee in three gulps, brushed my teeth, and for me dressed for the farm. I slipped on my Talbot jeans, followed by a Liz Claiborn brown oxford blouse, leather brown baseball cap, knitted scarf I made, barn denim jacket, and grabbed my Dooney and Bourke, which by the way had no cash in it (see photo below).
SoCal Shrooms: A Gourmet Trip.
The Seaside Baker.
History of Suzie's Farm
Onward and forward we go. The tour begins with the story about the farm and how it got it's name, acreage, length of time in operation, and a bit about the location. Well, first things first...the idea that planted the seed was the desire for this mom to have healthy organic food for her children. She was passionate about her children and their nutrition, so much so she very convincingly got her husband on board to purchase an acre of land and grow organic vegetables. Long story short, now in operation for about 2 years, and presently 80 acres, is Suzie's Organic Farm. And no, the farm is not named after this ambitious mom, but after the family dog. Different sections of the farm are however named after her children. Not only is Suzie's Farm certified organic, but all produce is grown from Heirloom seeds, meaning they are at least 50 years old and not hybridized. The location of the farm is unique in that it is literally an estuary and hill away from the California-Mexico border. Also, the farm is only a mile from the coast. The area is picturesque with the south of the farm bordered by trees of the estuary, the ocean to the west, and the north...border patrol...really!
Looking towards part of the estuary that runs along the South and East of the farm.
The Tour and Harvest
First stop was the herb garden. The air was fragrant with the smells of rosemary, lavender, marjoram, and I believe some others. Even if you did not want to clip some to take home, it was nice to just roll some of the rosemary leaves between your thumb and forefinger then follow-up with a refreshing inhale.
Fava Bean Forest (P.S. It seems like a forest to me because I am only 5 feet tall.) :
After clipping some herbs, that is if you brought clippers (note to self: bring clippers), then it was off to what I called fava bean forest. This clipper free zone was all about plucking off the fat juicy pods with your hands. The black nasty things are aphids. Not all the pods had them, but the good news is they provide food for the abundant lady bugs. I found myself a quiet row and became one with the fava. I got so into it, I completely missed the fact the group had moved on to the next field. With my hands dark brown from dirt and aphids, the Dooney smeared with squashed aphids, camera around my neck, and Costco bag beginning to brim with fava, my zen moment was disrupted by my cell phone ringing. Making the Dooney dirtier I reach into my purse and feverishly dig for my phone.
"Where in the world are you?" says my friend half laughing.
"Uhhhh....picking these fava beans. Where are you?"
"We have moved on! Come out of there!"
I made my way out of fava forest emerging with my hat about to fall off to one side, camera sloshing back and forth, and nearly tripping on my facocked scarf. I casually spotted the group...far from where I was and journeyed over.
Mustard Greens, Spinach, and Red Frill...oh my!
Next, it was on to the mustard greens. Wow! These taste like wasabi! I am thinking maybe I can use this for my bitter herb on Passover. This stuff is sinus clearing fabulous! As I was gracefully pulling these beautiful leaves, ok ripping because I do not have clippers, remember...I uhhh kinda pulled up a whole plant by accident. Thank goodness no one saw! I dug it a cozy hole and sent it back home. A few rows down was the spinach. So again, I spent some time gingerly ripping the leaves and placing them into the Costco bag with now fava beans, a million black aphids, and mustard greens. The piece de resistance was the red frill. It tastes like a peppered potato! De-li-cious!
|Mustard greens in a beautiful reddish aubergine.|
Spinach amidst stinging nettle, which really stings, but goes away in 10 minutes. I found out first hand.
The Farm Stand:
Please note, the farm obviously grew more vegetables than we were aloud to harvest. It is based on availability and they do not want any childish fights, so there has to be enough for everyone to pick. The good news is what you saw out there, but could not pick, you could buy. Below are some photos of some of the items you could select from. They also have organic free range eggs in a rainbow of colors, sold by the dozen. I bought some broccoflower. It was sweet and creamy.
I highly recommend if you live in San Diego County checking this place out. I will definitely go again, especially since I staked out the closest Starbucks. If you do not live in the county, find a farm nearby your community and go. It was a great experience! I have been berry picking and apple picking, but never had been to an organic vegetable farm. I will go better prepared next time, like with gloves maybe and clippers...oh and leave the Dooney behind and go with a fanny pack. Below are the fruits of my labor. I made a delicous fava bean hummus, and mixed green salad that I will be sharing the recipes for soon!
Left to right: Fava beans, mustard greens, spinach, broccoflower, red frill.