Farm Learning :: An Urban Farm Site

This post is the second in a series of posts that share some wonderful places we visited on a trip to California that we won (for two) through Vita Health Fresh Market in the fall of 2012. We have been dreaming of living on a farm for about a decade and are always looking for unique learning opportunities. On this trip we visited several farms and fantastic restaurants, coming home refreshed and inspired.

Pulling into this little farm oasis, tucked right into an urban setting, was exhilarating – yes, we get pretty excited about food and farms! Fairview Gardens is an educational urban farm site packed with learning opportunities, breathtaking beauty, and wonderful people. It’s also one of, if not the oldest organic farm in southern California.

The staff were occupied with a workshop that was taking place right then, and so we set out on their well organized self-guided tour. There are informative sign posts set about the property with information on the animals, crops, and growing practices. Our self-guided tour took us around the farm to see the goats and their creative straw-filled adobe shelter, which wasn’t quite strong enough when matched against their horns. We had a chat with the chickens, and then wandered among the vegetables, herbs, and a variety of fruit trees – including pomegranates. There was something sacred about standing under the avocado trees, which had been planted in the 1950s. What had me almost weak in the knees, though, was the produce washing station. I’ve had designs on this kind of thing for quite a while – on a smaller scale.

It was incredibly inspiring to be on this urban farm where so much learning takes place – we saw so much of our own dream of a farm education site being lived out there.

Our tummies were rumbling after immersing ourselves in this delicious produce, so we popped into the Goleta Farmers’ Market. We made out like bandits with fresh sourdough bread, organic butter, avocado honey, almond butter, organic strawberries – all local – and then found the farm stand for Fairview Farms where we bought some carrots and a couple of gorgeous pomegranates from the very trees we had just seen at the farm.

On a side note, the almond grower we met at the market also happened to tell us about a program called Mennonite Your Way – a hospitality network of folks open to sharing their homes with travellers. We used airbnb a bit which was great, but it was also neat to learn of this little program.

About an hour of gorgeous roadside vineyards later, we rolled into Los Alamos, where we dined on the back patio of a quaintly stylish little eatery called Bell Street Farm and Market. It is the sweetest restaurant I think I’ve ever seen, and the food, with locally sourced ingredients, was amazing. The whole town of Los Alamos was out of a story book. Picture perfect storefronts, all with a western aesthetic. There were two or three restaurants in this tiny town, serving local organic food, to boot.

Not that we could ask for anything more after a day like this, we stopped off at Avila Beach to dip our toes in the ocean and play in the sand – Mike, proudly donning his new Bell Street hat.

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* Photos by Kris Antonius and Mike Berg

* We are not receiving any compensation from Vita Health Fresh Market for sharing stories about our trip or sharing their link. We have been happy customers of our local Vita Health Fresh Market since we were married almost twelve years ago, and still shop there today. The staff  there have seen us through two pregnancies and multiple food allergies and are so loving and kind to our children.

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