Last month I was lucky enough to get a job to photograph Forbidden Fruit Orchards in Santa Barbara. Started by Sandy Newman in 2002; she dreamed of owning a farm ever since she majored in plant science back in college. Having a real farm is a fantasy of many urban farmers, so it was interesting to talk to Sandy, who had her dreams come true.
Sandy originally wanted to plant a vineyard on her 100 acre spread that she found on the internet. But after talking to a local farm agent, she learned that vineyards required having enough money to go eight years without turning a profit! He advised her to start with blueberries so that’s what she did. Her high quality, organic blueberries have become very popular and profitable, and a first step towards her vineyard dream. In the cool coastal climate she’s able to grow and harvest from September to July and she says the sandy soil is not a problem. She has nets to keep the birds out and wells for irrigation. She mulches to keep evaporation to a minimum. I asked her what was the hardest part about growing organically and she said it’s not insects it’s weeds. She currently sells to nine farmers markets all over Southern California and has expanded her farm to other specialty crops such as currants, mulberries, tea leaves, and products such as honey, jam, syrup, sorbet and others. She did start her vineyards in 2007 and is now selling her Cebada Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Sandy’s words of caution: farming is tons of work. It used to be that her farm was her escape, but now “my vacation is to leave.”
Check out her new website (and my photos) http://www.forbiddenfruitorchards.com/ Designed by Jamie Leighton at RevolutionCreatives.com having a great website is another step to a successful modern farm.