I don’t know about you but I dig farmers. Prior to meeting Annie I never really thought about it. I’m pretty sure there was no farm producing the Mexican Pizzas or Nachos Bell Grande from Taco Bell. Taco Bell was my farm. However, Annie got me into food. Real food. The stuff that not only tastes good but is good for you.
From there we got into farmers markets and other local farms with the goal of supporting them and the nice side effect was knowing where our food was coming from. All of my babbling brings me to this…Loo Loo Farms in Paso Robles has come a long way in four years. Owners, Zina and Seth, are great people and agreed to answer some questions about their farm.
Check them out and we hope to have more from Zina and Seth in the future. And now…the Q&A:
Matt: How long have you been farming?
Loo Loo Farms: We have been at Loo Loo Farms for 4 years now, but have been gardening together for over 10 years.
Matt: What’s your favorite aspect of farming? Least favorite?
Loo Loo Farms: Our favorite aspect of farming is watching a plant or animal reach its full potential and enjoying the rewards. Least favorite aspect is back pain and cleaning duck poop.
Matt: Favorite thing to grow?
Loo Loo Farms: Heirloom Tomatoes.
Matt: How has business been since you opened the farm?
Loo Loo Farms: We are blessed to be able to work with some of the best chefs on the Central Coast. Business has been steadily increasing. We are getting great feedback from the chefs with whom we work.
Matt: What do you think the top 2 or 3 trends in farming are right now?
Loo Loo Farms: The Farm to Table movement has been a big influence on us. More people are interested in eating fresh local ingredients and knowing where their food comes from.
While Duck Eggs have been around for the past couple of years in California Cuisine, they are just now catching on in the Central Coast. We have been one of the main suppliers of Duck Eggs in our area since before they were trendy.
One of the new food trends is extrememly hot peppers. Our insanely hot peppers include; Trinidad Scorpions (2,000,000 scovilles), Chocolate Habanero (100,000-350,000 Scovilles), Scotch Bonnets (100,000-350,000 scovilles). We also grow several varieties of Masquerade Peppers, which are peppers that look like they are hot, but are in fact sweet. Examples from our farm are Shishito and Jimmy Nardello peppers.
Matt: What all do you grow or plan on growing this season?
Loo Loo Farms: This season we will be growing over 50 varieties of tomatoes, 20 Varieties of Melons, 10 varieties of Edible Flowers, 10 varieties of peppers, 8 varieties of eggplants, Purple Tomatillos, Ground Cherries, herbs, onions, rainbow carrots, watermelon radish. This is in addition to our permanent plantings of fruit trees, berries, artichokes, and asparagus.
Matt: Do you grow all year round?
Loo Loo Farms: We definitely grow more over the summer than the winter, but we do grow year round. We also care for ducks and chickens year round.
Matt: How many acres do you currently farm? Plans to grow/ expand?
Loo Loo Farms: Our farm is considered to be a Micro-Farm or a Market Farm. We only have 2.3 acres, of which we currently farm 2/3. We currently have no plans of expanding beyond our property.
Matt: I hear much of your goods go to restaurants locally, can you give some examples?
Loo Loo Farms: We currently work with Thomas Hill Organics, Apple Farm, Ocean Grill, Foremost Wine Co., The Market SM, The Restaurant at Justin, Next Door Bistro and Haymarket. We also work with some of the top caterers on the Central Coast, such as, Catering by Chef Charlie, Vineyard Events and Crush 805.
Matt: By selling so much to the restaurants does that leave much for the general public to purchase?
Loo Loo Farms: We are so small that there are many weeks when we do not have enough produce left over to open our stand. This is especially true over winter months. During the summer, we usually have enough tomatoes and melons to open our farm stand on weekends. Depending on availability, we also take special requests from people who are looking to get some produce or eggs from our farm.
Matt: If so, when are you typically open to the public or where do you sell your goods to the public?
Loo Loo Farms: We have a farm stand at Loo Loo Farms on Jardine Road. In the spring it is set up as a nursery operation selling heirloom tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. Over Summer it is set up to sell produce. We are typically open on Saturday & Sunday 12pm-4pm or by appointment. We are active on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.