F&P visited a magical farm – Jay Ruskey’s Goodland Organics – on the slopes of hills of Goleta, California, with stunning views of the Pacific two miles away.
The certified organic land – a rich clay loam free of pesticides with barely a square foot of flat land – has a unique ecosystem that allows farmer JAY RUSKEY to grow amazing sub-tropical crops.
Cherimoyas and Hass avocados are the main crops, but Jay has been inter-planting over years and years so now he grows PASSION FRUIT; beautiful and delicious DRAGON FRUIT:
and CAVIAR LIMES:
If you haven’t come across these amazing fruit, when you cut them open you find beautiful transparent balls full of lime juice bursting out – they crunch in your mouth just like caviar. Notoriously tough to pick through the lime bushes’ thorns, Jay’s ‘finger’ limes (their other name) are a rare delicacy.
Last but not least, Jay grows COFFEE:
Coffee? Yes, coffee: Jay is the first farmer to make a real commercial go at growing coffee in the continental United States. He’s partnered with UC Cooperative Extension and true to his innovative spirit, it’s definitely so-called Third Wave Coffee he’s developing, right here in the heart of California…
It was a delight to see these bright red berries growing so happily in the shade of avocado trees in California, and they make a beautiful cup of coffee. Jay explained how very work-intensive coffee-growing is, compared say to wine growing, and that slowly with the help of roasting coffee shops, the public is getting an education in the real cost and value of coffee production at the highest level. Jonathan Gold of the LA Weekly summed it all up:
[After Folgers, then Berkeley’s Peet’s] we are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure…