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Welcome to Monterey Wine Country

Down on the Farm — Agri-adventures

The Farm
About the closest most of us come to either gathering food is guiding a shopping cart through the grocery store. Piles of apples, ripe strawberries and luschious lettuce appear like magic, ready for the plucking. Ever wonder where it all comes from? Okay, yes, obviously a farm. But at The Farm in Salinas, you can actually get down and dirty with your food, exploring how it all happens, from seed to table.

What is organic, anyway?

Organic is a term that became regulated in 1990, to create a standard for all farmers—though many say the definitions are still not strict enough. The definition of organic means that the land for crops may not have had banned pesticides (certain chemicals, genetically modified pesticides, etc.) for at least three years. Farmers are permitted to use plant or animal-based pesticides, with some exceptions.

In addition to the rules on what farmers can use to control pests, organic fruits and vegetables must also be grown with attention to the land, including how crops are rotated and how the air and soil are impacted by the growth of the crop.

Located in California’s Central Valley, sometimes called the “Salad Bowl of the World”, The Farm is an “agricultural showcase” where visitors can tour an actual working farm, talk to farmers and see what it takes—from planting and spraying (or not), to harvesting and selling—to get food on our tables. The Farm also has a produce stand with seasonal fruits and produce available for purchase. And here, fresh really means fresh…as in picked the same day.

If you go:

The Farm is open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 6pm from April through Dec. 22. Picnic areas are available. The Farm is located in the heart of the Salinas Valley just west of Oldtown Salinas, 15 miles east of Monterey on Hwy 68 off the Spreckels Road Exit, 60 miles south of San Jose and 105 miles south of San Francisco.

Earthbound Farm
Remember the days when you couldn’t buy a bag of pre-washed mesclun lettuces anywhere – much less in any grocery store you walked into? Thank Earthbound Farm for making made this once-exotic item a dinner table staple. The San Juan Valley farm was the first to offer a “spring mix” of salad greens on a large scale, and now sells its produce in over 74% of grocery stores nationwide.

Founders Drew and Myra Goodman moved to California from Manhattan in the mid 1980’s, determined not to produce or consume vegetables grown with the aid of chemical pesticides. Enchanted by the beauty of the land and the richness of the soil in the fertile Carmel Valley, they began with a 2-1/2 acre backyard enterprise specializing in organic raspberries and baby lettuces. Earthbound Farm celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year and now grows its produce on over 24,000 acres and employs more than 1,000 people.

If you go:
Earthbound has a year-round farm stand in Carmel, California selling flowers, green, produce and pumpkins (depending on what’s in season) as well as offering classes and events for adults and kids. 7250 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel, CA 93923
(just 3.5 miles east of Highway 1),  831-625-6219 For more information on the farm, organics, or recipes, go to www.ebfarm.com.