Tomatero Podcast with Adriana Silva
Finally! Our first published (but not recorded) podcast of 2012. Appropriately, our first podcast of the year is with Tomatero Farm. Next month (April 17th to be exact), they’ll be selling produce in front of Nopa. The podcast was with co-owner Adriana Silva. Despite the changing faces of farmers, when you close your eyes, Adriana still wouldn’t be the face most of us would conjure. It a nice face. It is the face of a young woman who looks happy. And youthful, but not young.
This map isn't that exciting, but it shows the distance between San Francisco and Watsonville, about 90 miles south
We were eager to talk to Adriana about Tomatero’s upcoming “CSA” box. Except, as we discuss, it’s not actually a CSA box. This came up at work; it was surprising that a significant number among us were unfamiliar with the concept of Community Supported Agriculture. Hopefully we can help answer questions. CSA’s, which became popular in the early 2000’s are an agreement between a farm and consumer. But in CSA’s the customer is also kind of like an investor. Instead of paying on a per/pound basis, you are instead investing in the farm itself. The money from your subscription goes toward the cost of the harvest and if it’s a really good one, you score more produce. If not, then…not. You’re back to shopping (hopefully) at Farmer’s Markets.
But what Tomatero is doing is bringing you the produce from their farm in a box. They’re calling this Harvest to Home, which sounds nice and explains the idea. There will be a pick up point outside of Nopa on Tuesdays, 3-7, beginning April 17th.
The introduction of this program got us curious about their farm. What had they seen in recent years that inspired this new idea in distribution? What trends had they seen among consumers? And what is it like having a big grower like *Driscoll’s as a neighbor? (Side Note: Adriana cites Tomatero’s certification through CCOF and their policies on major buffer zones where non-organic spraying is taking place.
*On their site, Driscoll’s tell us, all of their berries that are organic are Certified by the USDA, regardless of where they are grown. It also tells us (because there is a link for it) that they have conventional farming happening too).
Chris and Adriana at Nopa in 2010, where they were guests at our Complete the Circle Luncheon
Adriana’s story of meeting her husband/partner when she was hardly old enough to drink, then running a farm—it is so improbable, so romantic, it sounds like something we’d expect to read on the back of a wine label. But they’ve made it work. In just over 8 years, 4 acres has become 100 acres. And the Tomatero strawberries and tomatoes are among our favorites.
We are too happy to share the story of young farmers who took a risk and have carved out a sustainable life for themselves, their employees and the land. Their recent increase in acreage will allow them to rotate crops for the first time. With the new space and direct-to-consumer box, fortunately, Adriana full of energy. We can assure once you meet, you’ll feel good about supporting Tomatero. The vibrancy is contagious and reiterates a new generation in farming. And hopefully a new path.
Posted March 11, 2012 • Filed under Podcast
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