Name: Tessa & Robert Abbott
Farm: Hilltop & Canyon Organic Farms
Location: 6754 Rincon Road, Carpinteria, CA 93013
What they grow: Specialties include avocados and lemons, 30 different types of field flowers, heirloom shell beans (Bulgarian, Christmas Lima, Cranberry, Tiger’s Eye, and more), melons, squash, tomatoes, and rare varieties of peppers, including the Japanese shishito pepper. During the winter months, market goers can even purchase avocado tree firewood.
Where to buy: Farmers Markets including Tuesday in downtown Santa Barbara, Friday in Montecito, Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara, and Sunday in Ojai. For a unique holiday purchase, look out for their beautiful wooden cutting boards, handcrafted from milled olive tree wood.
In season now: Avocados, garlic, tomatoes, field flowers including six varieties of sunflowers and delicate agrostemmas, shelling beans, squash, and their famous lemons (and lemonade). For cooking, try their popular preserved salty lemons — bottled in a hot, salty brine and great in pasta, tagines, salad dressings, and a great marinade for fish or chicken.
Their story: Pioneers in the region’s avocado and lemon industry, Hilltop & Canyon Farms has been farming the same Carpinteria land since 1923.
“There’s something really magical about the area we are in,” said Tessa Abbott. “The climate is wonderful for producing year-round fresh produce …. It’s just great.”
This family-run business, headed today by Tessa and Robert Abbott, is known for their special care to quality, sustainable farm practices, and building community through food. Over eight years ago, they introduced their products into the farmers markets and have since worked in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Ag Futures Alliance, Edible Communities, and Goodland Kitchen in Goleta. Certified organic, the farm relies heavily on homemade compost and mulch, with all members of the family helping in the fields, including their daughter Edie. “
“Working as hard as we work, it is so rewarding to see people excited and wanting to try new food,” said Tessa. “Knowing who eats what you grow is cool!”