Katherine Grace of Rancho del Phoenix

Rachel Hommel

Katherine Grace of Rancho del Phoenix

Katherine Grace of Rancho del Phoenix

Growing Specialty Apples and Education in the Good Land

Name: Katherine Grace

Farm: Rancho del Phoenix

Location: 10696 Calle Quebrada Goleta, CA 93117

What they grow: Tree-ripened selections including apples, persimmons, peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines, blood oranges, tangerines, and various other citrus.

Where to buy: Farmers markets including Thursday and Sunday markets in Goleta.

In season now: Specialty apples including sweet anna apples, crisp fuji, and their specialty, the gordon apple, which has a sweet, yet mildly tart taste perfect for baking. Also in season are two types of persimmons: the crisp fuyu from Japan and the pudding-like hachiya persimmon.

Their story: An advocate of locally grown food, Katherine Grace has spent over 20 years in the nutrition industry, bringing fresh, seasonal produce to the markets from her 10-acre Goleta ranch.

“My motto is eat organic, eat local, eat in season,” said Grace. “I’m a stickler for organics, both for my own health and the health of Santa Barbara families.”

Fifteen years ago, Grace acquired the ranch, transforming it into an organic orchard of fresh stone fruit, tart citrus, and her popular apples. All fruit is tree-ripened at the peak of sweetness and nutrition.

“It is so critical to buy organic,” said Grace. “Our commercial food supply is making us sick. We are food machines, if we contaminate the source of survival, what’s going to be the outcome?”

Taking courses at SBCC in gardening, Grace loves being outside in nature, educating others about the values of a sustainable food system and eating healthy.

“I love being outside in nature,” said Grace. “It’s like helping God in the garden, I’m assisting nature and it feels great.”

A regular at the Goleta markets, her fresh produce has become very popular for baking. Grace hopes to expand her selection to vegetables in the near future, eager to create healthy produce for market goers and vendors alike.

“I love the people, I really do. The regulars are wonderful,” said Grace. “I enjoy trading with the other vendors and the camaraderie. It’s like a little family.”

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