Name: Cole Clary
Farm: McGrath Family Farm
Location: 1012 W. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
What they grow: More than 50 varieties of certified organic produce including artichokes, Romanian sweet peppers, Swiss chard, kale, strawberries, peas, green onions, broccoli, beets, arugula, spinach, summer and winter squash, cantaloupes, corn, beets, lemons, and beautiful fresh and dried flowers.
Where to buy: Saturday farmers market in downtown Santa Barbara. Additionally, their fresh produce can be found at their roadside stand in Camarillo (U-Pick hours on their website), their CSA subscription, and numerous Los Angeles County farmers markets. Restaurant deliveries are also available.
In season now: The family farm grows a variety of popular heirloom tomatoes, ranging from green and red zebras to purple Cherokee, pineapple, and brandy wine varietals. Customers also rave about their sungold cherry and blonde cherry tomatoes. Additionally, beans have become a popular market item, including baby purple queen beans, cranberry beans, and lima beans. Sugar baby watermelons and French melons are another seasonal highlight.
Their story: Since 1868, the McGrath family has been farming in the tri-county area. This fifth-generation farm offers 24 acres of certified organic produce, with its own roadside market open daily from 9-6 p.m. Cole Clary, stepson to the McGrath heritage, could not think of a better job.
“I’ve spent many days working with my stepdad on the farm,” said Clary. “From pulling weeds to driving the tractor to harvesting, I’ve done almost everything on the farm. It’s a great learning experience.”
The McGrath Family Farm is dedicated to this education for both its family members and the community at large. Offering its own farm tours daily from 11 a.m. -4 p.m., they have created a living model for sustainable agriculture. For more than 30 years, these tours have provided the general public (specifically youth) an opportunity to understand the local food system.
“There are a lot of great aspects about working on a farm,” said Clary. “It’s fun to see what’s popping up next, what’s new in the fields. There’s always something growing, and it’s always a fun surprise!”
This upcoming fall season the farm looks forward to opening their pumpkin patch, where customers can enjoy a corn maze, free hay rides, and a variety of seasonal gourds. Certified organic for more than 10 years, the McGrath Family Farm has committed itself to not only sustainable agriculture but also a sustainable food system for the community at large.
“I love helping people choose produce and seeing them smile,” said Clary. “I really try and educate people on how to pick their food, both for freshness and taste. Buying seasonally guarantees this.”