Name: Jessica Bridges
Farm: Underwood Family Farms
Location: The farm has two locations (Moorpark and Somis), both open to the public for tours and their popular Pick-Your-Own produce. Hours vary based on the season with details listed at underwoodfamilyfarms.com.
What they grow: With a wide selection of year-round produce, Underwood grows everything under the sun: carrots, beets, kale, Swiss chard, corn, kale, heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, spinach, butternut squash, delicata squash, and, of course, their popular pumpkins. Check out their 18th Annual Fall Harvest Festival in Moorpark this year.
Where to buy: Farmers markets including Wednesday at UCSB’s Gaucho Certified Farmers Market as well as several markets in Ventura and L.A. County. At their two locations, guests can also purchase fresh produce at their farm stand, or pick their own!
In season now: Springtime crops include different color cauliflowers (including the unique Italian Romanesco cauliflower), asparagus, broccolini, blueberries, strawberries, snap peas, and Bridge’s all-time favorite: Texas sweet onions. “Our onions are so sweet, they add great flavor to any meal!” said Bridges.
Their story: Passed down from generation to generation, Underwood Family Farms is owned and operated by Craig Underwood. Since 1980, the farm has operated a thriving farm stand, as well as a plethora of educational opportunities for young and old.
“Underwood is wonderful for the community as we offer many learning opportunities for children, like farm camps and school tours,” said Bridges. “It is so important to know where your food is coming from, who is growing it, and how it is being grown.”
Bringing people back to the farm, Underwood hopes to strengthen the relationship between consumers and their food supply though direct marketing of high-quality produce and positive farm experiences. Committed to growing healthy and flavorful products sustainably, Underwood hopes to strengthen the farmer/consumer connection.
“We invite guests out to visit our locations so our customers can form a relationship with their farmer and know exactly where their food is coming from,” said Bridges. “Local farmers markets are not only a great place to find quality food; it is also a great place to learn and ask questions.”
Known for their pick-your-own fields, they offer strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry options in Somis, as well as a variety of produce at their Moorpark location. Educational farm tours are offered daily, where guests can gain insight into sustainable farming methods, visit the animal center, and enjoy sampling a wide selection of organically grown produce, fresh from the field.
“Underwood Family Farms is known to grow interesting or different crops,” said Bridges. “One of my favorite summer items is our morning melons, which have a green tender flesh that is juicy and has an incredible tropical flavor.”
Working for the company for more than eight years, Bridges is both a familiar face at the markets as well as their Moorpark location. Learning from coworkers, neighboring farms, and her regular customers, she cannot think of a better job. Stressing the importance of shopping locally and supporting farmers, she urges guest to check out the farm and say hello.
“Farmers markets are a great place to get fresh, healthy produce and a comfortable environment to learn new things,” said Bridges. “Our regular customers love to visit the farm stand and pick out their weekly must-haves.”