Jessica Marquez of Rancho Santa Cecilia
Growing Subtropical Fruit and Sweet Citrus in Carpinteria
Name: Jessica Marquez
Farm: Rancho Santa Cecilia
Location: 7337 Gobernador Canyon Road, Carpinteria, CA 93013
What they grow: Exotic delicacies including pepino melons, white sapote, strawberry and pineapple guavas, fuyu persimmons, and creamy cherimoyas. They also offer a great selection of apples, avocadoes, and citrus, including meyer lemons, mandarins, and sweet clementines.
Where to buy: Farmers markets including Tuesday in downtown Santa Barbara, Thursday in Carpinteria, Friday in Montecito, and Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara. The farm also works in partnership with Local Harvest Delivery, Chapala Farms, Farmer Direct, and Cádiz restaurant.
In season now: Cherimoyas, bacon and hass avocados, dragon fruit, guavas, meyer lemons, chayote squash, and beautiful wildflower arrangements and wreaths (featuring the bold and colorful protea flower).
Their story: For more than 14 years, the Marquez family has been farming in the Carpinteria Valley. Their 42-acre farm includes several unique varieties of tropical fruit, as well as their famous tangerines.
“I would say our top seller is tangerines,” said Jessica Marquez. “We have a diverse variety, but they are all very juicy and extremely tasty.”
Marquez grew up on the family farm, working the majority of the markets alongside her brother, Anthony. The Carpinteria Valley, known for its unique microclimate, has allowed the farm to experiment with various tropical fruits, many new to the tri-county region.
“We have an amazing climate in Carpinteria, close to the mountains and the beach,” she said. “This ideal location allows us to grow almost anything!”
The Marquez children can be spotted at various markets all over Southern California, seven days a week. Working alongside family, Marquez could not think of a better job.
“It’s great working with your family and friends,” said Marquez. “While I love working on the ranch, the markets are a fun way to meet locals.”