Name: Laura Beylik
Farm: Beylik Family Farms
Location: 890 Oak Avenue, Fillmore CA, 93015
What they grow: In addition to their year-round selection of hydroponically grown tomatoes and cucumbers, the farm also sells a wide selection of peppers, summer squash, green and yellow zucchini, and several unique varieties of avocados (including Pinkerton, Mexicola, and Stewart).
Where to buy: Farmers markets including Tuesday in downtown Santa Barbara, Thursday in Carpinteria, Friday in Montecito, and Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara. Additionally, Lucky’s in Montecito and Sly’s in Carpinteria buy exclusively from the farm.
In season now: A year-round selection of tomatoes including Big Beef tomatoes, Japanese, Plum, Premium, and Yellow varietals. Currently, green tomatoes are also a popular seller – perfect for frying or pickling.
Their story: Growing cucumbers and tomatoes year round in their hydroponic greenhouse, the farm’s 21 acres is a family affair, spanning four generations of knowledge in Fillmore.
“Everyone hopes to enjoy what they are doing,” said Beylik. “We really lucked out. I’ve been working the markets for almost ten years, I love the camaraderie and being outdoors.”
Deciding to sell exclusively at markets in the ’80s, Beylik stresses the importance of customer interaction, having built upon these relationships over the last 43 years. Farm tours are held annually ever August to celebrate this union, now in its sixth year.
“Every year, we offer a big open house to anyone interested in seeing how we grow,” said Beylik. “It’s great to offer that kind of personal experience, to see first hand our hard work.”
While their tomatoes are hydroponically grown, the farm utilizes bumblebees for crop pollination as well as beneficial insects to ensure not only great flavor but also healthy, pesticide-free produce. Though Big Beef tomatoes are the most popular and great for meaty sauces, Beylik also suggests trying Plum tomatoes for a tasty pasta al pomodoro, bruschetta, or even salsa.
“My husband Scott only grows things he likes to eat!” said Beylik. “We love experimenting with new items in the greenhouse and the kitchen.”
Working as an ER nurse by day, Beylik enjoys combining her love of people and fresh food, supporting her husband’s passion while enjoying the time outdoors. With nearly all of Beylik’s employers working for the farm for 10-12 years, they’ve built an extended family, both on the farm and within their customer base.
“We have built our business essentially from word of mouth,” said Beylik. “The market interaction is definitely the most rewarding, to have people recognize and enjoy your product…it’s a great feeling.”