I will never forget the first time I bit into a dry-farmed, early-girl tomato. It was 1984, and I was working at Community Foods, a natural foods collective. A coveralled man offered me a box of these red orbs to sell in our store.
I found them to be a bit small. Since they were organic, which was hard to source in those days, I took a bite.
The sweet, seedy richness exploded and dripped. The very essence of tomato-hood danced in my mouth. They were exquisitely sweet and firm with a touch of tartness—like a complex wine.
The dusty local farmer, Mark Lipson, would someday become USDA’s first organic policy advisor. He is one of the founders of California Central Coast’s oldest dry-farmed organic tomato endeavors, Molino Creek Farming Collective.
Last week, this historic and iconic community farm was ravaged by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire that exploded across the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The pictures of the devastation are mortifying and terrifying!
There are ways you can help them bring their farm and those tasty treats to market once again.
Thankfully, no one in the community lost their lives—all are safe, but many are still evacuated. The farm and community suffered extensive damage that will take years and great resources to replace.
Several family homes perished, and large portions of their water system were destroyed. Many orchard trees, some new vineyards, much of the deer fence, the mechanics garage, gates, and irrigation all turned into soot and scar.
They are asking the greater organic community for help to stabilize their emergency situation.
They must take care of basic safety and critical infrastructure. They believe that the farming operations can salvage some production for 2020.
Giving anything you can to their GoFundMe site will help them restore the basics they need to begin their recovery and prepare for the future.
This iconic farm was founded by several families to preserve family farming and the beauty and exquisiteness of the Coastal Redwood Mountains. Organic farming has allowed them to create a livelihood, and be an important source of nourishing, delicious food for the community.
They have the best-tasting tomatoes because of their method of dryland farming. These pioneers figured out how to grow tomatoes without irrigation.
The plants survive by rooting themselves as deeply as possible into our rich clay soil and searching for moisture retained from the winter rains through careful soil management.
Unbelievably, many tomato plants were so resilient that they survived the firestorm, and harvest has tentatively begun.
If you have any spare change or funds set aside for a trip no longer viable during the pandemic, this is a great way to make your money travel even further!
Donating $10 or $1000 will not only help them rebuild but will also be your testament that we need to double down on Climate Change by supporting organic agriculture.
Visit their Facebook page here for updates on their progress.
And please share this post far and wide and ask your friends to chip in. Once again, here is the link to help https://gf.me/u/yt4ghu
May the fires of change alight new hope for our communities.