FARMSTEAD Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Madison Ludlow
Along 200 acres of California soil, halfway between Buellton and Santa Barbara, The Farmstead is tucked in the Nojoqui Valley. Less than a mile from the coast, with a backdrop of the Valley’s rolling hills, this organic farm is bursting with the freshest heirloom produce.
I drive up the gravel road to see towering sunflowers draping over the road ahead. Petite organic watermelons have fallen into the rows of asparagus and along the farmer’s pathway. As I step away from my car and walk towards the barn’s symmetrical doors, I hear the wind tunneling through the trees blowing the sweet scent of fresh berries my way. I’m welcomed in the barn’s entryway by farmer Abel who greets me with a strong handshake covered in soil. He guides me out the back door towards the playful noises of the farm
36 | JANUARY 2016
animals grazing on the other side of the barn. Kunekune pigs, Nigerian dwarf goats, Sicilian donkeys, and llamas playfully interact with me as I walk through their feeding grounds. Abel hands me a bell pepper, he’s just pulled from the ground, and I soon find myself kneeling amongst five hungry snorting pigs trying to each get a mouthful of the pepper in my hand. It is an adorable mess! After the feeding frenzy, Abel leads us out through the front doors of the market toward the sunflowers I admired on my way in. I quickly find myself surrounded by the reddest strawberries I have ever seen. I reach down, brush the dirt from the strawberry’s delicate skin, and plop the whole thing in my mouth. It’s sweet with that fresh farmers-market feel. As we carefully step around the fresh berries, I can’t help myself from grabbing a few more as we continue on.