Ben and Karen Lucero, along with Ben’s son, Curtis, and 4 seasonal employees.
50 acres in Lodi on several parcels of land, about 90 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Ben has been an organic grower since he was a teenager, when he tended a backyard garden with his brother. He started his first organic farm in the 1960s and, although he found it difficult to make a living, didn’t give up. When the farmers market movement took off 20 years later, Ben found his niche and made a real profit for the first time. In 2006, Ben’s eldest son, Curtis, returned from the military to work on the family farm.
Respectful of the ecosystem in which they farm, the Luceros strive to sustain their farmland for future generations. To maintain soil fertility, they rotate crops, plant cover crops, and apply compost.
Depending on the parcel, the soil types vary from a light sandy loam to a rich, dark, crumbly loam. Each is amended with an organic compost that contains no animal products. Fish emulsion and cover crops enrich the soil with nitrogen, a key plant nutrient. Crop rotation also helps to prevent depletion of minerals in the soil.
Water is sourced from the Mokelumne River and is delivered to plants via drip tape.
Hand and machine cultivation.
Crop rotation, selection of resistant varieties, hand removal, creation of habitat for beneficial insects, owl boxes to control rodents.
Karen started out as a loyal Lucero farmers market customer. Before long she was lending a hand on the farm, where she met Ben—and the rest is history!
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »