Josh and Kari Thomas, along with at least 7 farmworkers and 7 market sellers (all are year-round).
44 acres in Corralitos, about 86 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Josh’s father, Jerry Thomas, bought the farmland in the early 1970s. He was a true pioneer in organic farming and was one of the founding members of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). He also contributed to the startup of the local farmers markets in Santa Cruz County. Jerry Thomas retired in 2004, but the family has continued using the practices he established, like planting an incredible diversity of crops to reduce pests, crop rotation to avoid soil depletion, and adding at least 12 tons of compost per acre every year. At 10 pages, the farm’s certified product list is the longest in Santa Cruz County.
The Thomases see sustainability as extending beyond farming practices. They have strong relationships with workers and pay livable wages and keep them working year-round.
Sandy loam soil augmented with compost.
Drip irrigation with occasional supplementation from sprinklers.
Hand weeding with hoes, occasional tractor cultivation.
Cinch traps for gophers and “black fox” repeating traps for ground squirrels. All of the land is deer fenced. Insect damage is minimal due to crop biodiversity.
Thomas Family Farm grows more than 400 varieties of dahlias, in every color except blue, which doesn’t exist in nature.
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 »