Josh and Kari Thomas, along with at least 10 farmworkers and 10 market sellers (all are year-round).
46 acres in Corralitos, about 86 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Josh’s father, Jerry, bought the farmland in the early 1970s and was one of the founding members of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). 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. They also work like to reuse their tools and equipment for as long as possible, repairing items such as drip tape and floating row covers to prolong their utility.
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.
McGinnis Ranch is steep: it sits on a 12% grade. The harder it rains, the less fun it is for Howard, who sometimes spends days replacing soil that has washed down the hill. But the grade allows maximum sun exposure and extends the farm’s season significantly.
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 »