Fruits, flowers and vegetables can’t possibly get any fresher than being grown on an urban farm located minutes from your favorite restaurant and just down the street from your house. The newest player contributing to the foodie revolution in San Diego’s North County – Oceanside to be exact – is Cyclops Farms, a California Certified Organic Farm (CCOF) conceived of and operated by Luke Girling since January of this year.
It’s probably not fair to say that Luke operates the farm all by himself, although he is the drive and the brawn behind the farm, with the duties of preparing, planting, tending, harvesting, selling and delivering almost 2 1/2 acres of produce all falling squarely within the realm of his responsibilities. In the hour long visit getting background for this article, two neighbors who also help keep an eye on the farm and volunteer at the Farmstand, Luke’s son, his Mom, his wife and, yep, what’s a farm without a dog, all made appearances to update and get updated on the latest farm happenings.
Aside from growing all of the crops on the farm organically, starting with organic, non-modified seeds, Luke is also growing the business in the same fashion. With some of Oceanside’s top new and busiest restaurants as customers (including Wrench and Rodent, Local Taphouse and Kitchen, Petite Madeline, The Flying Pig and Real Bar and Bistro) and a roadside farmstand that is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays , it’s easy to imagine the not too distant future when there simply won’t be enough crop to meet demand.
Here’s the Rundown:
What and Why: This is exactly the type of place that locals need to support – A local family pursuing a dream to support their local community with the purest of intentions and product. By Luke’s account, he knows, “I’m not going to be a millionaire (being a farmer). I love what I do and I love the thought of people taking clean, healthy, organic food home and cooking and eating it.” Yeah…life can really still be that simple.
When and Where: The farmstand is located at 1448 Avocado Rd. in the Fire Mountain area of Oceanside. It is open from 3:00 — 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and 8:00 a.m. — 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Produce and cut flowers are freshly harvested and ready to eat (the flowers are probably edible, too, but you might want to show them off – they’re beautiful). If you think your pants are cleaner than the produce, feel free to rub the dust off your fruits and veggies before eating, but these things taste amazing right off the plant.
Amazing Story: Luke had major chest-splitting surgery about 6 weeks ago to remove a cyst the size of two softballs from his chest cavity. Fortunately, the cyst turned out to be benign and, amazingly, he’s been working the farm and the farmstand regularly since the surgery.
There is a fundraising benefit Brunch to help with his unexpected medical bills at the new Flying Pig Pub, 230 S. Santa Fe Rd, Vista, 92084 on Sunday, October 18th, 10:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. Get your tickets here: http://brunchforourfarmer.eventbrite.com/
This one really should not be missed, since it is featuring some of the best chefs from some of the best dining establishments in North County including:
Ryan Jubela and Christopher Gallo – Master’s Kitchen & Cocktail
Stephen Reyna – The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, Chef Ramiro Guerra
Mario Moser & Justin Liappes & Samantha Parker – The Flying Pig
Ian Smith & Christine Loyola – Petite Madeline
Rob Ruiz – Land and Water Company
I’ll see you there. Cheers, my friends!