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Day Trip to Santa Barbara: Coffee Tree Farm Tour

  • Sep 15, 2012 · 8:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Please Note: Read the directions carefully below BEFORE you RSVP 'Yes' for this event.

1) You MUST prepurchase yout ticket in advance. Tickets will SELL OUT in advance of the event, so do not procrastinate. The sooner you buy your tour ticket, the sooner you are guaranteed a spot in the tour.

2) Purchase your $40 per person coffee tour ticket here: http://www.goodlandorganics.com/store/coffee

3) I am hosting this event for both Gay Foodies and Pleasure Palate. This is part of a series of events that I am hosting at the Santa Barbara area on the same day. The events are a la carte, meaning you don't have to attend the other events to attend this one.

4) If you plan to attend all the events I have planned in the Santa Barbara area, I am arranging for a carpool where we will meet at 8:30 AM SHARP and head to Goleta so we can arrive at the coffee farm by 10 AM. We will carpool from the Sepulveda Garden Center in Encino which is at the corner of Hayvenhurst and Magnolia. You take the Hayvenhurst exit near the 405 and 101 freeway intersection.

Suggested donation to your designated driver is $20 to compensate for gas and car maintenance.

5) Bring some snacks because we won't be eating until after the coffee tour.

Last year, I read in an article from the blog Food GPS that there was a coffee farm just north of Santa Barbara. Yes, a coffee farm! Its experimental because the state agriculture dept. is trying to see what cash crops can be grown in California. One of the few benefits of global warming is that tropical plants like coffee can now thrive in certain areas of California.

This month, Good Land Organics harvested over 400 lbs. of coffee within 2 days - a record for them and the USA! In addition to coffee, they grow exotic fruits like caviar limes, passion fruit and hass avocados.

  • Start time: 10am
  • Where to meet: Main Facility
  • Tour includes:
    • Coffee tasting of California grown coffee
    • The walking tour
    • Bring your own lunch to enjoy at our onsite Koi pod
  • End time: 1pm*
  • Details of the tour:

The tour will be lead by Good Land Organics owner and grower, Jay Ruskey. You will be welcomed with fresh coffee, freshly made juice and seasonal fruit. Jay will give an overview of the coffee research collaboration that has been conducted with the assistance of the University of California Small Farm Program. He will then lead you on a moderate level hike where Jay will explain the dynamics of new crop adaptation and integration of organic tree fruit agriculture.

The walk will take you through the eclectic mix of exotic fruit varieties that grow on the farm. Upon reaching the coffee you will discover the dozen Arabica varieties at various stages of development. Here you will learn about the coffee planting trial and what it has taken to establish the orchard. The trees always have fruit so you are guaranteed to see beans on the trees. Each person will have an opportunity to taste a fresh picked coffee berry and discover the original flavors of the coffee bean, while discussing coffee cultivation and post harvest processing. On your return hike, there will be time for open discussion and for any further questions. At Noon you have the option to enjoy your picnic lunch at our pond.

Additional Information:
There will be seasonal fruit available for purchase in our main facility.

Please wear appropriate attire for a moderate hike to the coffee crop and back to the main facility.

Please bring your own lunch if you would like to enjoy it at our onsite pond.

*We ask that everyone please depart the facility by 1pm.

The tour will proceed in rain or shine. There is a 48-hour cancellation policy in order to receive a full refund or to reschedule for a later date. Tickets are otherwise non-refundable.

  • Your receipt that will be sent to your email after your order is placed is your entrance ticket. Once your order is placed you will receive an email with directions to our facility.

Good Land Organics™ is located in the hills of Goleta, California, two miles from the Pacific Coast. This certified organic land is called Condor Ridge Ranch, and is a unique ecosystem, unlike almost any other in the area, that allows us to grow a diversity of exotic sub-tropical crops. The soil is a rich clay loam free of chemical pesticides. Our winters are mild and typically frost-free, while our mild summer days start with foggy mornings. These climate patterns contribute to our ability to grow the specialty sub-tropical fruits others cannot.

Calimoya™ Brand Cherimoyas and Hass avocados have been our predominant crops. In recent years, through a technique called inter-planting, we have added dragon fruit, passion fruit, coffee beans and caviar limes, among other produce in the works. Now, the farm boasts nearly one hundred different, organic fruiting plants.

Our biggest challenge is that we have no flat land. Rather, we farm up and down gentle (and in places, not so gentle), slopes. Organic cultivation requires extensive hand labor. We also must always work on keeping the land well graded to ensure adequate drainage during the rainy season. Most of the good flat, arable land in the Goleta area – an area that has long been revered with the moniker: "The Good Land" – has been taken over by residential and commercial development. Land values have become high, and farmland becomes more and more scarce. Fortunately, though, the local community continues to provide a good market for the local farms, and our website has allowed us to reach out to an even larger market.

Our approach to farming some may deem "unconventional", though many of the basic tenets we embrace stem from practices in sustainable crop production. Through the years, we often have bucked local ways to experiment with new techniques, and introduce new crops, sometimes to a chorus of traditional nay-sayers who were accustomed to, and content with maintaining the region's classic mono-crops of lemons and avocados. Our experiments and innovations have been informed by many sources of inspiration, including my Agribusiness Marketing degree from the famed agricultural department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; my long term involvement with the California Rare Fruit Growers, and the University California Farm Extension Service, along with a handful of visionaries and mentors who have helped to guide this journey towards a way to make local agriculture exciting, viable and environmentally enriching. Our loyal customers, and the agriculture industry have recognized these efforts. In 2010 I was honored to receive the innovative small farmer of the year award from University of California.

Our work doesn’t stop here. We have many goals that we have not yet achieved. Good Land Organics™ will continue to strive to be the best steward of the good land that we can be, and to work with our neighboring farmers, in order to continually delight our customers, and to ensure that California can uphold its rich agricultural heritage in today's evolving world.

From the blog Dave's Travel Corner:

"Organic farmer, Jay Ruskey has been at the forefront in California of commercially growing exotic and rare fruit species at his farm perched on the side of the Santa Ynez Mountains above Goleta since the mid 1990's. The 42 acre farm is about 650 feet above sea level about two miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and on a clear day (of which there are many at this elevation) there are great views of the ocean and the Channel Islands.



For many years it was a rare opportunity to visit his farm but now he has opened up the property to tours on a limited basis. Jay farms entirely organically and is certified CCOF; he farms various crops year round so there is always a number of fruits and agricultural products regardless of the time of year. His tropical fruit company is named Goodland Organics and the products come from his Condor Ridge Ranch.

California certainly has its share of special places and the hills above the town of Goleta just north of Santa Barbara where Jay's ranch is located is certainly one of these places. This area is generally above the fog - typically is frost free year round and even in the winter can have pleasing weather, as in appropriate ranch attire can often equate to shorts and t-shirts. This mountain range is one of only two prominent east west ranges in the entire country.

Jay's focus is on the delicious Cherimoya, a fruit native to the coastal highlands of the Andes in South America. This fruit can often be found in Asian markets and when cultivated properly, is known for its pleasing delicate flavors and creaminess (varies according to the variety). This is very much a labor intensive fruit to cultivate. In order to ensure a healthy crop, Jay's employees have to hand pollinate each flower one at a time.



But now, Jay is now doing something that no one else is doing in the Continental United States...growing coffee as a commercial crop. The coffee industry is watching his project closely - already several producers from Ethiopia (original source of coffee trees) have visited his property and Starbucks even recently filmed a coffee commercial on site.

Jay recently attended the Specialty Coffee Association of America's annual trade event which featured numerous coffee brewers - all of which source from orchards between the Tropic of Capricorn (approximately 23 degrees south of the equator to the Tropic of Cancer - about 23 degrees north of the equator). Jay's farm sits at more than 34 degrees north of the equator. At this convention he was the *only* producer of 700 represented with a commercial orchard outside this accepted range of production!

Tours highlights the unique and various agricultural products growing on the property including the cherimoya, dragon fruit, several longans and lychees from some experimental farming, and culminates with a visit to the small coffee orchard. Jay currently has 650 mature producing coffee trees and is experimentally growing a number of other coffee varietals including the Geisha varietal which at one time fetched a whopping price of $165/pound (known for its delicate floral tea like flavors and aromas)!



Coffee farming around the world is in general very much a hands on operation and it is no different here. The small trees are perched on steep slopes and the "coffee cherries" as they are called in the industry ripen throughout the year. All fruit has to selectively be picked by hand.

Hang-time for these "cherries" typically increases with altitude and 6-8 months would be considered long hang times in the industry for full ripeness. What is unique about this site is their hang-time is typically around 10 months before full ripeness. As in the wine industry hang-time can lead to additional complexities and flavors - and is part of the reason mountain grown coffee is so coveted.

It is an intriguing and unique feeling to be walking through a coffee orchard in California (something we are more used to doing in Costa Rica or Panama). Small buckets are provided and each person can pick and or eat any ripe sweet fruit. Just save the seeds for their de-pulping machine - the seeds are what coffee is made from.



Not only do you get to see and learn about the various products grown on site - you also can try them. Fresh orange juice, seasonal fruits such as the delicate Cherimoya and of course freshly roasted local coffee are available for tasting.

An interesting crop that Jay has spent significant time developing is the "caviar lime" which originates in the Australian bush (first discovered by Aborigines). Visually, the trees have a number of similarities to the wild chaparral that grows in this area and as a result blend in well on the steep hillsides.

These small finger looking limes are full of tiny uniquely flavored caviar sized beads. This "micro citrus" delicacy has only been in commercial production in California for several years and is quickly gaining popularity with chefs to pair with a number of seafood dishes. Oh and pop them into your sparkling wine - they add some nice character!



A number of exotic fruits and other products are available for sale through their website - for more information visit: www.goodlandorganics.com"

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    We are excited for this coffee farm tour. Meet you guys there at the farm.

    September 14, 2012

  • Joe S.

    I am going via GF

    September 9, 2012

  • bertha m.

    I entered the code "loatree" in the coupon code area and i received $10 off.

    September 7, 2012

  • Yumi R.

    I can't believe I've agreed to get up this early on a weekend! But this looks very interesting. Cherimoya and coffee were the magic words!

    August 13, 2012

No one went

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