Welcome!

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Molino Creek FarmWelcome to the Molino Creek Farm Collective, the Central Coast’s oldest dry-farmed organic tomato grower. We moved to the Farm in 1983 –land formerly called ‘The Greek Ranch’ – and have been deeply involved in this labor of love ever since.

“Molino Creek Farming Collective is a community that actively supports the growth and success of the farming busines on our land: a business that supports the community and is sensitive to its needs. We are committed to preserving integrity in our relationships with each other; and to loving, responsible stewardship of the land.”

We take great personal pride in the amazing produce grown on our land: uniquely situated almost 1000′ above sea level, giving our crops the advantage of warm, sunny days and cool nights. The effect of such conditions on vine crops in particular –grapes, tomatoes, and the like– is a sweeter fruit, with a far more complex flavor and mouth-pleasing texture than tomatoes grown under conventional or hothouse conditions. You can buy great tomatoes from our friends on other local farms all up and down the Central Coast, but only at Molino Creek Farm do you find such perfect growing conditions and such perfect tomatoes.

We make weekly stops at Farmer’s Markets in Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, and in Aptos at Cabrillo College. Please check our schedule, or subscribe to our Twitter or Facebook feeds, for specific market dates and times. Our produce is also sold in Whole Foods Markets, New Leaf Markets, and other local grocers and wholesalers. We are happy to pack custom orders for pickup at one of our market stops as well. Send us a Tweet or an email for more information.

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Cover cropping in Molino’s orchards

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Well established cover crop- peas, vetch, barley, and oats. Planted more than a month ago with our low-till harrow, then irrigated to germinate while the days were longer, warmer. Now, we’re getting good growth.ccrop sm

They say the trick to maintaining soil fertility is to get the cover crop in early enough to have established root systems to capture nutrients that would otherwise get leached out by the heavy winter rains…helps to keep the streams and ground water cleaner, too!

Now, we’ve got 18″ grasses with pea and vetch tendrils grabbing blades, headed skyward. The thick carpet of growth is protecting the soil, keeping the winds from drying out the soil and the sun from the earth- cooler, moister ground making for excellent soil ecosystem conservation- closer to the natural condition of our soils. After 7 years of early cover cropping, this is the first year that we’ve seen deeper green cover crop than the surrounding fields: wow, this is a long term experiment!

Come spring, we sickle bar mow the cover crop, twice. The first cutting gets raked into the understory of the trees. In the photos, you’ll see big islands of mulch under the avocados, long mulch rows in the understory of the cherries. This light mulch rides up high on piles of brush placed in those same places all winter- woodsy mulch for the fungal mats we are cultivating to feed the trees.

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The second cutting gets left in place, covering the ground and waiting to be the mulch that covers the cover crop seeds in the fall.

Mulch Hypothesis

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The many hundreds of loads of long-cut grass mulch we are hauling will last the rest of the summer under the trees, slowly breaking down with misty microsprinkler irrigation to feed the ‘shredders’ whose frass litters the soil surface then earthworm food, worms incorporating it deeper through macropores lubricated with their slime, roots intertwined with wormholes and decomposing grass parts shrouded by fungal threads a white net through the soil, connected to roots, the web of food and moisture retrieval weaving together Earth’s air, water, and soil. A rich mushroom smell wafts through the orchards as the trees grow green and strong. We are a mulch farm and fruit is our reward.

Winter over the farm

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We’re done in the orchards, at least for a month or so. The cover crop is growing, aided by the prodigious rains falling all along the central coast. There’s water in the creek, earthworms burrowing their merry way through nutrient-rich organic soil, and a whole host of birds carefully picking through the fields and brushlands for tasty bugs…maybe even other birds if one of our resident raptors makes an appearance.

It’s quiet for now, but we’re figuring figures and making plans and putting everything in order to bring fresh Molino Creek produce to the hands, mouths, and cookpots of the community again come spring.

Something to muse on ’til then…

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