So, I plan on doing a monthly, maybe every 6 weeks, feature talking with Luke Girling of Cyclops Farms in Oceanside. The Article will cover whats going on at the farm, the programs he is running, the local farm to restaurant scene in Oceanside, plus tips for home gardening, planting. I will also have Chefs show off dishes that feature Oceanside grown produce.
(If you have any feed back on what you would like to see know about contact us at northcountyfood)
So,things have been kind of whirlwind. Tell me a little bit about the experience of getting Cyclops farms up and going.
Well, it’s a little more than just finding the land, throwing seeds out and watering them!
The paperwork/permit trail you have to complete is mind bending and never Ending! Being
that it’s an “urban” farm there are more hurdles to jump through and people to convince that it’s a good idea. I’m kinda exhausted before even farming! Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot, it would just be easier to do in the middle of
nowhere! People have been very supportive and the city of Oceanside wants this to happen, so I’m gone charge and show this town where our food can come from. Really excited about this opportunity!
Where is the project at currently?
The project is about to really start rolling. CCOF (a California state organic certifier) just
came and inspected the property and went over our paperwork, we should be hearing about our certification this next week!!! We have made our beds and 1000’s of starts have been planted in the greenhouse, all though a little behind, we expect our first large plant out in a couple of weeks!!
I know you have been supplying some local restaurants locally already. You are in fact providing all the Strawberries and some other produce for our June Dessert Dinner. Who are you working with and how has the response been?
The response has been great as the local people and restaurants are hungry for this type of direct connection. Chef Davin of Wrench and Rodent has been the number one supporter, he takes anything I give him and turns it into something cool. Very inspiring. Chef Ian and chef/ owner Christine of Petite Madeline have had huge smiles and open arms. Chef Daniel of LTH is a key player and super cool to deal with. Chef Mario and chef/owner Roddy of Flying Pig said game on. Chef Beau of Masters is always supportive and very positive. The Privateer, The BLVD, Banana Dang!, Cream of the Crop and many individual chefs have stepped up to the plate to support also. I think I have a solid clientele!!
When do you see the Farm fully up and running, at least from a produce stand point?
We will be in full swing by August. Not that happy about the delay but it’s better than it not
happening at all! The term “Indian Summer” will be our motto this year! Since our weather
here is still Summerish until October, we will be able to have things later.
I know you have a lot of plans regarding education programs for children and interest in doing
CSA’s. though probably a ways off can you speak briefly about these.
The main goal is to get our farms structure solid then build on it. The more we talk with
locals, the more they say they want a CSA. CSA’s are awesome but the concept behind it has been diluted with programs that preach local but pull from farms all over the state, package into boxes and shipped to customers. When we do ours, everything in the box will be from our farm, grown by us. The idea is to reduce food travel, to support true local farmers, not another corporate food take over, like many of these other box programs. We need to slow down and appreciate how and where it’s grown, and my favorite how it’s cooked! That leads us to kids! Where are our kids in the future if we don’t educate them about food? They will not make it. It’s that simple. I plan on attacking this concept at any angle I can, through the schools, non profits, public outreach and the city. To teach someone how and why to grow is one concept, but to cook it or prepare it in an enjoyable way, well that’s an art. If we combine both worlds, well then, we’re all winning. On a quick note, involving retired military and starting a community sponsored cancer CSA rounds out my dreams for this project, whew!
I better get to work!
Example CSA Box
Lastly, Summer is just about here. What plants well and thrives this time of year? Also as a consumer what Vegetables or Fruits should you be taking advantage of being in peak season?
We are lucky to have the climate that we do! As you might assume, tomatoes, peppers,
cucumbers, squash, beans and melons do really well here. If you can get your hands on some organic local corn!! Watch out! That’s the stuff! Basil and storage onions are one of my favorite summer treats ! For fun, I would recommend trying a type of basil that you haven’t already had. Replace it in a dish that you’ve previously used other basil in and spazz up your dish a little. Simple: caprese salad!
Thank you, Chris Messenger for the support!
Luke Girling and CyclopsFarms Crew!
Owner / Farmer Luke Girling Cyclops Farms, Oceanside