As proud and active members of the Santa Monica community for over 60 years, we are happy to announce the three winning farmers of the 3rd annual Snyder Diamond Farmer of the Year Awards: Flora Balla Farm, Linder Bison, and Harry’s Berries. As part of our ongoing commitment to California’s culinary heritage (and not to mention our love of kitchens), we, along with Sub-Zero Wolf, are honored to be helping these farmers continue to provide Santa Monica with delicious, sustainable, and organic fruit, vegetables, and mean.

Flora Bella Farm

 

Farm History:  Flora Bella Farm has been a California Certified Organic Farm since 1991.  Flora Bella Farm is dedicated to providing you with healthy organic produce that only nature and tender loving care can provide.  Throughout the year, we adapt to the natural seasonal changes and are able to offer a wide selection of freshly picked, highly nutritious, certified organic produce.  You benefit by getting fresh, certified organic fruits and vegetables at a low price because you are buying directly from James Birch, the certified organic farmer.

County of Production: Three Rivers
Farming Since: 1991

Products: 

Winter:  Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Garlic, Black Kale, Leeks, Lemons, Lettuce, Mizuna, Oranges, Radicchio, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Nettles, Miner’s Lettuce
Spring:  Apples, Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Collards, Flowers, Garlic, Greens, Herbs, Lettuce, Mizuna, Nectarines, Oranges, Parsley, Peaches, Potatoes, Radicchio, Radishes, Nettles, Miner’s  Lettuce, Wild Plums, Purslane, Lamb’s Quarter
Summer: Apples, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Figs, Flowers, Grapes, Melons, Mulberries, Nectarines, Okra, Onions, Peaches, Pears, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Squash, Sunflowers, Tomatoes, Purslane, Fresh Shelling Beans, Lamb’s Quarter, Wild Plum
Fall: Apples, Grapes, Herbs, Olives, Onions, Oranges, Pears, Persimmons, Plums, Pomegranates, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Tomatoes

Growing Practices: 

Watering: snow melt off and being the first users of the water create the cleanest organics possible.
Fertilizers: We are surrounded by cow and horse pastures creating an excellent natural environment full of beneficial pests.
For pests: We set up owl houses to encourage owls to live and hunt on the farm.
To enhance/control size, flavor, ripeness or appearance: none
To increase soil fertility: We use cover crops: crop rotation, rotational grazing, planting of cover crops, intercropping and minimum tillage .

How They Plan to Use the Grant Money: To keep growing fruits, vegetables, and the best arugula any chef in LA has ever tasted.

Linder Bison

 

Farm History:

In 1994, Kathy and Ken decided to plan for their “active retirement” in a manner that allowed them to live on the land. Kathy introduced Ken to Bison meat, which he had never tasted. He loved it! Three years of research followed, to determine if raising Bison could provide a living.  Our animals were purchased in 1997 and 2002 and placed on leased land. We managed the growing herds in consultation with the ranchers. In 2005 we purchased our own ranch and moved our herds there. That is where our grass-fed bison remain to this day.

County of Production: Lassen 
Acres of Farmland Cultivated: 
220 
Farming Since: 
1994

Products:

Year Round: Grass-fed Bison Meat

Growing Practices:

To control weeds: vinegar, mowing, bison
For pests: bison, diatomaceous earth
Fertilizers: bison manure
To enhance/control size, flavor, ripeness or appearance: grass-fed only
To increase soil fertility we use these cover crops: grass pasture only

Our philosophy:

  • We are passion driven

How They Plan to Use the Grant Money: Linder Bison has immediate plans to expand their rotational grazing program.

Harry´s Berries

Farm History: 

Harry’s Berries was established in 1966 by Harry Iwamoto. It is now operated by his daughter and son-in-law, Molly and Rick Gean. All of their adult children are actively involved in running the family farm. We grow specialty variety strawberries and vegetables and sell 100% of our farm products at Certified Farmers’ Markets. We are not certified organic due to the cost of paperwork involved but we have not used methybromide or any synthetic chemicals since 1998.  We use only N.O.S. approved materials and practices. Our goal is to provide the highest quality food possible. We grow varieties based on superior flavor, picked at the peak of perfection. After years at the farmer’s markets, we have a dedicated and loyal customer base including many local chefs.

County of Production: Ventura 
Acres of Farmland Cultivated: 
40 
Farming Since: 
1966

Products: 

Winter: hoop house tomatoes, off-season strawberries, hoop house beans
Spring: strawberries, gaviota and seascape salad mix with edible flowers
Summer: tomatoes (Red,/Yellow Cherry, Red Grape, Sweetheart, Big Deep Beefsteak), beans (Green/Yellow French Filet, Blue Lake, Yellow Italian Romanos), Saticoy Cantaloupe
Fall: hoop house tomatoes, off-season strawberries, hoop house beans

Growing Practices: 

To control weeds: hoes, hand weeding, tractor cultivation, plastic mulch
For pests: beneficial insects (tricho gramma, encarsia, parasitic wasps, lacewings, persimilis, predatory mites); habitat interplantings, crop rotation, sesame and fish oils
Fertilizers: CA organic fertilizers (7-5-7 & 8-2-2); westbridge organic biolink liquid fertilizer (5-5-5); compost tea
To enhance/control size, flavor, ripeness or appearance: none
To increase soil fertility we use these cover crops: cover crops (Peaceful Valley Farm Supply “Soil Builder” mix – assorted legumes, clover, vetch); drip irrigation

How They Plan to Use the Grant Money: Harry’s Berries plans to donate the money to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer