This family farm in Vista uses regenerative and organic practices to grow healthy natural food for the community, offering their fresh local produce through CSA boxes and a twice-weekly farm stand
A visit to Sand n’ Straw Community Farm is an escape from our regularly hectic days. In addition to the fresh produce they grow year-round, this family farm also offers family-oriented activities such as tours and farm animal visits. We are incredibly inspired by their story and met up with owner April Viles to learn more about their story.
After Rich’s brother passed away from stomach cancer in 2014, we took a hard look at our food sources and what the American diet was doing. One thing led to another and we went from a few barrels of berries in our side yard to a six-acre farm. We want to share good quality produce with our community and inspire those around us on their journey to living a more abundant life.
The pandemic took us by surprise as it did everyone else. We were still building farm’s infrastructure at the time so we weren’t quite prepared for everyone looking for locally sourced produce; however, after working on infrastructure all winter, we had tripled our growing areas and aew on our way to being able to provide for many.
In regards to adapting for the pandemic, we encourage everyone to wear their masks and social distance while enjoying the farm, we have a handwashing station by the farm animals and hand sanitizer by the cash register. We did close our farm animals for a bit but they are back open now. Just learning and adapting along with everyone else, wearing masks, trying out best to social distance.
We are working around the clock to enhance the farm and provide a wide variety of hyper local produce. We have trees ranging from cherries to mangos, in addition to blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes and we are getting started on nut trees. In addition to the orchards, we grow a huge array of seasonal vegetables. We were beginning to work with community nonprofit partnerships when the pandemic hit, and we hope to continue to build those relationships and provide for others.
When Rich first started getting into gardening, I would go with him to Grangettos and to be honest, the only thing that interested me was getting the Edible San Diego magazine.
But that led to joining Friends of Farming, looking into all of Edible’s advertisers, and slowly but surely I got the gardening bug also. For this reason, I will always have a debt of gratitude to Edible San Diego and see a huge benefit in supporting their efforts.
Seeing others get excited about and enjoy the harvest.
Seasonal salads are our favorite. Spring mix, swiss chard, kale, mint with apples, berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, avocado, goji berries, and a bit of feta cheese. We make our own dressing using olive oil, fig balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and honey.
The farm stand at Sand n’ Straw is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm for produce shopping. Schedule farm tours, animal visits, and other activities ahead of time on their website and keep an eye out for events like their natural handmade healing balm workshop and wild edible plant harvesting and cooking workshop.
Soil health is arguably the most important element impacting our health, the health of future generations, and the health of this planet we call home.
You already walk-the-walk, but can you talk-the-talk?