Produce in Paradise: A Day in the Life of an Organic Baja Farmer

Meet Logan Vail

“My goal is to produce quality food and make healthy eating more accessible.  I want to leave this world a little better than I found it” he says, and explains that “People in the States are just uninformed, they are given the wrong information and labels don’t mean anything”  Talk about magic to my ears.  Many people think about making a difference in the world, but few actually take action to do so.  You can imagine how excited I was when Logan invited me to accompany him on his morning rounds at the farm?  Even if it meant waking up before the roosters, this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

History: Logan’s parents moved from Santa Barbara to Todos Santos in 1985 to follow their dreams of becoming the first organic farmers in Baja.  They now grow around 20 different varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs. His father now gets to enjoy surfing the Baja waves while Logan manages the 500 acres of ocean front family farm land!  Yes, at the ripe age of 27, Logan is the brains, ambition, drive, sweat and muscle behind it all!  Impressive.

So, the basil that you (and everyone in North America) bought this week from Whole Foods or Trader Joes… I PICKED on Tuesday May 7th!                                              6am and covered in dirt, I was picking the basil ya’all are havin in those Basil Gimlets!

Currently he’s shipping 20, 000 lbs of basil across the boarder a week.   Can you believe it? And, it’s all grown organically, sustainably and picked by hand.  To make matters even more impressive:  Conventional farms grow on the same land for years, and never give the soil rest.  Whereas, on Logan’s farm, he believes in letting the land rest for 8 months out of the year and changing the crop in the soil ever season.  This is natures way of keeping the land free of bugs and critters.  Also, when letting the land rest, there is no need to use heavy chemicals and pesticides like massive conventional farm.

At 10am I turned to Logan and said, “I’m pooped.  I don’t think I can farm anymore.”  He looked at me with a “Are you kidding, we’re just getting started” expression and lead me back to his truck, “Alright, let’s get breakfast” he said. “Now we’re talkin!”

Finish a day’s work with:

Authentic Baja fried empanadas filled with Slow cooked desert cattle.

 A cold beer at his dad’s beach hut.  Outdoor shower under a mango tree (that was solo)

Rewind to the beginning of the morning: Logan picks me up before the sun comes up.  On our way to the farm we stop at a little roadside coffee stand where the fishermen stop on their way into town to drop off their fresh catch.  There’s one option on the menu: coffee served with a carton of milk.   We then followed a dirt road for about 10 minutes along the ocean before arriving to his farm. Every morning Logan picks up the workers who live in simple “shacks” on the farm…they all hopped into the back of his truck, looking quite happy and cheerful I must say.  Maybe it was the gringa chica in the front seat, who knows? Between 6-10am, we had already picked and eaten, basil, green beans, cucumbers, bell peppers, asparagus, avocado, sweet corn, grapefruit, guava, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, herbs and saw a rattle snake!  You’d be pooped too, right? 

  Curious to know what a farmer makes for dinner?  It was so good, I’m still thinking about it. I’ll give you a hint, he shot a wild animal CHECK IT OUT HERE

Driveway to Heaven

What’s on the horizon for his future?  Bringing the full farm-to-table experience to people.  Allowing people to visit his farm and get the full experience as I did.  Logan said he wishes to, “Create a platform where people can reconnect with their food.  People don’t appreciate where their food comes from.  We’ll get dirty, grow, pick, cook.  It’s the full circle”

Did you know that hundreds of lbs of perfect produce is wasted ever day?   Just thrown into the compost.   You see, us Americans like our produce to look perfect, without scratches or natural marks.  Whole Foods sends back the entire crate of produce if ONE cucumber in a box is a little boat shaped.   Even though cucumbers naturally grow on the ground in a boat shape… they’re only straight because farmers hang them on vines.   Anyway, getting off track.  This is where the farm-to-table experience can come in.  People can come to the farm and pick, cook and can the otherwise wasted produce.  It’s perfect, right?

One might imagine how growing up on a farm in Paradise would inspire you to follow the path of your parents, however, it was professors at UCSB and authors like Joel Salatin and Michael Pollan who taught Logan the importance of sustainable and ethical farming practices.

Note:  Logan’s parents played a huge role in inspiring him and still play a huge role in the success of their farm :) want to be sure that’s clear.

We ended the day with a beautiful dinner at Mac’s house. Couldn’t ask for a better last day in Baja!

 And in the end, Logan said, “I hope to change the minds of people and inspire people, so that the world doesn’t get ruined before it’s too late”

 

 

 

2 Responses to Produce in Paradise: A Day in the Life of an Organic Baja Farmer

Isabella

I really love reading your posts. They inspire me and renew my interest in living sustainably. Michael Pollan will be speaking at Dominican University this Monday. I will try and get an autographed book for you to take on your next trip to Logan’s farm.

claudine

Thanks for sharing, Izzy. Have a wonder evening with Pollan, wish I could make it. Sending lots of heart healthy love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>