“Farm + Fish + Flowers” offers the general public a once-a-year opportunity to visit the Half Moon Bay Coastside’s nurseries/greenhouses, historic sites, farms and even a working harbor. Many of these businesses are not ordinarily open to the public except during “Farm + Fish + Flowers” when they invite visitors for a behind the scenes tour of their facilities and operations.
There are a wide variety of experiences including one new offering: Iocapi Farms, and five that were new last year: the Half Moon Bay History Association’s Downtown Tour, Miramar Farms, the HEAL Project, Ananda Valley Farm and Harley Farms’ Bunnies, Berries and Secret Gardens. The public will enjoy guided tours of flower gardens, organic herbs and field greens, California native plants, a working dairy farm, grass-fed livestock, a historic house, organic vegetable farms, Pillar Point Harbor and much more. Host locations will share helpful tips for pruning and caring for flowers, others will share their key to an efficient operation and some will share their colorful and fascinating family history and how it shaped their businesses today.
Each tour package includes three different locations. Ticket holders drive themselves to each tour in their package for a one-hour guided tour. There are six different tour packages to choose from, and each package of three tours costs $30.
2017 Tour Packages:
Tour A10 am - Bay City Flower Company - hydrangeas & high-end potted plants
1 pm – The James Johnston House - historic 1800s saltbox style home
2 pm - Giusti Farms - produce farm including Brussels sprouts & artichokes
Tour B10 am - Coastside Farmers’ Market - fresh local produce & plants
1 pm - Yerba Buena Nursery - native plants, ferns & carnivorous plants
3 pm - Half Moon Bay History Association “Downtown Tour” - walking guided tour of historical buildings
Tour C10 am - Pillar Point Harbor - working harbor, fresh seafood & sustainable fishing info
1 pm - Iacopi Farms - English peas, sugar snaps, artichokes, fava and blue lake beans
3 pm - Miramar Farms/Half Moon Honey Co. - organic family farm and orchard, chickens and honeybees
Tour D10 am – Rocket Farms - wholesale home & garden
12:30 pm – The HEAL Project - educational farm, sustainably grown berries, vegetables and flowers
3 pm – Markegard Farms - grass fed livestock
Tour E10 am – Ouroboros Farms - aquaculture & hydroponics
1 pm – Oku Nursery - Lilies, gerbera, alstroemeria, tulips in season, and other flowers
3 pm – Harley Farms Goat Dairy - goat cheese dairy farm
Tour F10 am – Ananda Valley Farm - organic vegetables and free range chicken
1 pm – Harley Farms Goat Dairy - goat cheese dairy farm
2 pm - Harley Farms (formerly Phipps Ranch) - bunnies, berries, and a secret garden
2017 Tour Locations:
- Ananda Valley Farm – Nestled in a beautiful valley just north of Half Moon Bay, this CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm grows organically using low-till, permanent beds to help restore soil vitality.
- Bay City Flower Company – This third-generation family owned-business is one of the largest hydrangea growers and also one of the most efficient commercial potted plant growers in the nation. Their main customer base is national and independent Supermarkets as well as independent garden centers.
- Coastside Farmers’ Market – Erin Tormey, founder and manager, will tour visitors through this diverse farmer’s market filled with flowers, fruits, vegetables, fish, herbs, handmade crafts and soaps, and much more. Erin is a wealth of information and has promoted the agricultural heritage and economy of the Coastside. She has been instrumental in supporting the emerging agricultural economy of first-generation farmers and ranchers, creating and piloting programs addressing food security for our aging population and under-resourced neighbors, and encouraging partnerships with our locally based small businesses and supporting the efforts of our non-profit community.
- Iacopi Farms - For three generations, Iacopi Farms has been growing seasonal produce in the coastal town of Half Moon Bay. About half of what they grow is "dry farmed" which means that 50% of what’s planted has no access to water. After so many years of learning about the climate in this area of California’s coast, Iacopi Farms has developed specialized moisture enhancing and soil tilling techniques that enable seeds to grow without added irrigation. Iacopi Farm’s English peas are especially sweet and can be harvested for eight or nine months of the year, while California farms further inland are typically only able to harvest peas for a few months. Iacopi farms supplies a year-round assortment of fresh vegetables to restaurants and wholesalers. They also sell at many of the largest Bay Area farmers markets from San Rafael to Mountain View.
- Giusti Farms - Giusti Farms is a vegetable farm in Half Moon Bay specializing in traditional Coastside crops such as Brussels sprouts, artichokes, English peas and green beans. Giusti Farms raises approximately 350 acres of these crops on four separate properties along the Half Moon Bay Coastside. John Giusti is a third generation farmer and his family has farmed on the Johnston Ranch since 1949.
- Half Moon Bay History Assn. Downtown Tour – Join historian David Cresson on a guided walking tour of some of the original “Spanishtown” houses and commercial buildings from Half Moon Bay’s historical past. Half Moon Bay, formerly known as Spanishtown, was the first city in San Mateo County.
- Harley Farms Goat Dairy – Harley Farms Goat Dairy, home to 300 Alpine goats, produces award-winning cheese daily in what is now the last remaining dairy farm in San Mateo Co. Learn how goat cheese is made while meeting the baby goats and touring the milking barns and cheese production room.
- Harley Farms “Bunnies, Berries and Secret Garden” - Take a walk on the wild side across Pescadero Creek Road into 20 acres of secluded pasture, ancient orchards and gently restored secret gardens. Check out beehives, rabbits and rambling roses.
- The HEAL Project /San Mateo County School Farm – This San Mateo County School Farm is an outdoor experiential learning space and market farm operated by The HEAL Project since 2010. They engage students from across San Mateo County and beyond in the process of growing a diversity of fruits, vegetables and flowers. This tour will include farm fields and outdoor classrooms including a compost education station.
- The James Johnston House – Tour the historic James Johnston House, a classic New England Salt-box, circa 1853-55 built by pioneer Scot James Johnston for his California bride, Petra de Jara.
- Markegard Ranch – Visit a 1,000 acre coastal grass-fed ranch and learn how they raise and sell their beef, pork, lamb and laying hens.
- Miramar Farms – Miramar Farms was first settled in the late 1800s and has a long and colorful history spanning over 120 years. Owners Jayne and Mark Battey will take visitors on a walking tour and share a bit about historic and current operations including how they’ve integrated the farm with their leadership development work in Silicon Valley. They’ll be joined by Gary and Teri Butler who will discuss the vital honeybee operation along the Coastside.
- Oku Nursery – Originally one of the premier rose growers in the United States and now also specializing in field flowers. See their hydroponically grown flowers that can grow an inch a day. Owners Steve and James Oku will personally lead a fascinating tour of this 100-year old business.
- Ouroboros Farms – Owner Ken Armstrong will demonstrate how they blend aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing in water) to produce incredibly pure, delicious produce, while using just a fraction of the resources required with other modern farming methods.
- Pillar Point Harbor – Enjoy a tour of a working harbor by a fisherman and learn about sustainable fishing practices. Visitors can even buy fish right off the boat.
- Rocket Farms - Founded by Carl and Virginia Pearlstein more than 60 years ago, Rocket Farms has grown into one of America's leading wholesale home and garden companies. Wholesale only, they carry blooming plants, tropical plants and foliage, bulbs and packaged shrubs. They also have a complete line of home and garden designs.
- Yerba Buena Nursery – In operation since 1960, Yerba Buena is located in a beautiful glass greenhouse at Pastorino Farms. Purchase California native plants for drought tolerant gardens, or sign up for an on-site consultation to make a dream landscape a reality. Knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer questions and make recommendations.