Firmly committed to organic practices, Chris and Johanna Finley have been farming in the Santa Ynez Valley for six years. On 30 acres, they grow over 70 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, as well as specialty items, such as raspberries, sugar snap peas and a variety of heirloom tomatoes.
“We’ve always lived amongst our vegetables, eaten them and raised our kids on them,” Johanna explains, “so we wouldn’t want to put any pesticides on them. Growing organically was by default, because that’s the only way we would ever consider farming.
“I just think it’s healthier,” she adds. “The most wholesome things you can eat are organic fruits and vegetables.”
The Finleys sell their produce to local restaurants, through farmers markets and at their cheerful farmstand on Refugio Road. According to the season, they pick melons, tomatoes, sweet corn, strawberries, greens and other edible delights fresh daily.
When their second child was born a year ago and Chris’s brother, Brandon, took over farmers market sales, Johanna found she longed for the bustle of market days. Her solution was to launch the Finley Farms Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), a service that provides subscribers with a weekly assortment of farm fresh goodies.
“I really miss the markets, the customer relations, just all of it,” Johanna says. “I decided to start a CSA so I could visit with my customers when they come to pick up their boxes.
“It’s as good as having it in your own garden,” she smiles, “and the flavors are completely different from store bought. The taste of fresh, organically grown produce is wonderful and sweet. You can really tell the difference.”