Did you know that today is National Farmer’s Day?
National Farmer’s Day is celebrated every year on October 12th as a day to honor farmers all over America. Since the beginning of American culture, we have depended on farmers to produce most of the food we eat. So, it is fitting that this holiday is celebrated in October, near the end of the harvest season.
To pay tribute, we spoke to Jay & Kristen Ruskey, the owners and founders of Good Land Organics, a farm local to us in Goleta, California. Good Land Organics grows many extraordinary crops, including their delicious caviar limes (treated with Apeel!). Fun Fact: Good Land Organics was our very first small, independent farm partner for Apeel. Read on to learn more about Jay and Kristen Ruskey of Good Land Organics.
Tell us, Kristen: How did you and Jay first get into farming?
Growing up in Los Angeles, Jay and his family escaped to the beaches of Ventura and Santa Barbara for weekends and vacation time. In doing so, Jay fell in love with surfing.
It was surfing that introduced him to fellow surfers who worked in agriculture and the greenhouses of Carpinteria. This is where he first found agriculture and decided he wanted to make a career out of it. He graduated high school and was accepted to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he majored in Ag. Business. During college, his family found a property in north Goleta where he agreed to manage and farm and sell the fruit of his family property.
And Jay, what’s your favorite thing about being a farmer?
No day is the same. We enjoy the complexity of optimizing land & weather to provide & grow some of the most unique products on the market in produce.
Why did you decide to partner with Apeel?
We thought that the technologies Apeel was creating fit nicely into the needs of the supply chain. The ability to preserve and extend the quality of the caviar limes was a key goal. Apeel in Santa Barbara also improved the working relationship and made it a natural fit to develop the product.
Is there a farming or eating practice that you wish more people embraced?
We want people to embrace the seasonality of their foods. Step outside the “normal” fruits and vegetables and eat what is in season. Apples are not a fruit that is harvested all 12 months of the year, for example, but they are always in stores.
What’s been the most exciting change on your farm since you began in 1992?
The most exciting change would have to be the evolution of the layered agriculture system that we use to grow many of our crops — additionally, the development and success of commercial coffee in California.
What advice do you have for aspiring farmers?
Embrace the problem-solving nature of farming. There isn’t much more to say than this! If you don’t like problem-solving, then don’t farm! But, on the other hand, there are challenges and rewards to all aspects of farming if you can move, adapt, change and grow with the land and the seasons.
To get some of Good Land Organics’ delicious produce delivered straight to your door, check out our sister brand, FruitStand.com!