VC VegOut: Supporting Our Local Farmers!
The Vitaliz Café VegOut Boxes support farmers like Victor Cortez and Veronica Ceja, owners of La Granjita Organica (little organic farm), in Gonzales, California. This week's VegOut ComboBox includes Watermelon Gherkins from their farm. If you've yet to try a gherkin, now's your chance! Gherkins are about the size of grapes, look like mini mini watermelons and taste like cucumbers with a splash of lemon.
While we're on the topic of watermelons, this week's mini watermelons are sweet and delicious!
A little about the wonderful farm we sourced these beautiful Gherkins and Watermelons from: Interview Courtesy off Kiva.com
We are Victor Cortez and Veronica Ceja from Capulin, Michoacan Mexico. This is a small town that is 100% dependent on agriculture production. Corn, wheat, and vegetables are actually the staple crops of this area. Since we grew up eating these crops, they were the first that we learned to grow back home in Michoacán.
After 25 years in Mexico, we immigrated to Gonzales, California to form our family and in search of more opportunities to improve our livelihoods. Here in California, our three children, Noe, Emmanuel, and Mariana, were born.
Four years ago, while Veronica was working at a salon, one of her clients told her of ALBA and said that organic farming could provide us a living and bring a healthier lifestyle for our family and others. We can provide people an alternative to food with pesticide and chemicals that can detrimentally affect their health. Our children are our motivation to start and build our farm business.
Our farm name, La Granjita Organica, is quite appropriate for our farm and translates to “little organic farm.” We currently produce strawberries, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and different types of jalapenos and chiles on just 4 acres. Our mini-cucumbers (Mexican Sour Gherkins) are a hit as many people have never seen them before. They are the size of haba beans, look like watermelons, but are sour on the inside.
Ten years ago working in Driscoll’s organic strawberry fields we learned the importance of pesticide free food. This is when we began to think of starting our own farm business. Five years ago, we found the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas, CA. ALBA offers a farm education and business incubator program for family farmers like us. We graduated from the course in 2013 and began farming on 1-acre on ALBA’s land. We have since grown to 4-acres and sell our crops to licensed distributors and farmers markets.
Our biggest challenge owing our own land and equipment; however, this is also our goal for the next two years. As a family-run business, we hope to feed and educate around organic agriculture. Our biggest hope is to help fight diseases caused by pesticide-use by providing quality organic produce to people and contributing to their healthier lifestyles.
La Granjita from Gonzales has started their season with Serranos, Poblanos and Anaheim Peppers and the much awaited Watermelon Gherkins in sustainable 100% recyclable Readycycle packaging! Also known as Mexican Sour Gherkins, they are the size of haba beans, look like watermelons, but are sour on the inside.