Monday, June 2, 2014

CSA Farmer Profile: High Ground Organics

 Farmers Stephen and Jeanne, standing by one of
many hedgerows at High Ground.

Farmer Profile: High Ground Organics CSA

By Rachel Petitt
Stephen Pedersen and Jeanne Byrne of High Ground Organics are the stewards of a gorgeous 50 acre parcel of land off Harkins Slough, in Watsonville. They also farm the historic Redman House property off Highway 1. The land was purchased from the Open Space Alliance, complete with conservation and agricultural easements that help to protect the fragile wetlands surrounding the farm. As part of their commitment to sustainability, Stephen and Jeanne plant native hedgerows, use perennials to prevent erosion, and only use organic farm inputs. Their voluntary contributions to the environment have awarded them recognition as exemplary landowners and farmers.
Field of Fennel. 
Stephen’s love of fresh food began early in life, with a job cooking in San Francisco.  During an internship at his Uncle’s organic farm, Thomas Farm in Corralitos, he was introduced to the joys of working outside. Jeanne Byrne says, “Once he started working outside all day, he could never go back to working in an office or kitchen.”
Apple orchard with owl boxes.
Over the 17 years that High Ground Organics has run a CSA, it has grown to about 800 members. The produce offered in their CSA boxes showcase the diversity of food grown on the Central Coast; peppers, legumes, root vegetables, stone fruit, berries, and more. Most of their produce is sold through Community Supported Agriculture, but you can also find it at the Mountain View Farmer’s Market and the Redman House farm stand.
CAFF and High Ground Organics have partnered on many projects in the community over the past two decades. Stephen and Jeanne attended workshops on water management, farm ownership, and direct marketing hosted by CAFF. High Ground is one of the many farms involved in the statewide CSA network.
To find out more about the restoration projects happening at High Ground Organics, or to join their CSA, visit

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