Lady Bugs and Sweet Scents
After 20 years of farming with various partners, Andy Griffin and his wife Julia set off in 1997 to start their own farm. Today, they farm about 25 acres of land (including a two-acre green house) in what Andy calls an "urban fringe" of Watsonville. You'll find him at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market every Saturday of the year under the name of Mariquita Farm. Look for the lady bug banner on the west side of the Market. "Mariquita" means lady bug in Spanish!
At the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, Andy has chosen to feature mainly his herbs, chives, arugula, green onions, purple scallions, leeks, strawberries and old-fashion cut flowers (sweet peas, dianthus and lavender). He says that his objective is to "have a good balance of sweet and savory smells and flavors, which change seasonally to keep the stall attractive all year long". There is no doubt that at the Ferry Plaza Market he has established his reputation as "the best source of herbs at the Market", catering to the Bay Area's most passionate cooks. In talking about his herbs, Andy glows over his 4 types of basil (Genovese, Thai, Lemon and Greek), which are grown in greenhouses, where they thrives. He also grows hard-to-find herbs like epazote and lemon balm. My favorite is hard-to-find chervil, used as a special seasoning for spring soups! You'll also find a small selection of baby turnips, Chioggia beets, collards and chard scattered among the fragrant bunches of herbs.
During the strawberry season, the sweet smell attracts a large and loyal clientele. It's hard to pass up buying one (or two, or three)!.
Four Legs for Success
Andy has organized his new business around four fundamentals:
In addition to farming, Andy feels that part of his mission as a farmer is to educate people about many aspects of farming. He does this through discussions with his customers at that Market as well as a free, weekly Marquita Farm Newsletter, which you can subscribe to by contacting Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org. The newsletter contains topical articles, news from the farm as well as recipes. It captures the spirit of Andy's passion for education for those who cannot come to the Market to meet him in person.
April 1999; updated September 2000.
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