Organic Farming Pioneer Holds a Ph.D.
After earning a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of California (Berkeley) in the mid-1970's, rather than pursue his academic training, Dr. Warren Weber drifted up to the seaside town of Bolinas, about 30 minutes north of San Francisco and founded Star Route Farms. He says that the farm "began on 5 acres, using horse-drawn sulky plows and cultivators and a lot of long-haired ambition". That launched him into a distinguished, 25-year career as an organic farmer and leading force behind the organic farming movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, he is well-known in the Bay Area not only for his own organic farm, but also for having served as the President of the California Certified Organic Farmers association (CCOF) in the mid-1980's and as the founder of the Organic Farmers Research Foundation (OFRF).
For Bay Area residents not involved in organic farming, however, Star Route Farms is also a familiar name. It frequently appears on Bay Area restaurant menus as the restaurant's produce supplier. "Star Route Farms" is now a registered trade name and a name which has become synonymous with the highest quality, organic produce in the Bay Area.
From Seaside to Desert
For many years, Dr. Weber's keen farming instincts and business sense propelled him to augment his cool-weather35-acre farm in Bolinas with a desert-climate 100-acre farm in Thermal, California, which borders on the Mojave Desert about 450 miles south of San Francisco. With farms in two different weather zones, Dr. Weber is able to "follow the seasons" in California to provide a constant supply of produce to his restaurant customers 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year! However, starting in the 2001 season, he will be focusing only his Bolinas farm and plans to source all his vegetables from this location.
Star Route Farms Debuts at the Ferry Plaza
On April 3, 1999, by invitation from the Market's Executive Director, Star Route Farms made its debut at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. Dr. Weber is looking forward to being a regular vendor at this Market throughout the year, though he expects that restaurant sales will still comprise more than 80% of his business.
A Winter Star
The type of produce Star Route Farms features -- leafy greens, baby carrots, herbs, edible flowers, leeks and fava beans, etc. -- is similar to produce offered by many other farmers already at the Ferry Plaza Market during the Bay Area's growing season. But Star Route Farms' produce will undoubtedly stand our from the other vendors from about November to March, when it will continue to offer delicate leafy greens grown in Thermal that are not available from local farmers during the winter months.
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