Unity Farm, Rubidoux, CA
The second farm we visited one Friday after Glen Ivy Farms was absolutely amazing!
Sprawling over 12 acres on the banks of the Santa Ana River with incredibly fertile soil, Unity Farm is an organic Garden of Eden. And truly organic it is! First a thoroughbred horse ranch called the grounds its home, then the land laid vacant for ten years until 2 and a half years ago, Gabriel Ruiz and his brother, Antonio, established their family operation and got USDA certified. They are currently cultivating 8 acres of this beautiful land.
Gabriel had always been passionate about gardening and farming. In his large backyard he grew fruits and vegetables. However, it took him working in an administrative position in the family business to realize that office work was not for him, “ I could not see myself sitting in an office doing paperwork all day long – I needed to be outside working my own farm. This is paradise for me.”
When Gabriel gave us the tour of the farm, we could feel his passion. He picked fruit and veggies at random and fed us right there and then: We tried purple bell (peppers), cinnamon basil, and white carrots. He grows a great variety of everything: different kinds of kale, beets, salad greens, corn, artichokes, herbs, spinach, chard, radicchio, watermelons, onions, heirloom tomatoes, and much more.
He says, “we are not using any pesticides at all, 15% of our crops go to the bugs. If there is an outbreak threatening more than that, we use garlic tea or lady bugs that eat up all kinds of harmful pests.”
To amend the soil, he composts.
From the horse farm down the street he gets horse manure and mixes it with worm vermiculite and other organic ingredients. He also makes a compost tea to fertilize the soil. To irrigate the land, he uses well water from just 20 feet below.
Gabriel’s mission is: “Bring the freshest, highest quality produce to the table. It is the healthiest way one can eat.” Not only does he want to educate the people about the benefits of organic produce, he is also going further himself by learning about biodynamic farming methods in which emphasis is placed on crop rotation, recycling of nutrients, and a holistic approach. Specific to biodynamics are the use of fermented preparations and the use of an astronomical planting calendar. The method is based on teachings by Rudolf Steiner: http://www.biodynamics.com/steiner.html
Where can you find the produce from Unity Farm?
Roadside Stand of the farm at 4800 Crestmore, Rubidoux, CA 92509
To find out where in Riverside County and beyond you can find his produce call Gabriel: (951) 318-4261 or send him an email through: http://www.localharvest.org/unity-farm-M37569
Also the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) ZucchiniXpress provides members with veggies exclusively from Unity Farms and fruits from other farms and orchards. For more information and to sign up visitl: http://zucchinixpress.org/