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edible Monterey Bay Summer 2015

EDIBLE LIFE GET YOUR FARM FIX ON There are local farms out there ready to welcome you for a visit—or even stay the night By Deborah Luhrman Photography by Patrick Tregenza and Patrice Ward Tamara Clifford was a caterer living north of Los Angeles in Agoura Hills when she and her husband Jeff decided to buy a 49-acre ranch in the wilds of south Monterey County as a weekend getaway. But things didn’t go quite as planned. “I came up here, and I couldn’t leave,” she says. “It just sucked me in.” The Cliffords planted fruit trees and vegetable gardens, began raising chickens and bought eight Nubian goats. Then last summer they built three casitas and opened their farm to the public as Rancho Dos Amantes. “I’m shocked and thrilled with how busy we are,” Clifford says. “People are just in awe of gathering their own eggs or going out into the garden and picking their own radishes and lettuce to make a salad.” The Cliffords operate one of the very few farm stay experiences in this region. Every morning Tamara and her daughter, Jessica, prepare 52 edible monterey bay Summer 2015 a farm breakfast with goat’s milk yogurt, homemade granola, fresh baked bread, honey and jam from her own fruit trees. After breakfast, guests can tour the gardens and the orchard, and visit the beehives, chickens and goats. She says it’s rewarding, yet challenging: “Not only do you have to keep the farm going, but you have to really enjoy having people around all the time.” But that’s not why there aren’t more businesses like hers. Farm stays are hugely popular in other parts of the country and in Europe, where governments provide hefty financial incentives for farmers to open their doors to tourists. “There are lots more farmers and ranchers who would like to have farm stays and camping, but are restricted by some pretty fierce regulations,” says Penny Leff, agritourism coordinator for the UC Cooper


edible Monterey Bay Summer 2015
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