From Farm to FamilyJan 26, 2023 12:00AM ● By Story by Shaunna Boyd
Kids learn the joy of growing and harvesting fresh vegetables at Soil Born Farms, located along the American River in Rancho Cordova. Last year, almost 1,000 students visited the Farm for field trips, homeschool classes, after-school activities, and summer camp. Photo courtesy of Soil Born Farms
Soil Born Farms Connects Community to Fresh, Local Produce
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Soil Born Farms is a non-profit urban agriculture and education project that grows local organic produce on the 55-acre American River Ranch at 2140 Chase Drive in Rancho Cordova. The goal of the farm is to connect people with healthy food and the process of growing that food – which encourages healthy living, an investment in the environment, and a commitment to a sustainable community.
At Soil Born Farms, a big part of creating a connection between the community and the food they eat has always been the Farmstand, where people could browse fresh, organic produce. But during the last couple of years, Soil Born Farms had to make changes in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Terese Hollander Esperas, project manager for Soil Born Farms, said they had to “rethink and pivot” to meet the community’s needs. They shifted their in-person Farmstand to an online marketplace, which opens Tuesday evenings on the website for customers to make selections for a Saturday morning drive-thru pickup at the farm. In addition to produce from the farm, the online marketplace offers curated items from 35 local farmers, bakeries, orchards, and a variety of artisan food producers. Esperas said it has been “a really successful endeavor.”
Now, Soil Born Farms has been able to re-open the Farmstand on Saturdays, but they are continuing the online marketplace as well since the service has proved to be so popular. Having the option of ordering online or browsing the Farmstand in person makes it possible to meet the needs of more people in the community – bringing fresh produce and healthy food into more homes, in whatever way works best for them.
Another big change at Soil Born Farms is a major renovation to the Farmhouse Kitchen, which is now a commercial kitchen space. This allowed the Farm to expand their services to include culinary classes, catering, and making soups and meals for the marketplace and for pop-up brunches on Saturdays. The new kitchen is the homebase for Phoebe’s Tea & Snack Bar, which serves as the Farm’s job-training site for teens, where they learn customer service skills as they serve tea, coffee, pastries, and soup to guests.
Soil Born Farms also expanded the parking lot and built a variety of new outdoor spaces for gathering and to hold outdoor classes. The Farm is open to guests on Saturdays (except in inclement weather) from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM for the Farmstand and marketplace pickups, farm tours, birdwatching, brunch, music, and family events. Milly’s Mercantile is open on Saturdays at the Farm as well, offering artisan housewares and handcrafted gifts.
There are always volunteer opportunities at Soil Born Farms, in addition to bi-annual plant sales and a variety of classes that focus on gardening, wellness, nature and the environment, herbal studies, cooking, and Summer Day Camp for the kids. Visit the website for the full schedule (https://soilborn.org/).
Soil Born Farms provides an opportunity to find healthy, local food while connecting to the land where that food is grown. Spend a Saturday gathering with friends and family while you enjoy nature and all the Farm has to offer.