The most diverse and veggie-abundant farm at the Coronado Farmers market has to be Maciel Family Farms. They’ve got tables of fresh greens and vegetables and always have interesting picks, like and .
The family farm, based in Bonsall, grows around 80 different varieties of vegetables, greens and fruits. Laura Maciel, who owns land adjacent to the family farm and works with her husband, Adam, took a moment to talk about the joys of working with her family.
Patch: Are you guys generational farmers? When was Maciel Family Farms founded?
Laura Maciel: Adam's family came from Dominguez Hills, (in the) Los Angeles area, where they farmed. Adam is a multi-generational farmer. His parents bought the land (about 20 acres) in Bonsall in 1972, then moved the whole family out here.
Then we bought five acres of our own about 11 or 12 years ago. This land sits adjacent to the family farm.
Patch: What's the best part about having a family farm/business?
LM: The best part of having a farm/family business is that everyone is involved and included whether they know it or not. This business has afforded us the opportunity to let me be home for my kids' sakes.
Adam and I take turns picking up girls from the bus stop, caring for them, and hanging out with them. We are very family-oriented and close knit so this has been a blessing not to send them to day care or sitters.
The girls have learned so much about the business in its entirety, good and bad. They know that in order for things to happen we have to make it happen. There's more good than bad about the business.
Patch: How has the farm influenced your family lifestyle (i.e. good eating habits)?
LM: We are influenced by the farm strongly:
- (There's) tons of good food to eat;
- We love being outside and active;
- (We) appreciate nature and all its beauty and power (we respect mother nature);
- We work hard;
- We are proud of our products we bring to market and to friend’s homes; and sharing our bounty with so many people.
Patch: What’s your favorite part about taking produce to the farmers markets?
LM: We love interacting with our customers. They appreciate what we do and tell us often about stories involving our produce. We've become extended families with our customers. They knew us before we had kids and watched us grow throughout the years.
I still have people who say, "Laura, I still remember when you were pregnant with Sara, or Mary. And now look how big they are!"
Our customers expect us to bring quality, flavorful, healthy foods for them and we do our darndest to please them. I appreciate all comments. Direct sales give us immediate feedback on our stuff.
Patch: Does Maciel Family Farms sell to any restaurants?
LM: We sell to Salvatore's Cuccina Italiana, , several personal chefs, and we wholesale produce on the side, too.
Patch: Can you tell us some upcoming new produce that will be available at the Coronado Farmers Market soon?
LM: We will have romanesco (the geometric vegetable!), brussel sprouts and mustard greens.
Patch: Are you ready for the holidays? Any special foods you make with the family?
LM: I am not ready for holidays! I usually send out Christmas cards, trim the tree with my girls while listening to Christmas music, and I make turkey vegetable tamales on the 24th. These are the bomb tamales! Lots of work mind you, but very worth it.
Patch: Any tips for readers that buy your produce: how to store certain items, how to wash certain items, etc.?
LM: The lettuce lasts a long time if you wash then store it in air tight bags, also, the refrigerator has to be set at proper temperature. Many people have them set too cold and the veggies may not last as long. About 40 degrees is good.
Also, if they buy carrot or radish and then don't eat them right away and they soften, put these roots in a bowl with cold ice water and let them sit for a while. These veggies usually perk back up again.
Also, never refrigerate our tomatoes. Let them rest on the counter until eaten.
Most importantly, please wash everything you buy from anywhere! Remember that everything grows outside, whether in a greenhouse or shadehouse. I wash everything including fruit, melons/watermelons, all veggies.
Just because something is organic doesn't mean it's ok to not wash before eating. My kids know this and always wash their fruit before biting into them or slicing to eat. Greens and leafy things I just rinse really well. Foods with peels and rinds I wash with warm sudsy water then rinse with cold water. It's not difficult!
Laura is at the every Tuesday from 2:30-6 p.m. Stop by her beautiful display of fresh produce, pick up some spinach or and say hi.