Letters from Lodi
An insightful and objective look at viticulture and winemaking from the Lodi
Appellation and the growers and vintners behind these crafts. Told from the
perspective of multi-award winning wine journalist, Randy Caparoso.
Lodi’s amazing Lucero Organic Farms
Slow Food Lodi visits with Lodi’s Lucero Organic Farms
The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Program) offered by Lodi’s own Lucero Organic Farms is now in full swing, offering you a choice of two box sizes ($19 per half share, $29 for a full) that can be picked up each Wednesday all the way through mid-December… and guaranteed: you will enjoy a staggering variety of the most exquisite tasting vegetables and fruits imaginable, all lovingly grown 100% organically by Ben, Karen and Curtis Lucero.
During a visit with the Luceros early last month, we learned that Ben Lucero, like his parents, has been farming his entire life: first, as a $1/hour hired hand in Watsonville; and then in the sixties, developing his own organic farm in Santa Cruz, and later in San Martin, San Juan Bautista and Gilroy.
Real success, however, didn’t come until the evolution of farmers markets in the eighties – the one at San Francisco Ferry Plaza has been of particular significance for Lucero Organic Farms – and it was a search for a warmer climate to grow his Seascape strawberries, heirloom berries and vegetables that brought him to Lodi 11 years ago, where he re-established his company and home, along with his wife Karen and son Curtis, on a 6 acre parcel at 3050 E. Morse Rd., just west of Hwy. 99 between Armstrong and Eight Mile Rd..
What is the importance of certification from California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)? Well, we believe we all can enjoy our strawberries more knowing that they haven’t been sprayed or fumigated as they are in conventional farming. Plus, as Ruben Larrazolo (chef/owner of Lodi’s acclaimed Alebrijes Mexican Bistro) exclaimed when he and his two kids first tasted the Luceros’ strawberries at their Lodi farm, “now what we know what real strawberries taste like!”
Not only is Lucero Organic Farms the real deal, it is the only CSA in Lodi. If eating well is important to you and your family, consider these offerings from the Luceros:
No less than 60 varieties of heirloom tomatoes
- A dozen varieties of eggplant
- 11 varieties of cucumbers
- A half-dozen varieties each of squash, carrots, and beets
- Artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet corn, onions, sweet and hot peppers, green and sweet onions, daikon, okra, garlic, green beans, onions, kale, kohlrabi, peas, radishes, salad greens, spinach, turnips, zucchini…
- Figs, apples, apricots, cantaloupes, grapes, lemons, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, prunes raspberries, strawberries, melons, watermelons…
No, it’s not a miracle, although it may as well be for those of us fortunate to live in the neighborhood. The Luceros also meticulously farm 2 acres off Lodi’s Ham Ln., 6 acres in Clements, and a 40 acre farm they are developing in Clarksburg (the latter, primarily in orchards).
For more information on signing up for the Lucero Organic Farms CSA, please visit their page on the Local Harvest Web site, or go directly to the Luceros’ CSA Order Form. Shares may be ordered in 16, 20, and 24 week packages; and any shares that are not picked up are always donated to either the Stockton Food Bank or another local charity.
San Joaquin County residents may pick up their orders each Wednesday from 3 to 6 PM at 3050 E. Morse Rd. in Lodi. For Bay Area consumers, Lucero CSA orders may also be picked up at the farmers markets at Ferry Plaza (Thursdays and Saturdays), Berkeley (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) and at Menlo Park/Oakland (Sundays).
Finally, if you are a consumer who strongly believes that the efforts of the Lucero family need to be more vigorously supported in order to make sure that this service to the community is continued, please contact Slow Food Lodi’s Volunteer Coordinator, Mardie Driftmier, at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can volunteer to assist the Luceros in their efforts.
For more information on Slow Food Lodi, please visit the Slow Food Lodi’s Facebook page and join their growing community of like minded lovers of good and healthy foods.