December update: Our first wheat was planted in Tehachapi by Jon Hammond and Alex Weiser on Linda Vista Ranch and Weiser Family Farms on December 1, 2013. They planted Sonora, Red Fife and Glenn on 2.5 acres. They are planting another 15 acres of Sonora, Red Fife and Glenn.
Common Grains welcomes three more farmers joining the Grain Hub:
• Curtis Davenport of California Malting Company – Santa Barbara County
Curtis will be growing Sonora, rye and barley. He is starting the first micro malting system in the US to service micro breweries in our region. He will be growing Roman rye, Sonora and Glenn on 15 acres.
• Tom Shepherd of Shepherd Farms, Santa Barbara County
Tom has been practicing organic farming since 1973. His 40 acre farm is in the Sedwick ranch. He will be growing Red Fife.
• Nate Siemens of Fat Uncle Farms, Santa Barbara and Kern County
Nate is a third generation almond farmer. His grandfather used to grow wheat between the almond trees. He is bringing back his family tradition of growing landrace wheat. He will be growing Sonora, Red Fife and Glenn. He has 200 acres allotted to growing landrace wheat.
Our Farmers in the Southern California Heritage Grain Project: Jon Hammond of Linda Vista Ranch and Alex Wesier of Weiser Farms.
Jon Hammond‘s family bought an orchard and created a small subsistence farm in the Tehachapi Mountains in 1921, growing vegetables and fruits and selling eggs, chickens, sheep and pigs to people in the area and Jon was raised there — and bought his first car with money he raised selling pickling cucumbers and pumpkins. Jon started writing and taking photos for the local weekly paper when I was still in high school, and 33 years later I’m still at it, and I edit a monthly called Tehachapi Lifestyle Magazine, and teach the Kawaiisu Indian language and culture as well.
Jon hammond’s family raised the more commercial breeds of pigs over the years, but now with his friend and Alex Weiser have started a project together raising Gloucestershire Old Spots, the world’s oldest breed of spotted pig and one that was specifically developed for pasturing — and one that is known for the superiority of its meat. They have chickens for pastured eggs and are shifting to an heirloom chicken breed called Jubilee Orpington, which was developed for the 50th year of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1897 and this is another breed that has come dangerously close to dying out.
Alex Weiser of Weiser Farm
The Weiser Family has been farming in Tehachapi, Lamont, and Lucerne Valley since 1977. Alex is one of the pioneers of the Los Angeles farmers market movement. His vegetables and fruit are beautiful and highly sought after by the local chefs and people.
Jon and Alex are excited about the heirloom grain project. Jon and Alex are also interested in the Abruzzi rye, since naturalized rye already thrives in the Tehachapi Mountains, and it seems like our growing conditions are quite comparable to the conditions in Italy where this variety was developed. (except taken from Jon’s writings about his family ranch).