In 1957 a young Jim Smith acquired two new things in his life, a son whom he named James, and a truck and trailer for hauling hay, naming his new business 'J. O. Smith and Son Trucking.' He later gave up independent trucking and became a company driver for Fed Mart stores, which were founded by Sol Price, who later founded the Price Club which ultimately became Costco. Fed Mart moved its warehouse to San Diego in the early 1970s and Jim followed them with his wife and son. He purchased a custom home site that was located on a subdivided avocado grove in Poway. After building his home fifty-five avocado trees remained, and he was now a farmer. After graduating from high school his son James left home to live on the beach, briefly working for Fed Mart in their warehouse before starting a landscaping business in La Jolla. He later left Southern California and worked for United Parcel Service in the San Francisco Bay Area as a truck driver. Desiring to have a small farm to grow their own food, James and his wife Pamela purchased the U-Pick strawberry farm near Orient, WA in 2005 from the Edwards family. Jim, retired and afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease, moved to the farm in 2010 to be cared for by his family, helping out as much as he was able to until his passing in 2014. The two retired truckers, having had a business at the beginning of life for the one and another at the end of life for the other, chose the name 'Smith and Son Farm' after the original enterprise.
We don’t use a lot of meaningless market hype to try to sell or misrepresent our products. For example, 'local' can be used to describe products from a farm in the area, one from across the state, or wherever. 'Grown naturally’ or 'organically' doesn’t tell you anything about what inputs or practices were used. We believe you should know who grew your food, where it was grown, and what was used in the process. So, without the hype and buzzword of the day, we honestly tell you our methods and what was used to produce our products so you can make an informed decision if our practices meet your standards.
grown by us
Our purpose in this venture is to grow food for us the way we want it grown, the farm is like our personal backyard garden to grow the food we eat, offering the abundance of what we produced at modest prices to cover our expenses. Hence we are farmers, not produce vendors, therefore we don't re-sell products from wholesalers or other farms. Which is why we don’t have everything, such as tree fruits, crops that can't be grown locally, out of season produce, or an unending supply. You can trust that every product you get from us will be grown or raised on our farm.
We don’t intensively farm the same piece of ground year after year, replacing nutrients with imported fertiliser. We believe the rotating of produce with cover crops and livestock continually builds up the soil with organic matter and nutrients and only use imported fertilisers to supplement that process. Our farm is divided into sections that cycle every growing season, giving the land rest from production and improved with farm generated inputs. Our drip irrigated raised beds are wrapped in black plastic mulch and spaced at least four feet apart, which allows for cover cropping between the beds during the growing season. We also employ the use of liquid fertilisers and compost teas to supplement plant nutrition.
We have never used pesticides on the farm, and hope never to. We would rather lose a crop, or not plant certain crops, to avoid the use of them. Some farmers will tout they don’t use “chemical" pesticides, leaving you to wonder if they use the organic pesticides. "Organic sprays" is another often used phrase, which are pesticides that have been approved for certified organic production. Farmers, both conventional and certified organic, are not required to inform customers what pesticides they used in production, and many try to sidestep the issue or make excuses, perhaps fearing they would lose sales if the customer knew what they sprayed. Not us, if we ever were to use a pesticide we would let you know what was used and when it was applied so you could decide if it’s acceptable to you.
We are frequently asked if we are organic. The short answer is no. This is because in order to market food as ‘organic’ special certification must be obtained, which at a minimum requires hundreds of dollars and can run into the thousands, a cost that is passed onto the consumer. It also involves extensive record keeping, annual fees, and complying with standards set by the regulating agency, taking time away from farming and increasing costs. A farmer doesn't have to be certified to grow organically, however the farmer has to be certified to label their product as organic. In our opinion organic certification, however noble its beginnings, has become a revenue source for certifying agencies, is being taken over by large agricultural corporations, and is a marketing tool that uses scare tactics to promote itself. So rather than rely on expensive certification, we prefer to take the time to explain our practices and allow our customers to tour our farm so they can be fully informed about what they are getting. The best way to know your food is to know your farmer.