Featured Farmer Spotlight: Caleb Barron of Fogline Farm


The bounty of the harvest at Fogline Farm

Our Featured Farmers are brimming with great ideas and knowledge to share with the farming community. Feeling a spark of curiosity? There’s no question too simple or tough. Ask a question or add a Conversation and we’ll be sure it’s answered within a day or two!

This week we’re featuring Caleb Barron, co-owner of Fogline Farm, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Caleb and his business partner, Johnny Wilson, produce a variety of fruits and vegetables, pastured pork and poultry, and have a growing CSA program.  They are some of our younger Featured Farmers, who were nominated by the community for their tenacity in facing the steep learning curve that is farming!

The mission of their business is to design agricultural systems to take full advantage of their landscape’s natural beauty and abundance. They strive to be stewards of the land in the most ecologically responsible ways, and to having their land free of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and GMOs. All of their animals are raised on pasture and fed organic feed, and their crops are rotated in order to take advantage of the fertility and pest management the animals provide.

FarmsReach: How many years have you been farming?

Caleb Barron: I’ve been farming for 7 years.

Caleb portrait

Caleb Barron, co-owner of Fogline Farm

FR: How many generations of farmers are in your family?

CB: None, I come from a long line of city folk.

FR: Which question(s) are you most asked by other farmers – either new or experienced? What is your response?

CB: Questions about finding farmland come to mind. We were fortunate enough to find our farm through CA FarmLink. The land we started on had enough infrastructure that we had to invest very little to start. The landowner also acted as a mentor, which was vital. I think having a mentor is very important for beginning farmers and I know we wouldn’t be where we are without this help.

FR: How did you get into farming? What do you love most about it?

CB: I really wanted to work outside and work with my hands, and I came upon the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems’ Apprenticeship Program in Ecological Horticulture, signed up, and was accepted. I love owning my own business, working with my hands, and providing good food to people.

FR: What was the most important piece of advice you received when you were getting started? And/or, what single piece of advice would you give a new beginning farmer?

CB: Similar to above: find help, accept help, don’t be afraid to use resources that are given/offered. Find a niche. Don’t be afraid to take risks!


Fogline Farm pigs

FR: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned since starting your operation?

CB: Money really doesn’t grow on trees. I only wanted to be a farmer. I ended up becoming a manager, a businessman, a politician, a salesman, and a chef/butcher. Basically, you have to wear many hats and be capable of undertaking many different roles.

FR: What are you most excited about that’s happening on your farm?

CB: Growth and efficiency.

FR: What do you feel is the next big thing (or most exciting thing) in agriculture?

CB: Vertically integrated foodsheds. A community that can grow food for humans, grow food for livestock, process the livestock locally, and sell it locally. Basically, a feed mill, slaughterhouse, and cut and wrap facility in each city. Systems need to be set up to make it more accessible for a farmer to grow, process and sell their goods.

FR: How many members do you have in your CSA and which regions do you serve? What would you want us to highlight about it?

CB: We’re small.  We have about 60-70 members and serve the Santa Cruz and Monterey regions. We’re unique in that we offer meat and eggs in our boxes.

Interested in a CSA? Check out Fogline’s CSA program for details!

FR: Where can customers find your products: markets, restaurants, stores, etc?

CB: Currently we’re at five farmers markets: Downtown Santa Cruz (Wednesday), Downtown Carmel (Thursday), Monterey/MPC (Friday), Aptos/Cabrillo College (Saturday), and Santa Cruz Live Oak (Sunday). We’re also selling to a number of restaurants: La PostaBantam, Avanti, and Soif in Santa Crauz; Manresa in Los Gatos; La Balena in Carmel; and Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.

FR: Which aspect, skill or part of farming do you feel is your “specialty” or favorite?

CB: Slaughtering. It’s not pretty, but I take great pride in the integrity and responsibility that I have with the process. I also provide an integral service to the community that many people are not interested in taking part of. I give full transparency, so customers can be assured that their food is handled respectively.

IMG_1021FR: Which piece of equipment can you not live without, or what would your dream new piece of equipment be?

CB: The piece of equipment I can’t live without is a Forklift. My dream piece of equipment would be a mechanical hog scraper.

FR: What do you like to do in your free time? Hobbies outside of farming? Favorite travel spots?

CB: Walking, hiking, biking, sitting on my couch after a long day.

FR: Anything else you would like to share – about you, your farm, your background, the industry, or anything?

CB: There is nothing like watching animals live in a free range/pasture based system. I am addicted.

Thank you Caleb for sharing about your farm with the community! If you have questions for Caleb about Fogline’s farmers markets, 2014 CSA program or other information about their upcoming season, get in touch: caleb@foglinefarm.com or visit their website.

Have a question or comment for Caleb or one of our other featured farmers? Join the Conversation and get your questions answered by the FarmsReach community! 

Do you know another farmer that would be interesting to profile? Let us know by contacting Eva: evaa@farmsreach.com

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