Featured Farmer Spotlight: Helmut Klauer of Classic Organic Farm & Market


Every week, we’ll spotlight a FarmsReach Featured Farmer. 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. 

featuredFarmer_Helmut-KlauerThis week, we’re featuring Helmut Klauer, soil management expert and owner of Classic Organic Farm & Market. His honor-system organic market feeds the local community as well as travelers from all over the world as they drive along highway 101 and arrive at the ever-welcoming Peace Barn.

FarmsReach: How many years have you been farming?

Helmut Klauer: 42 years

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

HK: One – that would be me.

Featured Farmer, Helmut KlauerIMG_5476

One of many books in Helmut’s library.

HK: How do you fertilize your plants? — I don’t; I grow the soil and the soil grows the plants. I plant green manure crops such as vetch, oats, fava beans, sudan grass and mustard. I mow these crops and turn the plant matter back into the soil to feed the biological life in the soil. Did you know that one teaspoon of healthy soil contains over one billion living microorganisms? These microorganisms digest the green manure crop and nutrients available for the vegetable plants.

How do you control insects?” — Plants grown in healthy soil are not prone to insect attacks. I also plant flowering plants to attract and feed the beneficial insects, who consume the insects which harm plants. I grow cilantro, parsley and fennel; after I harvest these crops. I let them go to flower. Most Adult beneficial insects require pollen and/or nectar to survive so they can complete their life-cycle. This ensures future generations of beneficial insects in my fields.

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

HK: I wanted to grow my own food. Watching plants grow and experiencing the joy of other people having access to nutritious produce.

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

HK: Native American Hopi Elder, White Bear, told me “Just plant the seed and don’t worry about it.”  Plant a seed and watch it grow. Beware! It’s habit-forming!

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

HK: Everything!

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

HK: Young people getting into farming organically

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

HK: Classic Organic Farm & Market sells fresh-picked (every morning and through the day, as necessary to restock the shelves) organic produce from the PeaceBarn, an old wooden barn by Old Coast Highway, which cuts through the farm located at 2323 Old Coast Highway, Gaviota CA. We are just off Interstate 101, 40 miles north of Santa Barbara, California and four miles south of Buellton, California. Traveling north or south, take the “Nojoqui Park” turnoff and look for the giant Peace Sign on the end of the PeaceBarn. Find us on FaceBook and at ClassicOrganic.org.

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

HK: I provide a year-round supply of fresh organic fruit and vegetables to not only our local community, but also to travelers from all over this nation and beyond. I am able to do this by planting 26 gardens each year on nine acres: that is, I plant seasonal arrays of fruit and vegetables, on average, every two weeks, so that I will have a new field to harvest every two weeks.

For example: my Winter/Spring cycle requires that I plant twenty 200-foot beds of our “market mix” (lettuces and about ten other greens) once every three weeks. These vegetables, planted in the Winter, grow very slowly in the short, cold days. When Spring comes, the days are longer and each successive planting grows faster, resulting in a fresh field to harvest every two weeks.

Featured Farmer, Helmut KlauerIMG_5483In late Spring and Summer, I plant lettuce once every week, using heat-tolerant varieties. Matured lettuce maintains good harvest quality for only one week in the heat of Summer, so it must be harvested quickly and I must have planted the right amount of rows at the right time if I am to have the right amount of produce ready to sell every day.

In late Summer, I continue to plant once every week because each successive planting takes longer to grow, as the days are shortening into Fall. Eventually, I have a new harvestable field every two weeks, and the cycle begins again. In the Fall, I plant the lettuce closer together because in the Winter, lettuce does not grow very big and I can put two small heads together to make one large head, which customers appreciate.

“He really has this whole thing down.” -The Farmer’s Wife

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

HK: My two 20-horsepower John Deere tractors.

FR: What do you like to do in your free time?

HK: Sleep.

If you’re in the area, take a drive over the weekend and visit Classic Organic Farm & Market. Stock up on his year-round, seasonal organic produce.

2 Thoughts on “Featured Farmer Spotlight: Helmut Klauer of Classic Organic Farm & Market

  1. I love Classic Organic Farm and Market. My husband and I go there just to see all the goodies and experience the peace that is there. Of course the origanic produce is wonderful. I recently had to have my foot put in a cast due to a fracture. Two days later I was sitting outside the Peace Barn having a great conversation with The Farmers Wife Kathryn. She sat on the edge of the barn threshold and I in my wheel chair. It was the best “medicine for me.” Helmut and my husband join in once in awhile. I was feeling down because I knew I had about 6 weeks in the wheel chair with no weight being on my left foot. Kathryn and I talked for a long time and I didn’t want to leave. It was almost a magical time. As I was getting back into the car from my chair I look at Kathryn and said, “you don’t know what you did for me today”. To which she replied “I think I know”. If you haven’t been to Classic Organic Farm and Market, make a trip and visit the Farm and Market, and of course the Peace Barn. You will not be disappointed.

    • Shanti Christensen on July 24, 2013 at 9:20 am said:

      What a healing experience as well! One can’t measure the value of experiences such as this. Peace Barn lives up to its name. Thanks for sharing Renee!

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