Introducing… Apricot Lane Farms!

Last weekend, John and I traveled from our temporary home of Chicago to Moorpark, CA; the first time we’ve gotten to visit Apricot Lane Farms together, since learning that we will definitely be making it our home.  Rachael Ray’s husband once said (and I roughly paraphrase) that nothing feels real until he shares it with Rachael.  I’m sure many couples understand that phenomenon, and since John takes all the pretty pictures, Apricot Lane Farms can finally become real for Organic Spark, too.  I’m so excited to share these pictures with you.  So let’s get on with it!

Standing in a pasture, peeking up the driveway to the main house.

Countless roses perfume the property.

Apricots used to be a thriving crop in the Moorpark, CA area.  In fact, a popular variety of apricot trees is actually named Moorpark, in honor of the fruit’s heritage.  Ironically enough, though apricot trees thrive in Moorpark, CA, the actual Moorpark variety does not.  It’s not cold enough!  Go figure.

One of the apricots of Apricot Lane Farms - more to come!

Currently, apricot trees only sporadically line the entrance-way to the farm, as well as several of the white-fenced pastures.  We plan to change this.  In honor of their heritage, apricot trees will not only fully line the entrance-way, but several varieties will be planted in the Apricot Lane Farms orchard.

The farm used to be a horse farm with 80-acres of somewhat overlooked avocado & lemon orchards.  Turning the whole operation on its head, we will be using the beautiful horse pastures to raise heritage breed sheep called Dorpers, pastured chickens and a few Tamworth heritage-breed hogs.

Pastureland of Apricot Lane.

 

Dorper sheep, heritage chickens and Tamworth hogs will soon graze here.

 

Rolling white pasture fences divide the expansive grasses of Apricot Lane Farms.

The orchard will also be changed.  In addition to adding more apricots, next year will begin a major orchard re-planting project.  We will be ripping out acres of aging lemons and avocados that have been stricken with root-rot, a common demise of the delicious avocado tree.  We will be increasing the number of avocados on the property, as well as planting 10-acres with a wide variety of fruit trees designed to serve as the foundation for a farmer’s market operation. Apricots, cherries, pears, peaches, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, kiwi and more are all currently in the plans.  I’ve been spending my days with my nose buried in the computer or my ear glued to the phone, learning everything I can about the different varieties of fruits that could thrive in our soil and climate.

One of the many ripening lemons that will soon be picked for sale.

 

After the recent picking, this was the ONLY hanging avocado that John found on the farm!

I’m also excited to announce that as of April 13, 2011, all chemical spraying stopped at Apricot Lane.  Three years from now, the farm could qualify for organic certification.  We will also be moving towards Biodynamic certification with Demeter USA.  We hope to not only be organic one day soon, but also to be a practicing Biodynamic farm.  I can’t wait to taste the fruit after this magical transition happens.

It's spring! Everything is in bloom...

One of our favorite things about the farm is the diversity – rolling pasture, orchard, vegetable patches, hills, valleys and one little pond right in the middle.  With the right guidance, we will be embarking on a pond restoration project in order to provide a natural habitat for all sorts of critters.

Several mallard ducks and a few cranes call this pond home.

 

Vegetable patch next to the main house... more about this next week!

As grateful shepherds of this land, we feel the responsibility to share its gifts with the world.  We hope to feed you with its bounty, and one day, we’d like to personally invite you to Apricot Lane, in order to experience its abundant charm first hand.

xo – Organic Spark

34 comments


  • Sandra Gillanders (sweetpeas4me)

    Wow Molly you have a little piece of heaven and I can’t wait to see what you do with this lovely piece of land. What a wonderful adventure to awaken to everyday. Best of luck with all your plans. Would love to visit sometime!

    May 8, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Awe Sandy – thanks!

      May 8, 2011
  • Dad

    Can’t wait to arrive on May 29. Your plans are gong to be a joy to watch unfold.

    May 8, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks Dad! Can’t wait to get you out here.

      May 8, 2011
  • It’s beautiful! Glad I can live vicariously through you on your blog…thanks for posting your photos and plans.

    May 8, 2011
  • Megan

    goose.bumps.

    May 8, 2011
  • You are living a dream girl.. those pictures are just stunning. The dream behind them is so exciting! :)

    May 8, 2011
  • Oh Molly, I cannot believe how beautiful your farm is. This is so exciting for you and your husband. I think we must do a field trip. How far are you from the OC??

    May 8, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Hmmm… I bet about 1 1/2 hours. We’d love to have you up one day!

      May 11, 2011
  • Mom

    I am hesitant to roll over in case this is just a dream and I’ll wake up to find you didn’t really invite us to this little heaven on earth for most of the summer. Yippee!

    May 8, 2011
  • Laurie

    So beautiful! I’m envious at the exciting new life you’re embarking on. I also live in the Los Angeles area and will be thrilled to be able to buy fresh, healthy, local food from you.

    May 9, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks Laurie! I look forward to providing it for you. :)

      May 11, 2011
  • Carol

    Beautiful pictures! This is going to be exciting!! :)

    May 9, 2011
  • WOW, Molly–this place looks amazing! I can’t wait to visit and see you do your thing… So excited.

    May 10, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks Alejandra! I look forward to sharing it with you and Dave. We’ll have to cook together!

      May 11, 2011
  • Thea

    Yay! Yay! YAY!!!!

    May 10, 2011
  • Lynn

    This place looks very nice. WHile on Ann MArie (cheeseslave ) site, and looking up something found your site.Dorper sheep sound unusual, didnt see them listed in my spinning yarn mag.(Spin off). Welcome to Moorpark.
    Talk to the avo man at the Friday farmers market (he has many , many varieties).
    Be well

    Lynn D

    May 16, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Dorpers are a shed-less breed. So, they just lose their wool! Probably why you didn’t find them in your magazine. Thanks for the welcome! I will definitely be visiting the markets soon. Warmly – Molly

      May 22, 2011
  • That farm looks amazing! I am so happy for you and John . . . and more than a little envious, too. :)

    May 21, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks Sally! You will definitely have to come up for a visit. I owe you an email, too! Been traveling and moving next week, but you’ll hear from me soon… Hope your well!

      May 22, 2011
  • Jennifer Brown

    I’m new to your site, but my, what a wonderful ride you are on! (You are living my dream)

    I wish you guys the best and hopefully one day I will see your magnificent farm. It looks spectacular.

    June 22, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks Jennifer! I look forward to meeting you one day at the farm… Warmly – Molly

      June 23, 2011
  • Molly — I accidentally ran across this blog post while researching organic avocados for a customer! I would LOVE to introduce you to TONS of rare varieties of avocados that can be grown here in Moorpark! You can find out lots more on my site at http://www.AvocadoDiva.com We need more biodiversity of avocados – not just the Hass! Thanks and best of luck.

    April 23, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Cool – thanks Brenda!

      July 14, 2012
  • Lynn D

    Hi
    Consider visiting Jim at the farmers market on Friday. He has so many kinds of avo’s . (some are stringy though).
    Also the California rare fruit grower groups around have so much local knowledge and the Conejo Botanic garden
    does tours and has a section of fruit trees, not sure when they are scheduling tours.
    Have fun
    Lynn D
    (Jon’s nursery in Somis has lots of info also and can sample whats on the trees.

    June 4, 2012
  • Susan F

    I met your dad yesterday while he was picking up your feed order. Not only is his a very charming individual but his description of Apricot Lane Farms was so intriguing I had to check it out (“paradise on earth”). Your pictures confirm his description! Thank you for sharing your pictures and the narratives.
    He mentioned a difficulty you were having and I suggested you purchase a few lamas/alpacas. They are excellent guards for livestock and source beautiful yarn. They would seem to fit in well with the overall multi-purpose functionality of the farm. Oh, and by the way, he invited my small family to visit the farm. :O) We will call to schedule and make sure it is convenient to you. Susan F.

    June 14, 2012
  • Eric Humel

    Looks like a beautiful place. Is your biodynamics consultant local?

    June 24, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      He’s from Northern California. Alan York… we’re lucky to have him…

      July 14, 2012
  • Christina Rivera

    Hi Molly and John;

    I have heard about your wonderful project from Tami Chu and see you picking up grain from Azure Standard.

    I am writing to you to find out if you are interested in having a few boys (12 and 14) as interns for the year. It is our dream to have some land and live as you are doing now. However, the financial opportunity has not turned up. In the meantime; my boys would love to have the opportunity to learn from you both while digging post-holes and mucking stallls… We are here in Moorpark.

    Thank you for your consideration. We’re praying for your project. Christina Rivera

    July 7, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Hi Christina! Nice to meet you! I would love to do this, but we just aren’t to the point that we could manage littler ones properly. Please check back in though. We’d like to set up systems to get interested folks involved in the future. Thank you so much for the prayers and for getting in touch… Warmly – Molly

      July 14, 2012
  • Laura (So Ca)

    Although I never watched the Oprah show, I do periodically check out her new “OWN” website and saw your video. You two are awesome.

    Thank you for not growing Frankenfood. Nature is the manifestation of the divine on earth., and yet us humans have such disrespect for it. I am a recovered Republican, now Political Atheist.

    As Joni Mitchell said and I’ll paraphase, I’ll take the spots on my apples, just leave me the birds and the bees. At 55, I finally get it! Nature is amazingly intelligent.

    March 26, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      The word Frankenfood is hysterical. Thanks for your support!! Love the Joni Mitchell line.

      July 4, 2013
  • Kevin moody

    Lovely estate farm! If i had enough money i would do the same… Loved the film on super soul sunday! The shaggy cattle are so cute! Boy you have a lot of chickens! I wish you guys luck with your dream farm… We need more healthy food growers.

    April 1, 2013
  • Manuel Santiago

    This place is wonderful. I hope that one Day I get to go.

    April 9, 2013

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