Updated 2008-10-08 01:00:17 ID=135:1

© 2008 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-09-26 09:14:13:54
©2008 The Romantic Table

Rows of Basil at Lefort's Organic Farm

Lefort's Organic Farm.

Lefort's Organic Farm, located along the bank of the Huer Huero Creek is a grower of organic specialty crops.

LaFort’s Organic Farm

We made a late afternoon visit to LaFort’s Organic Crops located on Huer Huero Creek Road, off of Highway 58 outside of Creston, CA. During the week the owners Roberto and Carol Lefort both work full time day jobs. Roberto owns Lefort's Tractor Work, and Carol Is a full time Teacher. Roberto would be home at that time to gives us a tour of the farm.

Lefort's Organic Farm is a neat ten acre farm in a little valley of deep alluvial loam soil, located along the bank of the Huer Huero Creek. Later Roberto would tell us the soil and location is ideal for organically growing basil, a specialty of the farm. The Leforts established the farm over 10 years ago, and have organically farmed from the start. The farm was officially certified organic in 2003.

The farm is framed on all sides by steep hills covered with native vegetation creating an undisturbed natural habituate which complements the organic farming practices. Looking around the farm it was beautiful to see all the produce in the fields in neat rows awaiting their picking. Since no chemicals are used in production, this is testimony to the manual effort expended to cultivate the produce.

©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-09-26 10:38:50:56
©2008 The Romantic Table

Roberto Lefort working in the fields.
We were anxious to get a chance to interview Roberto because of his unusual specialty crops that he grows. In particular we like to use his baby zucchini blossoms in Baby Zucchini and Zucchini Blossoms Frittata, and his especially intense Italian Basil, one of the four different kinds of basil that he grows, in our Classic Basil-Walnut Pesto with Linguine..

His basils, in particular are some of the most robust and tempting of any we have worked with. Several top chefs in the area buy his basils and zucchini blossoms at the Farmers Markets and use his lemon basil for their salmon and chicken entrees and his purple basil, which has a mild licorice taste, for their salads.

As we entered through the gate, we were greeted by three friendly dogs and a somewhat shy cat. Seeing no one around, We walked up to the house door and knocked. –Not a sound. So we went around the house to find Roberto LaFort bent over tending some squash.” Hello” we said.. Roberto struck out his hand and with a big grin welcomed us for coming. Roberto was tan, hot and dusty, and said “this is hard work”, as we could see and appreciate.

"So what’s this about this website?” he asked., “Are you going to tell the people how hard the work is and that we need their support?” “Yes” we exclaimed as he motioned us inside the farm house. We sat down at his table and started talking and asking questions. We learned a wealth of information from this very sincere man.

©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-09-26 09:15:01:55
©2008 The Romantic Table

Carol Lefort at Templeton Farmer's Market.
Roberto is originally from Chili. He has farmed all his life. He started in Chili when he was a youngster and lived with his grandmother who had a farm. After high school he went to the university where he studied agriculture for four years. Laughingly Roberto told us his university studies were in animal husbandry - not the type of farming he is doing today, but, perhaps as a portent of things to come, during that time, he and a friend leased a farm and grew organic crops for extra money. A few years later, his friends moved to the United States and urged him to do likewise. So he did. Here in America he met his wife Carol, a teacher, and they looked for a place that would have the right soil to have a family farm. They finally settled at their current farm in Creston California.

Roberto continued on telling us how he loves to farm but he said he doesn’t think a lot of the public realize just how much effort it takes an organic farmer to grow his crops. With the poisoning of our food supply by unregulated foreign producers, people are looking for high quality food locally grown with no chemicals and additives. But organic farming is very labor intensive, manual labor must replace the time-saving chemicals are used in ordinary commercial production. Taking into consideration that it’s a short growing season, he has to spend ten to fifteen hour days to bring the crop to market. Roberto does almost all the work himself aided by one paid part-time employee.

When asked to summarize his livelihood, Roberto replied “rough and hard.”

His wife Carol, who is a full-time teacher in Oceano, helps to sell the family crops on Saturdays at the Templeton, San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande farmers markets, as well as the farmers markets at Morro Bay and the San Luis Obispo on Thursdays.

In addition to local farmer's markets, the Leforts also sell their producers to a number of local grocers and restaurants. Besides his basils, you can also find his squash, many kinds of eggplants, and melons at “Food for Less Grocery Stores”, New Frontiers Market in San Luis Obispo, Natural Touch Market in Templeton, the Cal Poly CSA program, and The Ranch Restaurant in Santa Margarita.

Like many of the farmers on the Central Coast, Roberto also works at another career to supplement his income for his family. When he’s not farming, he does all types of tractor work all over the county. He has several customized rigs to satisfy most job requirements.

If you have any questions about where and when to find his organic crops or need tractor work done, you can reach Roberto at 805 438-3081.

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A tip from Sue!

Know your stove!

Not all stoves are equivalent! Your "medium" may be equivalent to another's "high." For instance, a lot of recipes use the "Medium heat" burner. But that can be too high if your sauteing garlic and don't want it to burn. It's better to err toward the lower setting.