Meet the Maker: Blue House Farm
Through autumn fog rolling inland from the sea, we pulled off Highway 1 and continued driving along an even smaller, twistier road to get to Blue House Farm. We missed the turn (twice) before we finally pulled into the driveway, and Carra greeted us alongside her pups: Indigo, Bowie, and Savannah.
Though small and tucked away in the hills, Blue House is known for a higher standard of farming. They started in San Gregorio about 15 years ago growing a variety of organic produce and flowers and have expanded to another location that runs along Pescadero Creek, where teams plant new crops year-round, and where we visited on our field trip.
If you’re familiar with our floral display, you might know that many of the bouquets and flowers we have available come from Carra Duggan (@flowersbycarra); she’s been doing this for over a decade! She oversees the flower farming at Blue House and creates some stunning arrangements (you can also order a handmade bouquet from her on our Thanksgiving site!).
Carra led us around the farm, escorted by Indigo and Bowie, showing us where the plants sprout in trays in a little covered nursery area before being moved and replanted into the main fields. The fully-bloomed flowers are usually stored nearby in a giant refrigerated container, waiting to be carted off to the farmer’s markets and vendors around the Bay Area. Unfortunately, the week before we visited, frost hit the farm and wiped out a lot of the flowers so there was hardly anything left for us to see. We walked past bins filled with dirt-crusted dahlia tubers, and Carra explained that even though the frost wiped out the flowers, the tubers can be dug up, divided, and either sold or re-planted in the next season. The Blue House teams work to reuse as much as possible and create a low-impact sustainable farm.
Next to the refrigerated shipping container is the flower arranging station that’s housed in an old dairy barn; we climbed above the station where rows of flowers were drying. The ideal conditions for drying flowers are a cool, dry, and dark place. The dimly lit area was almost reminiscent of a Blair Witch-esque scene; it felt as if we had come across something we weren’t meant to see. It also didn’t help that there was a giant tub of garlic bulbs chillin’ in the darkest corner either, but Carra laughed at our unease and offered us as many bulbs as we could carry (we each took one).
Since most of the fields were wiped out from frost a week prior, there were very few rows of flowers that were there for us to see. So led by Indigo and Bowie, we wandered down to the creek past piles of tomatoes left out for composting, shining in the sun like rubies and gold. Carra brought us around to see the rest of the fields on the Pescadero farm, where we saw the end-of-season tomato plants, dark leafy kale, and rainbow chard growing in neat rows. At the furthest corner of the farm past the main fields and across the bridge, is where they grow squash, raspberries and blackberries, and chili peppers. The field is more protected from frost and bad weather by the surrounding trees, which makes it an ideal spot for warmer-weather produce.
In the golden light of the afternoon, Blue House Farm glows with the proud hard work of the staff that keeps it running. There is no better respite than walking through rows of hand-planted produce, appreciating the quiet serenity of a mid-November day. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but rest assured, we will be back next season to catch the flowers in full-bloom. We may even get our hands dirty and help with the next harvest.