Grebar Farms may not have deep roots since the wildfires of 2007 took out many of its greenhouses, but it does have a plentiful second harvest—all for the sharing.
The family-ran farm here in Ramona started out as Grebar Groundcovers in 1979, where Greg and his wife Barbara Harper (the origins of "Grebar") produced wholesale plants in greenhouses on their 7-acre property at 401 Pile St.
"He always wanted to do the farmstand thing," said Greg's daughter, Patti Prohaska.
So that's what Greg did after the Witch Creek Fires destroyed his property. And the result was 1,200 stonefruit trees, new greenhouses for goods like tomatoes and strawberries and lots of berries and greens.
"Last year was our first year for strawberries," Prohaska said. "We experimented with them and they were really successful."
Strawberries should be ready for residents to purchase by Valentine's Day, Prohaska said.
The mother of two, who helps her dad in the fields, said this is only the second full season open for the modest farmstand, as it took years for the fruit trees and berries to mature once they were planted after the fires.
Prohaska also said the whole farming business has been a learning process for her and her parents.
"Two years ago, I was an insurance underwriter and now I do this," she said. "I couldn't keep a house plant alive before this!"
But it seems as if the Harpers and Prohaska know what they're doing. Their strawberries are sweet and juicy (a certain Patch editor got to try a handful!) and they're taking extra special care of their greenhouse tomatoes by adding heaters to accomodate for the cold nights Ramona has seen lately.
"We grow everything naturally—no pesticide sprays," Prohaska told Patch. "We use no harsh chemicals. We're eating this stuff, too!"
Prohaska also explained that everything is picked fresh daily, which extends the life of their crops in your fridge.
"It's cut daily so it stays fresh longer," she said of their many lettuces and greens.
Grebar Farms is maximizing every bit of space on its land, too, by growing crops in between the greenhouses and eventually filling up a pond and adding tables and grass for guests to sit down and enjoy the farm's serene atmosphere.
"We want to be able to eventually do something with the wineries and become an attraction," Prohaska said.
But for now, the family farm, ran just by Prohaska, the Harpers and one field worker, is steadily ploughing out all types of greens and fruit, including, but not limited to:
- Lettuce mixes (conveniently sold bagged)
Don't recognize some of those oddly-named crops? Grebar Farms has you covered.
"We send out emails with what's in the store," Prohaska said for the farm's customers. "And recipes for the things people aren't familiar with—like kohlrabi."
Prohaska said the farm is hoping to expand their choices as they go, but they're "still new to this." However, that doesn't mean it's all hard work.
"This is a lot of fun, and for me, it's been a great learning experience," the young farmer-in-training said. "But we get new people in everyday and the keep coming back."
Want to add fresh local produce to your family's dinner table? Visit Grebar Farms at 401 Pile St. and get quality food, from one family to another.