I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect as I drove down 56th Street. What does an urban farm stand look like anyway? Since Sacramento City Council passed the Urban Agriculture Ordinance earlier this year, I had been anxious to see farm stands popping up around town. But, this visit to East Sac Farms would be my first sighting.
The stand itself was small, adorable, and surrounded by neighbors picking out perfect pieces of produce. Kyle and Morgan had meticulously staged their multicolored peppers, tomatoes, squash, herbs, and flowers so that the stand perfectly reflected their warm personalities and pride in their produce.
Before taking the grand garden tour with Kyle, I poured myself a glass of cold cucumber water – it was 108 degrees and Morgan insisted everyone stay hydrated. We entered the backyard, took a peek at the outdoor kitchen (complete with a wood fired pizza oven) and rounded the corner into a real life Sunset Magazine spread.
The outdoor lounge invited me to relax and enjoy the yard with a plush seating area, large farmhouse style table, and fire pit. But, as I looked around at the lush green lawn and yard full of amenities, I realized I couldn’t even see a garden. Where were they growing all of this food? “Everything we grow is edible,” Kyle explained as we strolled through the lot. Even the sunflower-like plants growing 8 feet tall along the border of the lawn produced a root with a flavor reminiscent of an artichoke. Even the décor plants were food.
As I walked through the yard, mouth agape and a little jealous of this outdoor haven, Kyle showed me through an archway covered in tomatoes and squash – volunteer plants from years past, which wound their tendrils up and over the fencing and produced a tunnel of tasty gems as you enter the garden. The garden itself was no more than a quarter of the entire yard, and yet it produced enough food for Kyle, Morgan, and any of their interested neighbors. Each raised bed overflowed with a mixture of fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Kyle humbly described the garden as a hobby, and while the East Sac Farms duo has contributed countless hours of effort, exploration, and error, they are no doubt natural green thumbs, and most certainly an inspiration.
Before I left, Morgan and Kyle made sure my arms were piled high with giant cucumbers, freshly cut basil, a basket of sunburst tomatoes, a bouquet of flowers, various squash, and a newly rooted raspberry plant. And, as if contributing their hard work and fresh vegetables to the neighborhood wasn’t generous enough, they refused to charge me. Any funds in exchange for food were considered a donation and allocated directly back into the garden.
Kelly’s salad with tomatoes and cucumber from East Sac Farms
Almost a full week later, I am still slicing up cucumber and snacking on bite sized tomatoes from the farm stand. I can’t tell if it’s the small carbon footprint, the organic gardening, or the genuine love put into these plants that make them taste so good, but whatever it is, I can’t wait to try more.
Morgan and Kyle are not only visionary gardeners, they are genuine community builders – contributing advice, healthy food choices, neighborly friendships, and a seriously badass backyard to the entire community. Their passion for sustainable living is infectious and their farm stand is revolutionizing how their neighborhood thinks about food, landscaping, and the potential one small city lot has to change our communities.
Be sure to check out the East Sac Farms’ Instagram @urbanfarmstead to get updates on the urban farm stand schedule!