STONE FARMS!! If you haven’t heard of it, now you have. Stone Brewing, one of the most popular and successful craft breweries in the United States, have opened their organic farm to the public! I was thrilled when I heard the news, and couldn’t wait to go, so I scoped the deets, and made plans to get my booty down there*.
Here’s how it all goes down: you buy your tickets either at at the brewery tours tasting bar in the Stone Company Store in Escondido, or online through Brown Paper Tickets. Show up to the Escondido location at least 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time, check in at the tasting bar, then grab one of their awesome brews while you wait for the fun to begin.
Stone RuinTen and Ruination. Taste test! Can you tell which is which?
We were greeted by our tour guide Hayley in the Stone foyer, then climbed on the bus headed toward Stone Farms. She explained that Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens opened in 2006, and their philosophy is centered around the fact that organic food is better for you, better for the planet, and most importantly, it TASTES BETTER! What better way to drive that point home, than to have your very own local and organic farm? Today, 20% of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens’ produce comes from the farm.
The lovely Hayley passing out our pints of Dandelion IPA
Here are the dandelions in all their glory! I was focusing on the greens here… not the sign! Their markers are beyond cute.
After grabbing our pint of Dandelion IPA (you get to keep the glass!) at the little “Beer Shack” we’ll call it, we ventured out a few paces to a beautiful space defined by a large, old tree, and complete with a built in pizza oven, and couches made of straw.
It was in this space that Hayley spoke of the importance of encouraging competition within the ecosystem. Two ways they do this are by rotating crops, and attracting predators that keep the pests under control. An owl box sits in the tree above, with the hopes they will nest, and hunt small rodents. This allows them to avoid using pesticides, making it a 100% organic farm.
Squash, with tomato plants in the background
This lovely nook of farmland was originally called La Milpa Organica. As we all know, the past couple years have been tough on the economy, and La Milpa Organica, despite valiant efforts to remain open, just could not hold on. It was in March of 2011, that Stone Brewing Company stepped in, and took possession of the farm. Just a few short weeks ago, on June 22, 2013, the 19 acre property opened up its doors to the public!
Freshly planted row
Not only does the farm offer tours every Saturday, and Sunday at 1pm and 2pm, they also keep their doors open on Friday from 4pm – 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm – 6pm for you to wander and explore at your leisure.
Those collard greens are beautiful!
Of the 19 acres, 5 are dedicated to year round crops such as salad mixes, braising greens, arugula, chard, mustard greens, mizuna, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, amaranth, carrots, beets, onions and radishes. Seasonal crops such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, and peppers are grown as weather permits. The rest of the property is home to chicken, ducks, quail, goats, and the most beautiful peacocks!! Man, they have personality! They come right up to you.
While hops do grow on the farm, very rarely does any make it into the beer that Stone brews. It would take much more land to grow the quantity of hops that they require for their extremely hoppy beers!
Looks like this is my row!
I loved this – we get to the microgreen section, and Hayley lets us grab a pinch to munch! They were so good! I wonder if the farmers get frustrated that the tourists are munching on their stuff?
A friendly peacock & mean looking rooster
These are definitely happy chickens. I fell in love with this one!
Clockwise from top left:
1) Artichoke flower w/bee in-flight! 2) Yellow Dahlia 3) Passion Fruit Flower 4) Passion Fruit, ripe and ready to be picked
I really need a bumper sticker that says, “I brake for tomatoes.” They let us wander after the official tour, and this is what I found. Naturally!
I also found this bad-ass, comfy hammock. They also have a little play-place for the kiddos… I mean this place has it all!
The farm also cares for many flowers, as you can see! These aren’t even the tip of the ‘berg either. They help attract the bees which are essential for pollination of the vegetables.
Purple and white tip Dahlias
It was nearing time to skedaddle, but not before I picked up some goodies from the “Beer Shack!” I couldn’t resist farm fresh eggs, and also picked up some canned beets and turnips. Yeah, buddy!
Back at the brewery, we were chomping at the bit to get lunch, and see some of the farm produce in ACTION!
Miso Glazed Pan Seared Salmon with a Ginger & Lemongrass Rice Cake, topped w/ Sweet & Savory veg – $18
Artisanal Sausage Platter w/ Herbed Roasted Potatoes & Braised Greens, side of Stone Ground IPA Mustard – $19
‘Twas a perfect end to a perfect day. If you’d like to experience all this for yourself, Scope it:
A $20 ticket ($10 for non-drinkers) gets you:
- Round-trip transportation to the farm from Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido
- A pint of beer brewed exclusively for the farm using ingredients grown on site
- A souvenir pint glass that is yours to keep
- A casual yet informative guided tour with one of their talented Indoctrination Specialists
- A bouquet of herbs to take home with you
- A relaxing interlude in the country
Saturday: 1pm – 6pm
Sunday: 1pm – 6pm
View Stone Escondido, Stone Farms in a larger map
I really hope you can make it down there. It is truly beautiful, comfortable, and relaxing. I can’t wait to go back myself and wander around now that I’ve got all the information. I’d love to grab a pint, and sit on the straw couches, or better yet, in that hammock, and soak in the peace and gratitude of knowing that all is not lost in this world – that someone still cares about what we put in our bodies, and better yet, someone who really cares about the welfare of this planet. The guys over at Stone Brewing Co. are leading by example, showing us what it truly means to be stewards of this planet. To that, I say CHEERS!
*I was compensated with free admission to the farm in exchange for this post, but I would not share something with you if I didn’t believe in it 100%.