California Coffee Brews Success

Mark Gaskell on California Coffee Crop

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke about the emerging California coffee crop  with Mark Gaskell, who covers San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties as farm advisor for the University of California Small Farm Program as well as the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) Cooperative Extension.

“Currently, there are about 30 farms with maybe 30,000 coffee plants between San Luis Obispo and San Diego Counties,” Gaskell said. “I would expect that to double this year. California’s coffee crop is doing well.”

“There is also now a private company, Frinj Coffee,” explained Gaskell, “that evolved out of a long relationship I had with Jay Ruskey, CEO and co-founder of Goleta-based Good Land Organics. Ruskey participated in some of our early research and development work with California coffee. Our collaboration has justified investment by the number of coffee growers in the Frinj Coffee operations.”

There are 25 growers, according to the Frinj Coffee website.

Coffee cultivation is new to California, because, as Gaskell explained, “traditionally, coffee is grown in subtropical areas, specifically at high elevations where the relatively cooler temperatures are. Cooler temperatures prolong the ripening time, which improves the quality of the coffee beans.”

“So, in the world’s newest coffee growing region, Coastal Southern California,” Gaskell said, “we replaced the high elevation with the influence of the Pacific Ocean. The ocean delivers a huge mass of relatively cool temperatures—always between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These mild coastal conditions enable a very long ripening season for the coffee cherries and coffee beans.”

Gaskell projects the California coffee crop will be very successful.

“We expect the coffee volume will double this year and probably continue to double for the next few years. Just based on existing interest in coffee, I expect demand to keep pace with the ability of California growers to supply it, and more and more growers will be planting it this year.”

California Among Good Food Awards Winners

California Among Good Food Awards Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Good Food Awards Winners and their food communities for leading the way towards a tasty, authentic and responsible food system.

For a long time, certifications for responsible food production and awards for superior taste have remained distinct—one honors social and environmental responsibility, while the other celebrates flavor. The Good Food Awards recognize that truly good food—the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities—contains all of these ingredients. We take a comprehensive view, honoring people who make food that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions.

Chosen from 1,927 entrants, California companies placed among the 242 award winners that are creating vibrant, delicious, sustainable local food economies.



Almanac Beer Co., Farmer’s Reserve Citrus & Golden Gate Gose, California
Eel River Brewing Company, California Blonde Ale, California
Fort Point Beer Company, Manzanita, California
Rogue Ales & Spirits, Rogue Farms Fresh Roast, California


Black Pig Meat Co., Coppa, California
Fork in the Road Foods, Uncured Black Forest Ham, California
Real Good Fish, Smoked Carmel Canyon Black Cod, California
Wooden Spoons, Pork Rillettes, California


Bellwether Farms, Whole Milk Ricotta, California
Cowgirl Creamery, Red Hawk, California
Pennyroyal Farm, Reserve Boont Corners, California
Tomales Farmstead Creamery, Teleeka, California


Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, 70% Bolivia, Alto Beni, California


Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Panama Esmeralda Estate, Lino Lot Natural, California
Equator Coffees & Teas, Panama Finca Sophia Gesha, California
Klatch Coffee, Kenya Karatu, California


Little Apple Treats, Rose and Cocoa nib Caramels, California
Neo Cocoa, Toffee Nib Brittle, California
Nosh This, Lavender Crack, California


Bloom Honey, Orange Blossom, California
Mikolich Family Honey, Sage and Wild Buckwheat, California
UrbanBeeSF, Tree Blossom Honey Quince & Tree Blossom Honey Nopa, California


Apollo Olive Oil, Sierra & Mistral, California
Berkeley Olive Grove 1913, California Mission Blood Orange,California
Calivirgin, Calivirgin Jalapeno-Garlic Olive Oil, California
La Nogalera Walnut Oil, La Nogalera Walnut Oil, California
La Tourangelle, Gourmande Roasted Hazelnut Oil, California
MoonShadow Grove, Ascolano, California
The Olive Press, Sevillano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, California


Happy Quail Farms, Farm Style Relish, California
Mimi’s Confitures, Radicchio Jam, California
SALSAOLOGY, Ancho Chile and Tamarind Sauce, California
Spoiled Rotten Vinegar, Blackstrap Vinegar, California


Pernicious Pickling Co., Pickled Red Beets: Fashionably Dill,California
Wild West Ferments, Seasonal Sauerkraut, California
Wine Forest, Pickled Sea Beans, California


Happy Girl Kitchen Co., Raspberry Lemon Jam, California
The Good Stuff, Best Plum Jam, California


Bear & Eagle Products, 1.0.1 Ultra Premium Vodka, California
Five By Five Tonics, Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bitters, California
Venus Spirits, Gin Blend No. 2, California