People said he was nuts, but this farmer proved it could be done

By Trust for Public Land
Published July 30, 2014

People said he was nuts, but this farmer proved it could be done

30 years ago, fellow farmers told Jim Cochran, founder of Swanton Berry Farm, he'd never be able to grow strawberries on a commercial scale without pesticides. After all, no one had ever managed to run such a large berry business using all organic methods. But Jim believed it could be done.

And so did we. 

In 1998, The Trust for Public Land purchased 7,000 acres of coast, agricultural lands, and inland hills just north of Santa Cruz. Today the land—once slated for a 139-home subdivision—belongs to the public for hiking, biking, and soaking in the beauty of the California coast. 

It's also home to Swanton Berry Farm, an organic pioneer for the industry. In addition to providing local markets with juicy organic strawberries,  the farm invites the public to pick berries fresh from its bountiful fields and picnic on its scenic coastal grounds. A cozy cafe welcomes friends and families who gather to play board games and enjoy strawberry shortcake or jars of homemade jam.

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