A five-generation native Californian whose roots in farming date back to the 1860s, when his relatives traveled west in covered wagons, Bruce Steele has had a lifelong goal to “have a garden larger than Aunt Shirley’s.” His affinity for growing things, as well as his green thumb and animal husbandry skills, came naturally, following in the family’s footsteps.
But Bruce’s interest in the natural world stretches far beyond our fields. Forty years ago he began a different type of farming – diving for sea urchins in the ocean off the Santa Barbara coast. He accumulated an uncommon knowledge of ocean rhythms and cycles after thousands of hours underwater. In his spare time, he planted an edible garden on Santa Barbara’s Mesa, which became the object of field trips for local school children to come see what was growing in Bruce’s garden.
Bruce’s desire for a BIG garden came to fruition when we moved from Santa Barbara to Buellton in 2000, and purchased 30 acres along the Santa Ynez River. Driving along Highway 246 in spring and summer, you might see Bruce in the field on his antique tractor, or weeding the rows by hand. He maintains the approximately eight acres we cultivate single-handed. Since we purchased Mangalitsa pigs in 2013, he has added pig husbandry to his daily “to do” list. His daily chores begin early, feeding the pigs. Much of the produce they enjoy we grow ourselves.
Sign up for our e–letter on the Contact Us page, and follow the season with us!!