Couple Berry Farms is the hidden gem of a farm that has always been here right under our noses. This family-run farm in Vista, with a roadside stand full of fresh organic produce, has been on the same parcel of land for nearly a century. Although it’s visible to anyone driving east on the 78, it’s not necessarily well known to folks outside of the local area.
What’s with the Funny Name?
Having just moved in up the road, I’ve seen the name Couple Berry Farms on my maps when looking for the best route from my new home to my regular places. I wondered where the name came from. I thought maybe it was a couple raising berries. It turns out, one of the grandkids came up with the name on accident. On a warm summer day, the eldest grandson hopped onto Grandpa Butch’s lap and asked for a tractor ride to “get us some couple berries.”
And the name stuck.
Saturday Stroll Around the Farm
Although I’ve been in the neighborhood for a month, I didn’t get to the farm stand until just this past Saturday. Within a moment of walking up to the baskets of produce, a tall ruddy man with a snow-white mustache appeared. I recognized his face from the Couple Berry site. That guy was unmistakably Butch Johnson.
Butch told me a little about what he had growing this week and that they were short on eggs due to the recent rains. Talking about the chickens lead into talking about the ducks. “They’re our watch ducks.” Apparently, ducks can see at night and will quack like crazy if anyone or anything gets on the property at night.
I asked about the rest of the animals, visible from the road as you drive by the farm. He invited me to take a stroll and meet some of them while he chatted up more neighbors that had come by to get their veggies.
Not only does Couple Berry Farms have eight acres of land, they also raise many animals. Visitors to the farm are welcome to walk around the front end of the property to check out the ducks, pigs, goats, and sheep. They also raise chickens out back. (BTW: The duck and chicken eggs are corn-free and grain-free.)
Long Time Family Farm
When I walked back up to the farm stand, I asked him which of the two homes on the property was the original structure. He pointed to the home closest to the highway. “My grandfather built that house back in the 1920’s.” We talked a little bit about how people came to this area back in those days, including minor celebrities of the time. Then he pointed back down the road and told me that his grandfather, along with several neighboring farmers, helped to build Mar Vista, the road that gets us back out to Melrose.
While we chatted about the recent rains and how it had affected the daily egg yield, a family drove up. The parents meandered over to the farm stand while the kids visited with the baby pigs and Butch’s grandkids, who were hopping in and out of the house their great-great-grandfather built.
Growing Food for Local Families
The farm has fed their family for nearly a century, but in the last several years, they decided to open it up to the public and feed the families of the local community. The farm grows and sells over twenty varieties of sustainable vegetables and fruits, as well as the aforementioned animals’ eggs and meat. They grow using sustainable farming methods, and although not a certified organic farm, Couple Berry Farms does not use any chemical or synthesized pesticides on their produce.
CSA Subscription at Couple Berry Farms
There are certain items that don’t grow in large enough quantity to sell at a Farmer’s Market, like their fresh peaches and grapes from the vine. Those items first go into the farm’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes. CSA has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. A typical CSA will deliver a standard weekly “share” of produce that’s ready for pick up on Wednesdays. If you’re unable to pick up on Wednesday, you can pick up during the regular farm stand hours, Thursday through Saturday.
The benefit of signing up for the box, besides keeping a family farm like Couple Berry going, is to snag the first of the crops, of course. CSA boxes are filled and available weekly before the remaining yield ends up in the produce stand for everyone else to buy. So to reserve the limited quantity items, like Butch’s juicy peaches, you definitely want to have a subscription to their CSA.
How Much Do These Safely Grown Fruits and Veggies Cost?
One questions people always ask about when it comes to visiting these local farms is how much does the produce cost. If you’re like me and you enjoy more flavorful food, you think first about the quality of the food, not the price. But since we live on a tight budget, as I’m sure many of our readers do, I have to also make sure that I’m getting plenty of bang for my buck. That’s definitely the case at Couple Berry. On my first trip to the farm, I was able to purchase all of these freshly picked, local produce, grown without chemicals or pesticides for only $15.
Where Exactly is Couple Berry Farms?
Couple Berry Farms is located just a quarter mile south of the 78 on Mar Vista Dr. Drive the speed limit (or maybe a bit slower) or you might miss it. You can use your map app, or just look for the old timey sign.
- Location: 629 Mar Vista Dr, CA 92081.
- Farm Stand Hours: Thursdays & Fridays 1-5; Saturday 9-5
- CSA Pickup: Wednesdays 1-6 (Thur, Fri, Sat upon request)
Have you been to Couple Berry Farms? Did you even know it was there? Which one of the farm animals do you want to go say hi to first???