As I wrote two weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to find the time to do some canning. Given the long holiday weekend, and no plans to leave town or entertain guests, Brilliant Daughter and I headed south last Friday to LJB Farms in San Martin (near Gilroy, California). LJB Farms runs a farm stand in what is called the “Barn.”
Owned and operated by the Bonino Family for 92 years, the farm is run by Judy and Louie Bonino and their two sons, Russell and Brent. In addition to everything they grow, they supplement the Barn with other local growers and purveyors. So even though I drive 53 miles to get to the Barn (and worth every mile), all the produce I buy comes from within 100 miles of my home.
As usual, the place was hopping. The parking lot, bigger than most farmstands, was constantly filled. Judy Bonino greeted people by name, while son Brent brought in fresh Blenheim apricots, peaches, raspberries and strawberries. In fact, they could hardly keep the berries in stock, they just flew off the shelves.
We bought some huge tomatoes, garlic, and pasilla peppers to make salsa.
…1 flat of Blenheims, 1 flat of Santa Lucia peaches, and a box of pickling cucumbers. I even got a few tips from Louie Bonino on pickling. We’ll see how that turns out!
And did you see those cool old tools they had above the coolers?
They have a great assortment of dried fruits and nuts.
…and jams, jellies, preserves, butters, and local honey. I was interested in their strawberry jalapeno and pickled garlic. What exactly do you think you would use those for?
Needless to say, with the bounty we picked up, we have some work ahead of us. Tune in later this week to see just what we created with all this great local produce. And should you want to make your own foray to LJB Farms, head on down to 585 Fitsgerald Avenue in San Martin. It’s off Highway 101 at Masten Avenue between Morgan Hill and Gilroy.