Food

A unique Funk Zone Farm sprouts up in a rustic area of Santa Barbara

Vegetables and baked goods sold by young farmers

The new Funk Zone Farm in Santa Barbara has  proven to be a popular ground up small business.  (John Palminteri/KEYT.com) 

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Something special has sprouted up in what was once an often overlooked aging property in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone.

As one customer at the new Funk Zone Farm said when she came in, "what happened to this place? "

It's located on the corner of 136 E. Yanonali Street .  

The farm is producing fresh vegetables in a mixed neighborhood of housing, art studios, and wine and beer businesses. 

They are all coming out of raised gardens or classic metal tubs.

Sami Weiss is one of the owners and says, "every 20 minutes someone is popping over the fence and saying  'Whoa what is going on?  This is amazing!'"

It's in one of the most evolving areas of Santa Barbara.

"We're trying to make that connection to people where their food is coming from and its grown," co-owner Carter Hallman said. 

The young operators say this is the start of a bigger farming dream ahead. Some day they would like a larger parcel of land to grow their crops.

One of the more popular items is the carrots. Weiss was using a broad fork took to loosen the soil and bring the carrots out in bunches, then she used a sprayer to clean them off before they are sold nearby.

And the owners explain how the vegetables can be used in many different recipes. For the carrots, "the tops are edible as well, they are a great substitute for parsley or celery in soups."

For now the farm is selling on Saturday mornings every other week.

Lenka Tinka said, "I live in downtown it's a walking distance it's perfect."

At every turn you see the growing process in front of you, and people in the neighborhood are talking.

"I was at the coffee shop and everyone was talking about how yummy it was," said Jenny Bruell.
Many people stop by in amazement. and customer Tom Stanley says it brings together a tighter community.  "The smiles and the people knowing the people and knowing it is good for the community and it is "old soul" Santa Barbara."

At the counter you can also find some homemade bread, jams and muffins and they usually go fast.

Sometimes Hallman says you get a little extra. "You throw in a couple of other cool few vegetables that they have never had before and they say 'whoa food can taste this way and be this good for you?'"

He is particularly thrilled with the response from the Hakurei eye turnips. "They almost taste like juicy cantaloupe."

"Seeing everyone come here and the smiles on their faces and the joy it brings them,  that is enough for the city to see this is totally needed," Weiss said.

The unique farm has an area with tables and chairs, a greenhouse and in the center is a small home that's mainly an art studio.

When they are open, light live music is also performed.

The Funk Zone district once had a vast collection of older Santa Barbara-area small artists and designers working out of a variety of buildings from old metal sheds to wooden structures dating back decades.

Some of the sites were once used in the fishing industry. Older restaurants closed or were torn down and the zone has seen some of the newer, trendy homes and food establishments emerge.  Many have worked to stay with the waterfront, Spanish or retro-funk theme.


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