Commonly, the only state in the United States that grows their own coffee is Hawaii; however, California has recently started cultivating the coffee plants too, and some experts are predicting that this new investment will prove to be the state’s gold mine.
It all began when Mark Gaskell moved to California. Now a farm advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, Mark had been working in the coffee-growing regions of Central America, when he observed the coffee plants growing in gardens. He contemplated whether or not a large-scale operation would be possible.
When he became the farm advisor in 2001 he “established transplants and discovered that the sub-tropical plants could thrive in the Golden State.” With new aspirations in mind, he recruited Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics to facilitate the coffee-growing trials. Mark hoped that“coffee could become a valuable niche crop to help sustain small farms.”
Jay developed his own passion for coffee farming and began cultivating the plants in 2002 in Santa Barbara, saying that he “learned that we had the ability to grow very good coffee with a very unique flavor” and that “there is a misconception that you can’t grow coffee outside the Tropic of Cancer.“
Since the early 2000s, small-scale California farmers have adopted the coffee trade. The California coffee industry now has 30 farms growing over 30,000 coffee trees, as recorded by the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. At least 24 more farms are expected to produce coffee in 2018.
The biggest coffee farms in California are located in the Santa Barbara and San Diego counties. A majority of the farms are younger than five years old, but the coffee beans are now beginning to mature. Mark is hopeful that California coffee production will double by next year.
We don’t sell California coffee as of yet, but that doesn’t mean we never will in the future as their industry continues to flourish. But, we promise to keep an eye on the market, and in the meantime, you can try out any of our 100% arabica-based coffee drinks.