Current and Upcoming Events

Silicon Valley Gives: May 6 Day of Giving. Donate to Puente!

On May 6, Puente will be eligible to for an enormous matching grant up to $35,000 thanks to a dollar-for-dollar challenge from Silicon Valley Gives. Help Puente make its match by giving generously through the Silicon Valley Gives website on May 6! Donations to Puente’s Silicon Valley dollar-for-dollar campaign only count if they are given through this website. Thank you!

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Pescadero Grown! Farmers’ Market opens June 5

Join Puente and all your neighbors at the festive opening day of Puente’s annual Pescadero Grown! Certified Community Farmers’ Market in Pescadero on June 5, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Live music, kids’ games, and the freshest hyperlocal produce in the region await you. Come sample the season’s delights! 251 Stage Road (Next to Pescadero Country Store).

Airielle Love of FlyGirl Farm gets ready for opening day.

Airielle Love of FlyGirl Farm gets ready for opening day.

For information on all upcoming events, contact Puente at (650) 879-1691.

The farm economy, the South Coast, and the will to survive


Rev. Wendy Taylor

Pescadero may be known as a tourist town to outsiders. But it’s Pescadero’s farm economy that keeps the town alive, employs residents and keeps students enrolled in local schools.

The long, slow decline of the South Coast farming and flower nursery economy has been a source of concern for Puente since September 11, 2001. That’s when Puente founder Rev. Wendy Taylor first noticed huge and troubling changes in and around Pescadero.

“It was a very slippery time,” recalls Taylor. “I noticed there weren’t any jobs to spare, even for horse trainers. People needed those jobs more than ever.”

After 9/11, the trickle-down effects of a suffering U.S. economy prompted several of Pescadero’s cornerstone agricultural employers to sharply curtail their labor forces, or shut down altogether.

A mushroom packing plant on Highway 1 closed its doors, laying off 300 workers who were earning a minimum wage of $10 an hour. Silver Terrace Nurseries cut its workforce down to roughly 40 people from 100, according to Rev. Taylor.

Those cutbacks, and several others, forced a substantial labor exodus from Pescadero as entire families left in search of work in other towns. That, in turn, had a near-crippling effect on the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District.

“I think we lost about 30 students out of our schools… that’s a lot when you only have 300 kids,” says Rev. Taylor.

Foreign competition also took its toll on a local scale. Grocery giant Safeway used to have a contract with Año Nuevo Flower Growers for fresh daisies, but the contract went to a company in Mexico, according to Rev. Taylor.

Another major local flower grower, Oku Inc., stopped selling roses and focused instead on orchids and other plants after Mexican growers undercut their prices. And strawflowers, previously a signature mainstay of the Coastside farm economy, went away altogether.


B.J. Burns and grandson

Fighting to survive

Foreign competition continues to hurt local farms and nurseries, but the biggest problem today is the skimpy labor force, according to B.J. Burns, who owns Bianchi Flowers in Pescadero.

“Labor has changed big time,” says Burns. “We don’t have the labor [force] we had before. I wish they could work out a program to have the farm workers come in.”

Border and work visa restrictions have created so many problems for seasonal workers that Bianchi Flowers has had to cut back on the product they can offer to wholesalers, says Burns.

“Before, you could pre-sell stuff and you would grow it accordingly. But now you’re very conservative when you grow the stuff because you don’t know whether you’re going to sell it, or if you’re going to have the labor to pick it.”

Burns has run Bianchi Flowers for 50 years and hopes to pass the business on to his daughter and grandson. 


New strategies

Keeping farms like Bianchi Flowers healthy and strong is a major programming goal for Puente, says Executive Director Kerry Lobel.

Starting with its Pescadero Grown! Farmers’ Market, Puente has stepped into the center of discussions over how to promote and sustain local farmers and ranchers. The farmers’ market enters its third year this month. It opens June 27 and features more than a dozen local food producers.

Puente also produced a South Coast “Foodshed Map” that identified many local food growers as a way help visitors appreciate the huge variety of products made in the area, from cheese to fruits, vegetables and grass-fed meat. Puente also conducted a wide-ranging agriculture survey on the best ways to boost the South Coast farm economy, and is working to implement the suggestions.

The latest major initiative is the Pescadero Grown Farmstand, an online service for Bay Area residents who want to have Pescadero produce delivered to their doors (or held for them at the farmers’ market). The online marketplace is hosted by GoodEggs, part of a relationship brokered by Puente. It will help local growers save time and meet increased demand, says Lobel.

“We need to bring every dollar back we can to preserve jobs and preserve the agriculture economy,” Lobel adds.

Online farmstand to open alongside Pescadero Grown! Farmers’ Market, June 27

June 27 brings two major developments to Pescadero’s burgeoning local food scene: the opening day of the third annual Pescadero Grown! Farmers’ Market and the launch of the Pescadero Grown “Webstand” on GoodEggs, an online market for the freshest small-farm produce, meat and cheese.

When it launches, the Pescadero Grown Webstand will give eager eaters – in San Francisco and beyond – the chance to order an aggregated box of freshly prepared farm food from seven Pescadero-based producers, and have it delivered directly to their homes, or to a pick-up point nearby.

“Good Eggs is a platform that brings us together, a platform to celebrate Pescadero,” says James Reid, Director of Marketing and Promotion for Harley Farms Goat Dairy. “What a great thing it is that if you live in Berkeley, it can all come straight to your doorstep.”


Harley Farms joins an all-star roster of farms and ranches uniting forces on the Pescadero Grown Webstand. The others are Blue House Farm, Early Bird Ranch, Leftcoast Grassfed, Markegard Family Grass-Fed, Echo Valley Farm, Tunitas Creek Kitchen, and Puente’s own in-house brand of homemade salsa and jam products. The Webstand will also have a section devoted to local events, allowing farms and ranches to sell tickets to special farm tours, workshops, and dinners.

It is the first time an entire group of food purveyors has joined together to offer a cornucopia of regionally-branded products on GoodEggs, which typically helps individual producers market themselves to a wider audience.

“The idea is to create a brand for the region itself,” says Puente Executive Director Kerry Lobel. “With the globalization of food, we have to find every way we can to feature local growers and producers.”


One major perk for farmers and ranchers is that with GoodEggs, they can focus more on growing the farm and less on chasing after the consumer at farmers’ markets in distant cities. None of the small farms in Pescadero have any staff to spare.

“Historically, we’ve all been very independent. As economics change, you realize, ‘I didn’t get into this business to drive to every corner of California to sell seven days a week,’” says Doniga Markegard, who owns Markegard Family Grass-Fed with her husband. “Now we have all this new time that we can devote to growing and becoming more profitable.”

GoodEggs users will also be able to order a customized box of food and have it held for them at the Pescadero Farmers’ Market. To find the Pescadero Grown Webstand, visit after June 27.


Pescadero Grown! vendors in person, in Pescadero and San Francisco

Of course, the original meet-the-farmer relationship experience is still available at the Pescadero Grown! Farmers Market, which opens on June 27 and occurs at 251 Stage Road in downtown Pescadero every Thursday through October 31. The June 27 opening event will feature live music by Mariachi band Los Cachorros as well as entertainment from DJ Larry, face painting, ribbon cutting by Supervisor Horsley and other surprises.

Most, if not all if the featured Pescadero Grown Webstand vendors will be there in person, along with many other locally beloved flower, fruit and vegetable farmers, like Farmageddon and Fly Girl Farm.


Puente continues to be mindful of the fact that many families who live on the South Coast and harvest our produce often can’t afford to buy the same fresh fruits and vegetables they help grow. To that end, this year Puente will continue to offer Market Match incentives to help low-income Coastsiders qualify for discounted Farmers’ Market products. The program, funded through the California Farmers’ Market Consortium, matches existing discounts offered through WIC and CalFresh (food stamps) programs. At the end of the day, shoppers save $20 or more on fresh food.

Friends at the Coastside Farmers’ Markets in Half Moon Bay and Pescadero offer both CalFresh and Market Match Discounts, as well.

New this summer, starting in August, some Pescadero farmers will also sell their products at The Second Act on Haight Street, home of the former Red Vic Movie House. The iconic San Francisco gathering spot, which is owned by Puente friends Betsy and Jack Rix, will be reborn as a community event space with a small collection of food stalls.

More details to follow later this summer. Stay tuned!


For more information, visit