Twin Brooks Farm in Loomis has been home to gold miners, a fruit ranch, a cattle ranch, and a vegetable farm, and they have all been in my own family. My great-grandparents spent their first several winters on the ranch mining the creeks, clearing brush and planting fruit trees. (Our website has photos of their original home and the “big house” they built in 1912.)
At age 19, my grandfather bought property just to the north and planted his own orchards.
The two ranches thrived for about 75 years, but when local fruit ranching declined in the ‘60s, my dad turned the orchards into pasture, raising black angus breeding stock for several more years.
My husband caught the farming bug when the Foothill Farmers’ Market started. With inherited farm land, a barn and a tractor, we thought it would be something fun we could do together and keep the farm going, too. What started with an oversized family garden soon grew into a market garden big enough to supply five farmers’ markets a week.
Today, with the help of two loyal farm workers who have been with us for years, we are growing produce just for the store. A deer fence enclosing parts of each original ranch gives us plenty of room to grow whatever we want.
With way more strawberries than necessary, we have made strawberry scones, strawberry lemonade, and lots of strawberry jam. Strawberries were my great-grandparents first crop. A quick plant and harvest in the same season, they shipped the first strawberries from Placer County on the Union Pacific Railroad.
Lettuce, radishes, carrots, green onions, and green garlic from Twin Brooks Farm helped fill the produce case this spring. Our June harvest will add tomatoes (we’ve already picked a few cherry tomatoes), squash, onions, cucumbers, potatoes, garlic, eggplant, kohlrabi, the early peppers, tomatillos, sunflowers, basil, and more. If the weather is favorable, we may even see some cantaloupe and watermelons by the end of the month.
Other local farms are supplying us with other fruit and vegetable crops as well. Make sure you stop by for a taste of Placer County. —Jan