If you have the chance to eat at chef David Kinch’s restaurant, Manresa, in Los Gatos, California, it’s guaranteed that you’ll have a taste of Love Apple Farms. That’s because almost every vegetable that Kinch serves comes from farmer Cynthia Sandberg and Love Apple’s biodynamically farmed land in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The chef, who is devoted to sustainability and experimentation, wanted food that was beyond organic, and when he tasted the produce Sandberg grew, he knew that was what he was after. A documentary film, The Farmer & The Chef, was even made, which explores the deep connection between Sandberg and Kinch.
Sandberg brings all the rigor of her former career as a trial attorney to biodynamic farming, to which she transitioned Love Apple in 2006. (For the uninitiated, biodynamic farming involves the rituals, practices, and formulas based on naturalist/philosopher Rudolf Steiner’s study of nature and the cosmos—for example, the making and applying of certain preparations by the lunar, solar, and astrological calendars.) When she founded Love Apple Farms, in 2000, she concentrated on growing more than a hundred varieties of tomatoes. As her acreage grew, so did the kinds of vegetables she produced.
In addition to growing fabulous vegetables, Love Apple has on-the-farm and online stores that feature gardening and cooking supplies, farm-canned jams, jellies, and pickles, and cookbooks. The farm also offers cooking and gardening classes, from pasta- and cheese-making to hen- and bee-keeping to propagating perennials.