Wheat Planting Experiment - Weiser Farms/Hammond Farms

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 1:15 AM

October 1.  Mark Stambler, LABB Founder and baker, and I headed out to Tehachapi at 1pm.  That morning, Mark baked bread for his customers and set aside a rye loaf for me.  The smell of freshly baked bread is so nice to have as a travelling companion.  If I didn't think of giving this loaf to Alex Weiser, the farmer in Tehachapi that we were going to visit, I would have started eating it  in the car.

We  were going to meet Alex and his friend, and nature writer John Hammon to discuss the wheat experiment - a project that I got started last year with a seed grant from Anson Mills. A gift of Mark's artisan bread was the perfect way to start the project in Southern California. I have been talking to Alex about growing grains in SoCal for about six months, since I met him earlier in the year.

Slowly it grew  from keeping it to a few rows at Weiser but doing something on a larger scale at John Hammond's ranch.  Hammond's family has been Tehachapi for three generations. His grandfather used to grow grains. The old barn and other structures are still being used for animal husbandry. John is the local nature and history writer.  He also does a lot of writing on the Kawaiisu Indians in Tehachapi. I was delighted to hear that we would be doing the wheat experiement on his land because I only knew him through his writings and was a fan ever since Sakai and I bought a ranch in Tehachapi.

Driving out to Tehachapi is a weekly routine for me. Mark had been out here before to look at the train tracks - the famous Tehachapi Loop.

Here is Mark and Alex Wesider with Mark's loaf of bread.

We will plant 2.5 acres - on John's land and at Weiser Farms - both very near each other, and just 10 minutes away from my ranch. Alex is looking at the fallow land that we ill use at John's place. His grandfather used to grow red fife - an heirloom variety and oats.  Alex also wants to grow oats.

Here is a picture of the Tehachapi grain gang - from right, Alex, Kim, Kiya, John and me.    

Kiya is feeding the baby chicks. Kiya is a Kawaiisu Indian name.

John gave us a tour of the farm. He has an old mill that still works. John is demonstrating how the grain is fed.  You get him talking about local history and plants, he is a wizzard.


Alex brought some peppers for John and Kim.  

A lovely day in Tehachapi -  A good beginning.

Categories: Tehachapi Ranch Life

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