We had the good fortune of connecting with Faith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Faith, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Transitioning our farm to an ecotourism model through regenerative growing methods integrates community needs with sustainable food production. Seeking the balance between consistency in guest experiences and seasonal based living presents an opportunity for our farm to cultivate a community that values a holistic approach to growing food with the celebration of regional customs. Creating an environment that invites guests to visit the farm and experience a taste of sustainable farmsteading reveals what and when ingredients are available for our tables. Growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers in their season not only provides nutrient dense and fresh produce but also keeps us connected to nature’s rhythm. We believe it’s important to take these steps in creating an intentionally slow business model that enriches our community and family.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Stone Soup is a working family micro-farm and seasonal gardens. We cultivate the senses through nourishing food, beauty from our regional landscape, crackling campfires, and the scent of freshly picked blooms. We savor moments in their season, supporting our community based regenerative apple orchard and agricultural learning space. Our story began with a meager table and scale set amongst the Winesap orchard to sell that season’s harvest but since have transitioned into a full time agricultural operation, combining regenerative farming with the joys of seasonal living. We seek to enhance the wellness of our community through a philosophy that honors the cultivation of the culture beneath our feet, so that ours may thrive above. As we apply labor to the land, we keep in mind the anatomy of the garden. Protecting the soil with cover crops and little disturbance allows microorganisms to flourish below the surface, feeding root systems. Incorporating diverse plant life to reduce disease and attract beneficials, the way nature intended. Being mindful of our agricultural practices by going organic, to help serve our community quality food. The balanced relationship between healthy farmland and the people it feeds is struck by these considered methods. Our practice of permaculture based ecotourism and artisan skills inform our approach to u-pick offerings, farm events, and seasonal marketplace.
We have fumbled this and stumbled on that along the way but those moments of vulnerability have blossomed into valuable life lessons that we would not take back for anything. When you seek ,you will find. The past couple years have been a discipline of cultivating that important foundation of mentors, supporters, and colleagues. When you give to the world, you receive back in some fashion. Simple principles that speak to that sense of purpose and leading with a meaningful life story.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Since we are located inland, I’m going to stick with highlights from our home region. I have always gravitated to spaces that have some kind of water feature because of its simultaneous soothing and energizing nature. For this reason, I would totally share a couple beautiful and favorite hiking spots. Forest Falls has many hidden pools and waterfalls that transport you to more lush climes. Also, the San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary has 200 acres of amazing trails with historical and cultural significance. Taking a couple days to explore these spots frees up your mind and body.
The close by historic town of Redlands blends charm and nostalgia with a vibrant restaurant scene. I appreciate that many of the food establishments and retail stores are invested in their local growers. A small market and sandwich shop called Olive Avenue Market is a perfect place to grab and go picnic style foods for those hikes. I always enjoy strolling downtown where two of my favorite restaurants are found. Take the kitschy alley with art murals on either side and there sits Redlands Oyster Cult. This bar and restaurant offers clean and delicious dishes with an elegant but relaxed vibe. The owners are pretty awesome too. Another favorite restaurant is Olive and Citrus. It’s our go to bar and small bites with beautiful craftsmanship. Seeing as I love unique pieces, I would also take a friend to Back in Time Antiques. I always find beautiful furniture or a rare oddity that makes me happy.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We have adopted a maxim on the farm; Many hands makes light work….through cooperation and imagination, a people may thrive. As we continue on this journey, many have given so much to us along the way. Locally, our close friends at Goodie Farm stand as masters of growing exceptional organic food. They serve our local communities with integrity and kindness. The larger network of generous contributors are abundant. As we continue to educate ourselves, the fountain of knowledge poured in from Dr. Elaine’s Soil Food Web School cannot go unspoken. The rigorous course work pushes us to intimately understand the biological systems at work in our work. Our orcharding foundations grow stronger each year from the reading of Michael Phillips. Market gardening and flower production shout outs to Floret Flower Farm and Apricot Lane Farms. Botanical designs to my mentor at la Musa de las Flores. While Gabriela is outstanding in her field, her method of teaching encompasses philosophy and honing in one’s spirit to their work. All these mentors and so many more, I am truly grateful.