Meet the Farmer: Sierra and Blake Miller, Paradise Valley Produce

Paradise Valley farm

 

Paradise Valley Produce is a second-generation family run farm that has been C.C.O.F. certified Organic since 1978. Over 20 varieties of cool weather vegetables are grown on six acres, including half an acre devoted to apples.

The farm is located just two miles from the ocean and borders the Point Reyes National Seashore.

MM: What is your farming philosophy approach?

SM: Paradise Valley approaches farming with a focus on growing quality organic produce in an ethical way. Healthy food and soil is our priority. We replicate the undeniable successful systems in our natural environment to grow over 20 varieties of nutrient-rich produce. Farming at a small scale allows us to connect with our community, as well as personally oversee and participate in every aspect of our farm.

MM: What do you specialize in growing?

SM: Located in a deep valley two miles from the ocean creates a unique microclimate and soil structure for our cool weather crops. We grow a variety of brassicas, alliums, squashes, potatoes, and leafy greens. We are best known for our salad mix, lettuce heads, and large leaf spinach. Chefs and market goers enjoy hand picking from our diverse selection of lettuces. In the fall our sweet Delicata squash and specialty onions are in high demand among local restaurants.

Our growing season starts in late spring, and you will see our produce in markets by the end of June. As the season kicks off you will see 20 varieties of lettuces and mixed greens, as well as dunja zucchini, chard, kale, fennel, kohlrabi, cabbages, spring onions, and beets.

MM: Do you have recommendations or tips on how to use your produce?

SM: Our produce is rich in flavor and requires minimal preparation or cooking. The freshness of our greens can be tasted in our mixed lettuces. There are many options from a personal-sized little gem, an artisanal salanova, a classic romaine, or a butterhead. We also have a spring salad mix. Just add a homemade dressing.

We encourage our customers to mix and match our vegetables with various cooking techniques. Combining in a soup or a sauté is a great way to enjoy vegetables. Most importantly, don’t over-cook your produce, as you will lose flavor and nutritional value.

MM: Any tips on how to select and store your produce?

SM: We encourage people to ask questions about our produce at the booth. Our farmers take pride in what they grow and will have plenty of advice on what to pick and a good recipe.

Our produce is always picked within 24 hours of sale and pre-washed with an apple cider vinegar solution, so you can expect it to be alive and fresh. For lettuces, the choice comes down to the different textures and the type of salad you’re making.

Store your produce in a cool dry place that is out of the sun. Lettuce and greens should be refrigerated in an open bag or on a paper towel without excess moisture.