In 1999, after farming for ten years Martin decided to take a few years off. He begin working his current farm in 2003. He wants and has wanted from the beginning to create a chef’s kitchen garden.
Oliveto co-owner Bob Klein helped Martin connect with friends in Italy and Martin was able to obtain a various heirloom seeds. Now, some of the vegetables Oliveto gets from Martin are the descendants of seeds purchased from Bob’s Italian friends.
Aside from the exceptional arugula Martin prides himself on, he also supplies Oliveto with potatoes, little onions, and field radicchio, and was one of first farms to offer Tardivo radicchio. He’s also provided assistance and seed to other small farms just starting out including County Line among others.
Martin has 2 acres of semi-shaded greenhouses, that are warm and protected from the wind. This works well for delicate products such as arugula. Greenhouses give him the ability to grow a wide variety of crops year-round.
Small farmers often have a hard time finding markets that will buy their produce for a price that will allow the the farmer to make a profit. Martin works as a consultant for small farmers, helping them acquire the right seeds, find good labor, and introducing them to markets that will offer them fair compensation.
To provide great chefs with the produce that will make their food sparkle every month of the year. He believes that it takes at least 5-6 years to learn to be a truly competent farmer. This is the same amount of time it takes to earn a Ph.D. So, by now, Martin feels as though he has his Ph.D. in farming.
Because he grew up in Berkeley, he feels like a city guy who farms. He lives on his farm Wednesday through Friday, and lives in San Francisco the rest of the week.
To consolidate the growth his business has seen in recent years.
Length of relationship with Oliveto
Martin sold to Oliveto from 1994-1999 when he was farming a different plot of land. He started selling produce to Oliveto from his current location in 2003.
5 acres near Salinas
Salad greens, beans
He plans to be certified in the near future
25 Bay Area restaurants, Monterey Market, BiRite Market