Good Land Organics

It is a long-held belief -- or understanding, at least -- that coffee only grows between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. But a farm in Goleta, California is tackling that assertion and proving quite easily that coffee plants can thrive in the continental U.S.

Farmer Jay Ruskey, the owner of Good Land Organics, built his reputation on exotic fruits. His caviar limes, passion fruit and cherimoyas are popular at local farmers' markets and shipped to leading restaurants around the country. These are niche products that consumers don't expect to find in California, so it's no surprise, really, that Ruskey was approached by a UC Davis professor to spearhead the coffee program.

Ruskey is basing his coffee business on the example he see just over the hills from his farm in Santa Ynez's wine country. Watch the video to understand how he's doing that -- and check out his kids chowing down on coffee cherries.

See more episodes of California's Small Farms here.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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