Jesse Frutos is a third-generation farmer in California, tilling the same land in the town of Cypress that his grandfather did. He was raised spending summer "vacations" working on the properties owned by members of his family, where he learned all the basics of seasonal farming.
Frutos worked in retail management for some years before returning to the fields, an experience that reminded him how rewarding working outside can be. His business, Lincoln Spring Farms, delivers CSA boxes throughout Orange County, vends at a few farmers' markets, and sells strawberries wholesale.
In a fairly urban area of Long Beach, the Salvation Army and Long Beach Community Action Partnership were separated by an empty, 1.5 acre patch of dirt. After much discussion, it was decided that the plot should be a small farm, one for growing produce to sell, certainly, but also one that operated as a community center and a place of learning.
Frutos was brought in as a lead volunteer of sorts, tasked with doing the same kind of growing he does at his own farm: seasonal, diverse small-scale fruits and vegetables, grown organically (though not certified organic, which is a government process full of loops and a lot of cost). He is supported by a number of local volunteers who plant, harvest, and man the produce stand. There are also demonstration gardens, where visitors can get excited about lovely low-water plants for their own backyards, and across the alleyway, another plot with catfish, ducks and chickens.
The enterprise makes a tiny profit, but is mainly a labor of love. One with really delicious strawberries.
Spring Street Farm Project
3012 Long Beach Blvd.