Dirty Girl Produce
Joe Schirmer along with 5 full-time and 20 seasonal workers.
Dirty Girl Produce is a 40 acre certified organic family farm located in Santa Cruz County, Ca. They grow over 20 varieties of fruits and vegetables and sell produce to customers and restaurants at 10 farmer’s markets in Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and San Francisco.
The farm is split between two of the best growing areas of the Bay Area — Santa Cruz’s banana belt, where the weather is relatively hot and dry in the summer and La Selva Beach where there is a stronger coastal influence. This mild climate enables most Santa Cruz farmers to grow vegetables almost year round without having to worry about bolting in the summer and freezing in the winter. The river bed soil is some of the most fertile in Northern California.
In 1997, Joe Schirmer began working for Dirty Girl Produce and 2 years later took the helm from the original “dirty girls” who started the farm in 1995. Joe graduated from the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden apprenticeship program with a certificate in ecological horticulture. Inspired by the French Intensive gardening method, he has adapted tractor farming to incorporate its principles. California Certified Organic Farmer since 1995.
Joe says, "Treating the soil as though it were an organism with an immune system makes it healthy." As a result, pest problems are relatively rare. Row covers are used to shield against occasional aphid or flea beetle visitations.
Dirty Girl Produce is endowed with a deep, rich sandy loam that has the texture of chocolate cake. The addition of compost and manures (chicken, dairy, and horse), and the use of cover crops maintains soil fertility and porosity.
Overhead and drip irrigation.
Hoe and tractor cultivation, hand weeding, propane flame weeder.