29127 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90265 (310) 457-4356 www.vitalzuman.com As temperatures climbed into the hundreds yesterday, we escaped to the breezy shores of Malibu. Inching our way up Pacific Coast Highway (apparently everyone else in LA had the same idea), we were lured by a sign for figs, pulled over, and wound up discovering the Vital Zuman Sustainable Farm and Biointensive Village.
Shoppers at the Santa Monica, Calabasas, and Brentwood farmers' markets may have encountered Vital Zuman's organic produce before, but this is their dedicated farm stand, with a range of fruits, vegetables, honey, and other specialty items from the farm or other local producers. When we walked up, the stand was buzzing with loyal, longtime shoppers as well as casual passersby, sampling such treats as raw honey, Balsamic lemonade, and green almonds.
The promised figs, plus lychees, tomatoes, and gorgeous salad greens
Juicy lemons, plums, nectarines, and avocados
Tomatillos, ratatouille baskets (what a great idea!), and heirloom summer squash
Dill pickled kale and fig and plum jam – just some of the dozens of various pickles and preserves for sale Farmer Alan Cunningham was there and happy to tell us about the adjacent six-acre farm started by his parents in the 1950s, to talk about organic farming standards (Vital Zuman is Certified Naturally Grown), and to share seasonal produce cooking tips. Committed to fostering socially responsible, vital agriculture, Cunningham is developing a collective of local farmers and also invites volunteers to work on the farm in exchange for freshly-picked produce. The farm stand is generally open from 10-7 on weekdays and 10-5 on weekends, but Cunningham explains it depends on the season, the traffic, and the availability of produce. Call ahead or keep an eye out if you happen to be driving on PCH near Kanan Dume Road. It's a delicious, inspiring stop on the way to or from the beach! Learn more about Vital Zuman: • Vital Zuman Web site (soon to be updated) • Sharing the harvest, from the Malibu Times • Farm provides 'vital' produce, from the Pepperdine University Graphic Related: Escapes: Farm Visits (Images: Emily Ho)