The seed for Templeton Valley Farms was planted several years ago when Trina Baumsteiger and her husband, Edwin Rambuski, started filling a produce cart with bounty from their home garden in Templeton and setting it out on the side of the road two days a week.
The idea was so well received that they starting looking for property on which to expand the concept. A couple of years ago, they found it — a completely bare five-acre parcel at the corner of Neal Springs Road and Climbing Tree Lane in Templeton.
In just two short years, that land has been transformed into Templeton Valley Farms, a scenic property producing a least a dozen crops — and usually more —during any growing season. All are what Baumsteiger calls “staples that are super easy to cook with,” such as tomatoes, peppers, corn, onions, beans and lettuce. “We’re not doing eccentric vegetables,” she said.
Though Templeton Valley Farms is not certified organic yet, “We do grow organically,” Baumsteiger said. “We have a love for the land and want to be good stewards of it.”
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Clover is used as a rotational cover crop to replenish the soil, and some native plants were put in for the benefit of the farm’s bees. The insects not only help with pollination on the farm, but also provide its produce stand with fresh raw honey.
Future plans for the property include setting up a u-pick operation when the berry bushes and fruit trees are mature enough and having school groups visit for tours.
Although Rambuski has a thriving law practice in San Luis Obispo where Baumsteiger also works, but the couple and just two employees handle all of the farm tasks. Those include soil preparation, seed planting, weeding and harvesting, as well as staffing the Paso Robles farmers market on Saturdays and putting together Templeton Valley Farms’ weekly Farmer’s Market Boxes.
“I really want people to be able to enjoy this fresh, local food and know what they’re eating, and ultimately feel better about their overall health,” Baumsteiger said.
Among the current crops at Templeton Valley Farms are Anaheim and poblano peppers, tomatoes, corn and basil. All of them can be used to cook up some easy, garden-fresh fare, Baumsteiger said.
Poblanos are typically mild chilies, but “Sometimes you do get a hot one,” she said. When making stuffed poblano peppers, you can grill the peppers ahead of time and stuff them just before baking.
Grill the peppers on a medium hot charcoal or gas grill. Let them blister, but not burn, turning them so that all sides get the heat. Remove, put into a brown bag (a leftover wine bottle bag works great), close up the top and put them aside for about five minutes to steam.
Afterward, peel most of the skin off the peppers; it should come off fairly easily, but don’t worry if it doesn’t all come off. With a knife, gently remove the stem and seeds and slice a bit down one side of the pepper.
Stuff the peppers with a mixture of goat cheese, roughly diced fresh tomatoes and corn cut off the cob. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Making stuffed Anaheim chilies is even easier. Also mild in flavor, they’re smaller, thinner-skinned peppers that don’t need pre-grilling.
Just core out the stem and seeds, stuff the peppers with smoked Gouda cheese and put them on the barbecue, turning them so all sides are exposed to the heat. Be careful not to let the cheese melt out.
Summertime equals pesto time, and Templeton Valley Farms has the basil you’ll need for this versatile sauce. Use it on pasta noodles, toss it in a cold pasta salad, spread it on sandwiches or put on a pizza.
To make pesto, pulse the following ingredients in a food processor: peeled garlic cloves, pine nuts, enough olive oil to make a thick slurry, basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese and a squeeze or two of lemon juice to keep the pesto bright green, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Templeton Valley Farms
880 Climbing Tree Lane, Templeton | 234-6912 | templetonvalleyfarms.com
Summer farm stand hours: Daily; Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 8 a.m.-noon; Tuesday and Friday 3-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Also at the Paso Robles farmers market at Downtown City Park on Saturday 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.
The Farmer’s Market Box is available weekly by preorder and contains eight to 10 different fruits and vegetables, plus eggs and/or fresh raw honey. Boxes can be picked up at the farm or at drop-off locations; contact the farm for details.