This week on The Wine Down Sonja and Brandon are joined by Phil McGrath of McGrath family farms to discuss the world of farming and agriculture. Phil explains his family history, when/why he transitioned to organic farming and the importance of fresh,local and seasonal produce. A few video segments highlight McGrath farms and what goes into CSA produce boxes. Continuing on the discussion from a recent wine challenge of finding wines that pair with vegetables, the group taste a few wines alongside several plates featuring seasonal vegetables (courtesy of Restaurant 111).
Phil McGrath — has been farming on the Oxnard plane for over 40 years. He comes from one of the oldest farming families in Ventura County. His great-grandfather began his agricultural legacy back in 1867 when he came to the states from Ireland as a sheep farmer. The family eventually farmed 5,000 acres in Camarillo and Oxnard transitioning from sheep and cattle, to dairy, and then row crops. Phil carried on this tradition of change by transitioning his conventional ag operation to organic agriculture in 1995. He’s never looked back. He says he farms in paradise. Today he has a farm stand along the 101 freeway off of Central Avenue in Camarillo. He’s a regular at many local farmers markets, including Santa Monica and Hollywood and works directly with many of the city’s best restaurants and chefs.
ADDITIONAL LINKS, ETC.
00:00 Introduction, show intro, guest intro PHIL MCGRATH of McGrath Family Farms in Oxnard, CA
01:40 Background of McGrath family.
03:25 Organic Farming: WHO CREATES IT? WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
05:20 BACKGROUND ON HOW SONJA AND PHIL MET
10:00 ORGANIC: Why is it important?
13:20 Tell us about “farming in paradise” which has a lot to do with climate but also topsoil and terroir.
17:30 IS IT MORE OR LESS EXPENSIVE TO FARM ORGANICALLY?
18:48 HOW MUCH DOES THE CONSUMER VALUE IT?
19:15 YOU GREW UP ON A FARM BUT WHY DID YOU BECOME A FARMER?
21:20 McGrath family history (book, photos, history).
28:40 VIDEO of Phil discussing the importance of eating locally and seasonally
30:39 HOW HAS FARMING ORGANICALLY CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
32:00 Strawberries used to be seasonal right?
39:00 CSA (community serviced agriculture) program VIDEO : WHAT IS IN THE (CSA) BOX?
45:00 Popular Produce.
45:47 DO CHEFS DETERMINE WHAT YOU ARE GROWING W/THESE TRENDS?
47:20 How do you deal with your seeds? Do you save them?
48:30 BOOK MENTION: FOOD HEROES
52:11 2 big secrets FRESH and LOCAL!
53:25 THE WINE MISSION: A challenge to pair vegetables with wine.
56:00 pairing wine with food (food provided by RESTAURANT 111 in LA)
61:00 Sonja’s Wine Mission
62:36 Brandon’s Wine Mission
66:00 How do they select how to blend?
68:24 WRAP UP