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A small family-owned farm is using a method that’s conserving water and cutting costs

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. (KION) Believe it or not, the last time the tomatoes, at Miramonte Farms and Nursery, were watered has been about a month. That’s all thanks to a method called dry-farming. The small family-owned farm has been using this method for decades, and the results; less water usage and tomatoes jammed packed with flavor.

“It's a labor of love, you have to love what you do especially this kind of farming,” said Andy Jones (A.J), Miramonte Farms and Nursery Co-Owner/ Farmer.

Unlike leafy greens, tomatoes are drought resistant which makes dry-farming doable. When the plant is young, they’re watered like a normal tomato. When the fruit begins to develop, its water supply slowly gets cut off. Which helps conserve water and costs.

Jones, referring to the farm points out, "The plants, you can see they are standing up and are healthy right now, as long as we don’t notice any deterioration of the plant itself we’ll continue to withhold water.”

With California’s drought and increased water restrictions, finding ways to conserve the precious resource has never been more important.

“This particular area (near San Juan Bautista) is actually superb for dry farming because you can go from here to Gilroy and it will be a 10 to 15-degree weather difference. And not to mention we get the wind and it kind of cools things off here, so it's a nice little microclimate,” explained Jones.

The end product of dry farming, a robust, flavorful tomato. But during the COVID pandemic, Miramonte Farms and Nursery was looking for ways to keep their business alive, due to the loss of restaurant agreements. The solution is one that’s helping families get fresh, healthy produce from Salinas to Bakersfield, through a box program.

“What we do is aggregate produce from other small farms and then we make produce boxes, for instance at the Salinas Food Bank, and then they will be handed out to low-income families."

Miramonte Farms and Nursery makes about 300 to 600 boxes a week. For this small family-owned farm, the work never ends. More information can be found at,

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.


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