A 1-hour drive, leaving the skyline and the buzz of Downtown LA behind, and you're in Long Beach, still LA county, yet a totally different scene. As we left California Avenue for the next stop on our ZWILLING Culinary World trip and drove our bulky van down a dusty road for a new Meet In Your Kitchen feature, the inspiring urban farmer Sasha Kanno welcomed us with a big smile in front of the gate of her green oasis, Farm Lot 59 (http://www.farmlot59.org/). Sasha celebrates organic fruits, herbs, and vegetables at her urban farm and is loved by chefs and locals for her inspiring work for the kitchen and the community – therefore, she can't be left out when we talk about fresh and healthy produce.
Sasha is a woman with a strong vision and principles, she believes in honest food, available not only for herself, but also for the community that she lives in. She took over the land surrounded by urban industrial buildings in 2010 and turned it into a non-profit organic farm, practicing biodynamics and following the Waldorf School philosophy. The farmer who's fascinated by rare and heirloom varieties and who gets many of her seeds from a 100-year old seed company in Honolulu, is famous and loved by locals and chefs for her outstanding lettuce and herb mixtures.
All year round, she puts an exciting seasonal bouquet together, of arugula, lemony blood sorrel, giant red-leaf mustard lettuce, basil (with a rough surface), huacatay (black mint), cilantro, fennel, tarragon, thyme, chocolate mint, and many more. Her edible flowers, such as pensi, dahlia, dianthus, calendula, lavender chamomile flowers, are a feast for the eye and an explosion of flavors for the palate.
The doors of the Farm Lot 59 are open almost every day and it's worth visiting this green paradise framed by apple, stone fruit, and guava trees - all the fruits go straight to an ice cream shop in town - but you also buy the handpicked produce and humanely sourced meats, dairy products, and eggs from friends and other farmers at the farm's market stand at the street, the Farmstand 59.
And then you go home and prepare the beautiful salad that Sasha made for us in her outdoor farm kitchen: a colorful tomato salad with the farmer's delicious basil vinaigrette featuring the pure taste and beauty of this sweet fruit and fragrant herb!