Seabreeze Organic Farm
3909 Arroyo Sorrento Road, Carmel Valley
Also at Farmer's Markets in O.B., Encinitas, Del Mar, Hillcrest
You stand at the supermarket veggie display. It looks too good to be true. It is too good to be true. All that pesticide to kill the bugs. All that fertilizer. All those hormones. Enter Stephenie Caughlin, a futures trader in metals, currencies, and pork bellies, complete with the requisite Beamer. One day in 1988 she tossed it all in and started farming her two acres in Sorrento Valley -- organically. That meant employing her 25-year-old horse Creole to provide the manure, countless frogs (she dug them a frog-pond), lizards, ladybugs, lacewings, and wasps to eat insects, even the wild coyotes and snakes to help keep down the lettuce-eating gophers. Of course, it costs more. "I could pay $25 to herbicide one acre," she says. "Whereas it costs me $800 in labor costs to weed it by hand." That includes pulling night patrol to pick off snails and slugs. Her business backbone is her weekly home-delivery deal: a large box, $35, feeds three to four. A small box, $25, feeds one to two. The "petite" box, for one, costs $17. The boxes contain strawberries, oranges, broccoli, onions, unheard-of kinds of lettuce in the salad mix, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, celery, herbs, and always a flower bouquet. Ask about duck eggs too.