Maldonado Farms, active in Cardiff by the Sea for over 40 years, is shutting down — at least at the location they’ve held. The large greenhouse at 1412 MacKinnon Road was torn down last week.
Sitting next to northbound lanes of I-5, the farm was known in the community for its fall pumpkin patch, Christmas trees, and Valentine’s bouquets. It also grew flowers commercially on the just-over one-acre parcel.
On March 14, arriving to pick up the few remaining items on the property, owner Fred Maldonado said, “It’s unfortunate we had to leave. All the neighbors have come over and are really upset.”
The Maldonado family thought they had a long-term deal to purchase the property from the original owner. They had negotiated as late as eight months ago, with the expected sale to take place by June. However, according to Maldonado, an out-of-town developer convinced the owner to sell the property right away.
Although legal action was taken, along with counter offers, the legal process became too expensive for the Maldonado family to try to retain the property.
Referring to how many years his family has worked the land, Fred Maldonado said, “It’s a shame when all of us long-term, local families are forced out. These developers come in and they’ll be the ones to make all the money.”
The land is zoned R-5, allowing for up to seven homes on the property, but it is yet to be determined if Caltrans will take up to 75 feet of right-of-way for its massive I-5 widening project, which begins in a few years.
Maldonado is looking for more land to farm between Cardiff and Leucadia but realizes finding coastal agricultural land may be a hard find in what used to be the “Flower Capital of the World.”