West is the Best
Local Carlsbad Farm Serves the Farm-to-Table Trend
West Farm in Carlsbad
Photos by Louise Donahue
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A new year brings new goals and lifestyle decisions to the forefront of everyone’s mind. One way many seek personal improvement is through altering their diet to include more natural, locally-grown foods. While it’s easy to select local or organic fruits and vegetables at your neighborhood supermarket, finding delicious crops grown in a sustainable and healthy way at a restaurant or nearby eatery isn’t that simple. Sure, your favorite neighborhood joint may have delicious salads, but where exactly is the food coming from? How was it grown? In the modern day of mass-produced farming, these questions matter. Sustainability and a focus on flavor and nutrients are key to producing healthy, viable crops, and no one exemplifies this better than West Farm.
Sustainability and natural growing techniques are embedded into West Farm’s DNA. Located a few miles away from West Village in Carlsbad, West Farm is a quaint three acres of fresh produce heaven owned by the prolific West family. The farm provides some freshly-grown fruits and veggies for restaurant West Steak and Seafood, but the majority of their produce is delivered daily to Bistro West, the upscale-casual restaurant beside the West Inn in Carlsbad.
Bistro West is a family-friendly, authentic farm-to-table restaurant serving comfort foods with a hint of Asian flair. The restaurant features a varied menu that evolves with the seasons, including everything from pizzas baked in a stone hearth oven to Shanghai-style short ribs. The Bistro West menu is designed by Executive Chef John Miller and based around the locally-produced fruits, vegetables and herbs grown at West Farm.
The farm is run by Raul Castillo, an seasoned farmer with experience growing clean crops from natural soil. According to Castillo, soil is everything when it comes to produce—a good soil can either make or break crops. “Being a soil geek, I recognize that in order for food to taste good and [possess] nutritional value, you want the best soil,” Castillo says.
Nowadays, most farms rely on an abundance of fertilizers and additives to produce large, bursting crops for profit, but Castillo argues that’s not the best way to work. “We don’t want just fertilizer—the people I’ve studied under call that ‘moron farming’ because you keep putting more on and more on and more on. If you have healthy soil, you have healthy and tasty food without an abundance of fertilizer.”