The coastal community of Oceanside, CA has a blend of interests from warm sandy beaches to historical landmarks and even a modern art museum in their heart of downtown Oceanside. But many people are unaware that this Southern California community also has a rich heritage as an agricultural community, producing many locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and more. These large and small agricultural-based businesses are an integral part of our local personality since many of these farms have been passed down from generation to generation and they have seen the tremendous growth that has taken place throughout San Diego’s North County over the years.
One of the largest open regions of farmland within the city is located along the northeast edge of Oceanside, bordering South Fallbrook. This region is locally referred to as South Morro Hills and sits at an incredible 3,800 acres with many family-owned farms and stables.
It is very unique to have such vast and pristine land, virtually untouched by development. The City of Oceanside and various community partners recognize that this open land is a true treasure within the Southern California landscape and are taking steps to preserve this agricultural space. The community is currently in the initial phases of developing an Oceanside Agritourism Strategic Plan designed to preserve and cultivate urban and rural farming opportunities, while increasing engagement and appreciation for the farming community. Over the last year, dozens of stakeholders have been meeting to educate themselves through workshops and events about the feasibility of developing agritourism experiences in Oceanside. click here to review the presentations and documents shared during the Phase 1 Agritourism Workshops held in spring 2017. Partners are currently working towards the second phase of this process, to actively take steps to develop agritourism programs and marketing campaigns. Agritourism programs are a viable opportunity for the region in order to preserve the unique agricultural heritage that is blossoming around Oceanside. For more information or to get involved, contact Leslee Gaul, Visit Oceanside President and CEO.
Events & Workshops
South O’side Outside
August 19, 2017
August 12, 2017
Click to View Presentations
Farm to Table: Eating Fresh and Locally Sourced Food
The local food movement is a staple within the evolutionary Oceanside dining scene. Local chefs are currently sourcing seasonal fruits and vegetables and creating unique menu items based off of what is purchased earlier that day from the farmer’s market. Both chefs and consumers are mindful about the food that they are putting into their bodies. This ideology will continue to grow as more and more restaurants are able to source produce from their local farmers.
As you shop and dine around Oceanside, look for signs that proudly display the name of the local farm where the daily special menu item or beer/wine selection came from.
What Oceanside restaurants are serving farm to table menu items? There are several restaurants that have their own farms and also source from local farms and farmers markets to provide the freshest quality of ingredients available. A couple for you to visit include:
- Buccaneer Cafe
- Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen
- Local Tap House & Kitchen (LTH)
- Masters Kitchen and Cocktail
- Millers Table
- Petite Madeline Bakery
- Privateer Coal Fire Pizza
- Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub
- Whet Noodle
Farm Fresh Experiences
A 2.5 acre organic farm located within the South Oceanside neighborhood of Fire Mountain. Cyclops Farms has rapidly become a popular destination for visitors in search of locally sourced produce. This cozy farm is operated by Luke Girling, who has put his heart and soul into creating an organic farm that is inviting for the entire community. Many of the chefs from restaurants within downtown and South Oceanside call on Cyclops Farms to be their fruit and vegetable partner.
Cyclops hosts farm stands on Saturdays, check the Cyclops Farms Facebook Page for hours and featured seasonal produce.
Monthly “Water Bill” dinners are held at the farm, with local chefs serving produce sourced directly from Cyclops Farms. Enjoy a farm fresh meal while you dine al fresco.
Oceanside Farmer’s Market
MainStreet Oceanside hosts a weekly Farmer’s Market in the heart of downtown Oceanside every Thursday morning from 9:00am to 1:00pm, year-round. If you are searching for fresh local produce, flowers and nursery items, this is the market for you!
The Oceanside Farmer’s Market is a certified market, allowing small farmers the opportunity to sell their products directly to the public without regulations regarding size and labeling requirements that would otherwise be required. The market is strictly regulated and regular inspections are conducted by the Department of Agriculture in order to meet certain standards.
Learn more about the certification requirements to be a certified farmer’s market.
South Morro Hills
South Morro Hills is an incredible 3,800 acre region of agricultural lands nestled in the hills of northeast Oceanside, along the southern border of Fallbrook. There is tremendous pride within their community to preserve its agricultural heritage. There are a number of local farms within the South Morro Hills community, including: Mellano & Company, a third generation leading cut flower grower in the United States; Nagata Bros. Farm, which has been growing berries and cherimoyas since 1920; Blue Heron Farm, who grows organic vegetables and berries for local farmers markets and restaurants; and Altman Plants is the largest grower of cacti and succulents in the United States. This is just a sampling of some of the agricultural-based businesses that occupy this region. In addition, this area is also home to Beach House Winery and Paradise Falls Wedding and Event Estate.
The City of Oceanside Green Oceanside Team and Economic Development are working in partnership with Visit Oceanside and the South Morro Hills Association to spearhead the development of agritourism experiences in Oceanside.
The agritourism initiative is currently in its first phase of implementation. This phase consists of a series of community workshops designed to build momentum by educating stakeholders and potential community partners that agritourism can be a viable way to generate incremental income for our local farmers to preserve agriculture as a way of life in South Morro Hills and sustain local food systems and composting infrastructure for future generations. The workshops will help guide an overall community vision plan for South Morro Hills. For the plan to be successful and realize its full potential, stakeholders will need community support and significant City investment.
Workshops & Events
- Oceanside Agritourism Workshop Series, Spring 2017: View Presentations*
*The Dropbox link contains most of the workshop presentations, some presentations were not available to share.
What is the motivation for agritourism in Oceanside?
As one of the last remaining coastal cities with open farmland areas, Oceanside has a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive program that will preserve the agricultural heritage of South Morro Hills and sustain its viability. South Morro Hills currently includes a winery and a variety of farms that grow berries, flowers, avocados, nuts, nursery plants, grapes, organic vegetables, tomatoes and coffee, to name a few.
In addition, South Morro Hills, presents the framework to support a Sustainable Food System that will improve the economic, social and environmental health of the Oceanside community and greater region as well as support Oceanside’s community wide goal of 75%-90% recycling rate by 2020. A Sustainable Food system is a systematic approach to managing the resource of food that seeks to reduce food waste and its associated environmental, economic and social impacts through connecting key stakeholders in the community. In following the hierarcy to first feed people, then feed animals, and then return nutrients back to the soil. Sustainable food systems provide a framework that mitigates negative environmental effects while supporting positive economic and social benefits.
What is the alternative if a vision plan isn’t created?
Without a comprehensive plan to preserve the agricultural heritage, the likelihood is high that many farming operations will cease and land will be transitioned to high-density housing/development, further limiting options for local food sources and composting operations for our diversion goals and State Mandatory requirements.
What is already taking place in agritourism in Oceanside?
Currently, the options are limited to Beach House Winery in South Morro Hills and Cyclops Farms in Fire Mountain. Beach House Winery includes a tasting room, event space, wine making operations, and vineyards. Cyclops Farms is set on two ocean view acres in the Fire Mountain area of South Oceanside. The farm works with local chefs by providing farm fresh produce. Cyclops also runs a Saturday morning farm stand that is open to the public and holds monthly farm dinners featuring farm-fresh produce and the talents of local chefs. In addition there are several restaurants that focus their menu on the availability of locally grown produce and seafood that has made the Oceanside community more aware of the benefits and importance of local farms, and sustainable food systems that reduce our environmental resource footprint.
Phase One of the agritourism initiative also included the highly anticipated event called O’side Feast that provided another educational opportunity to create awareness in the community about the importance of sustaining our agricultural heritage and how it impacts our environment. Participants had the opportunity to experience the beautiful landscape of South Morro Hills while enjoying farm fresh dining, local wine and beer tastings as well as time with the local farmers and chefs. The importance of farm to table and back to farm sustainability efforts will be highlighted at the event. The inaugural event was held on May 20, 2017. More Info about O’side Feast.