Cortez Farms | CUESA

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Cortez Farms

Tory Putnam


Ben and Lorena Cortez, along with 10 full- and 10 part-time employees.


10 acres in Nipomo and 10 acres in Arroyo Grande about 250 miles from Jack London Square Farmers Market 


After completing a program at the Universal Technical Institute and working briefly as a mechanic, Ben Cortez decided to return to his family’s trade of farming in 1986 and opened his own farm. He found success as a large-scale grower working with a statewide strawberry cooperative while his wife, Lorena, took small offerings to regional farmers markets. During the mid-1990s Cortez shifted focus from large-scale growing to farmers markets. Now his berries and vegetables can be found all over the Central Coast and the greater Bay Area. Half of his acreage is conventionally farmed, while the other half has been certified organic since 2014.


Certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers since 2014.

Fun Fact

Cortez Farms also grows squashes, including Crookneck, Goldzini, Sunburst, and Lebanese.


Santa Barbara, California


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »