Dirty Girl Produce | CUESA

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Dirty Girl Produce


Joe Schirmer, along with 5 full-time and 20 seasonal workers.


32 acres in Watsonville, about 90 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Farm History

In 1997, Joe Schirmer began working for Dirty Girl Produce and two years later took the helm from the original “dirty girls” who started the farm in 1995. Joe graduated from the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden apprenticeship program with a certificate in ecological horticulture. Inspired by the French intensive gardening method, he has adapted tractor farming to incorporate its principles.


California Certified Organic Farmer since 1995


Dirty Girl Produce is endowed with a deep, rich sandy loam that has the texture of chocolate cake. The addition of compost and manures (chicken, dairy, and horse), and the use of cover crops maintains soil fertility and porosity.

Water Use

Overhead and drip irrigation.

Weed Control

Hoe and tractor cultivation, hand weeding, propane flame weeder.

Pest Management

“Treating the soil as though it were an organism with an immune system,” Joe says, “makes it healthy.” As a result, pest problems are few, and they are controlled primarily by covering vulnerable plant starts with Reemay and rotating crops.

Fun Fact

Dirty Girl Produce is famous for their dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes. This waterless method of growing sometimes yields only one-third as many tomatoes, but the resulting fruits are dense with flavor.


Santa Cruz, California


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »