Bringing Innovative Farming To Brentwood
Sean and Lindsey McCord first started their love of gardening on their property in Clayton.
Not only did they enjoy reaping the rewards personally, but they also loved sharing the extras with neighbors, family, and friends. “We always had chickens and had our own vegetable gardens,” said Lindsey. So, when the couple purchased five acres on Kite Hawk Lane in Brentwood in 2017, they knew that their goal was to go bigger and take their gardening to the next level. “We wanted to do what we were previously doing but on a much larger scale. We’re a market garden, offering a little bit of everything. We have been trying a bunch of different varieties to see what grows best in Brentwood; our producer certificate that is required for the market has over 90 items listed, including fruit trees that were on the property when we bought the house.”
Kite Hawk Farms’ produce can be found at the farmer’s market and by appointment at their property. “People can come to the house, and we can harvest what they need right then and there for them,” said Lindsey. “People tend to like that because then they know it’s incredibly fresh. Our lettuce has been our best seller, and we have a ton of tomatoes and peppers on the way.” Kite Hawk Farms also works with Attraversiamo, providing the restaurant with fresh, local vegetables, and can be found at the Urban Edge Farm Store. If there are any items that don’t sell or aren’t particularly beautiful to look at, Sean and Lindsey work with Fresh Approach, a mobile market for low income families.
“I think that people really like having their produce grown and harvested locally,” said Lindsey. “Why buy something that has traveled from who knows where when you can get it from two miles down the road, and it was harvested this morning?” Sean and Lindsey currently have red cabbage, radicchio, green bell peppers, hot wax peppers, kale, carrots, radishes, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and much more. “We’re playing a lot with different varieties and seeing what sells. Lettuce, radishes, and carrots have been our biggest sellers. Being so new, we’re open to ideas of what people would like us to grow.”
One thing that sets Kite Hawk Farms in a league of their own is their innovation and attention to detail. “Sean is very particular about the quality of what goes out,” said Lindsey. “We go the extra mile to make sure that we are providing the highest quality.” For example, the McCords harvest their lettuce, cool it down immediately, and then run it through a bubble washer, a 150-gallon tub filled with water with punctured PVC tubing at the bottom that’s connected to a jacuzzi motor. The device agitates the lettuce and removes any debris. They then place it in a washing machine on spin cycle to dry it and lay it out on drying tables that are underneath fans to guarantee no water is left sitting on the leaves. “People say our lettuce lasts three weeks or longer.” Kite Hawk Farms also utilizes a propagation house which has five 40-foot long tables with radiant heating PEX tubing underneath sand. “By heating the tables, we are able to start our plants sooner and hopefully get them to market sooner than other farms.”
The couple also does their best to avoid spraying any kind of pesticides. “We’ll use insect netting and beneficial flowers like marigolds and lavender to bring in the good insects; although if you have healthy soil it pretty much takes care of itself.” Pesticides are only brought in for emergency circumstances because it can also kill the good bugs, like helpful bees, so if Sean or Lindsey see an infestation, they’ll try to wait it out as long as possible in hopes that something will come in and take care of it naturally. “Everything kind of balances itself out,” said Lindsey. “We use a lot of compost to keep the soil healthy.” As for weeds, Sean and Lindsey use a flame weeder which applies heat to the weeds to eliminate them while simultaneously creating sterile beds.
Kite Hawk Farms consists of an east and west field that are split by the McCord’s driveway. Currently only the west wing is being used with the plan to mirror it in the east field as they discover what plants thrive best. After that, the plan is to fill the perimeter of the property with fruit and nut trees. “Once we’re comfortable with that, we’d like to expand to other people’s properties to get them doing what we do,” said Lindsey. “We may even get another property ourselves eventually.” Kite Hawk Farms would also love to partner with more dining establishments to continue promoting Brentwood’s farm to fork initiative.
Sean and Lindsey generously accommodate customers with flexible hours. “We’re always here, so customers can call me Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.,” said Lindsey. “We can pick whatever they need right then. For now, it’s by appointment only until more people get to know us; then we’ll have set hours.”
Business: Kite Hawk Farms
Address: 103 Kite Hawk Lane, Brentwood, CA 94513
Tel: (925) 639-7109
Photos by: Ron Essex Photography