Vendors: Edward and Shirley Lea
Location: Half Moon Bay
Products: Arugula, artichokes, beans, brussels sprouts, cranberry beans, fava beans, gourds, herbs, peas, pumpkins
Shirley Lea is the third generation of Cabrillos to work the family farm in Half Moon Bay. Her grandfather, father, and brother have all been part of the family business. Shirley says Jose Contreras (another PAFM vendor) told her grandfather about the Palo Alto Farmers’ Market, and so Cabrillo Farms began selling at the Market over 20 years ago. According to Shirley, her grandfather brought her into the business, “to keep me out of trouble.”
The Cabrillos were affected by the “artichoke wars” of the 1930s. At the time, mafia thugs ravaged many of the 2,000 acres of artichokes in the area in order to coerce growers into selling to a New York-based food racket. This led to a ban on selling artichokes in New York, and eventually several hoodlums were convicted on racketeering charges. Thankfully, things are quieter in Half Moon Bay these days.
Cabrillo Farms brings artichokes, peas, beans, and herbs to the market in the spring and early summer, and brussel sprouts in late fall, all prized for their freshness. Shirley enjoys the other growers at the Market, and the family spirit that holds sway in “their” corner of the Market.