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Farmer’s Market Report: Meet Your Farmer: Ed Munak

Who: Ed Munak of Munak RanchWhere: 80 acres in Paso RoblesHow: Growing up, Ed spent a lot of time on his grandmother’s farm in Kansas. Although he loved spending time there, he never thought he would be a farmer one day. Ed and his wife were living in Los Angeles, Ed was working in aerospace, and they decided it was time for a change, for a different way of life. They had both grown up in agricultural towns and thought it was time to go back to the farm. In 1976 they bought their farm. It started out as a cattle and grain farm, but they slowly put in an apple orchard, melons, and tomatoes, experimenting to see what worked. Ed remembered some things about farming from the time he’d spent working on his grandmother’s farm, and the rest he learned from trial and error. Ed starting going to Farmers Markets when they first began in the late 1970’s. When he brought his first heirloom tomato (Brandywine) to the Market, chefs and customers both went crazy for them, demanding he grow more. He now grows 22 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, the Marisol Purple being his favorite. Ed recommends freezing his heirloom tomatoes so you can enjoy them all winter long. When you take them out of the freezer, run them under water and the skin washes right off.The hot days and cool nights of Paso Robles are also ideal for growing melons. The Crenshaw was the first melon he grew, but it was too labor intensive and expensive to grow, so he experimented with other types until he found the nine sweet and delicious varieties he grows today. Why: Ed says one of the main reasons he decided to become a farmer is because he loves to cook. He also loves seeing happy customers come back to his stand week after week because they enjoy his produce so much. He likes the friendly people and good shopping found at Farmers Markets. You can find Munak Ranch at 10 Farmers Markets in Northern and Southern California including the Wednesday, Saturday Downtown, and Sunday Santa Monica Farmers Markets from July until December.

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