UPDATE: Mil Krecu left Stone Farms in late October 2011 to pursue other agricultural endeavors, handing off his former duties to Farm Supervisor David Solomon. Stone Brewing Co. would like to thank Mil for all his hard work in getting this project off the ground, wishing him nothing but the best in his future undertakings.
Stone Brewing Co. bought the farm?
Stone Brewing Co. is thrilled to announce the launch of its newest adventure: the creatively named "Stone Farms," which will take its place among a long list of small-scale growers that supply organic, sustainable produce to the iconic brewery's adjacent restaurant, the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.
When local farm La Milpa Organica recently had to shutter its doors, the folks at Stone instantly wanted to find out how they could help. At the same time, the owner of the land coincidentally got on the horn and asked if they would be interested in picking up the lease. "I'll admit, I wasn't exactly sold on the idea right away," explains President and Brewmaster Steve Wagner. "But when faced with the risk of losing this local gem, I knew we had to step in and save it."
Stone Brewing Co. CEO & Co-Founder Greg Koch is elated at the opportunity. "We pride ourselves on a lot of things, but I am perhaps most proud that we have become the largest restaurant purchaser of local, small farm organic produce in San Diego County," Koch beams. "Being able to expand upon that further and actually grow some of it ourselves is very exciting indeed."
Mil Krecu—farmer and founding member of the famed Tierra Miguel Foundation—will manage the 18-acre Stone Farms property and oversee its growth. Krecu and Stone Brewing Co. both passionately support the Slow Food movement, and Krecu's unwavering commitment to ethical eating aligned him perfectly for the position. "The emphasis that Stone Brewing puts on the quality of their beer and food, as well as their impact on the environment, is nothing short of inspiring," says Krecu. "I'm greatly looking forward to working with them to jointly promote a socially responsible food system."
Given the beauty of the property, and its proximity to the brewery (located just over eight miles away), it is no doubt a promising venue for future social and educational events. However, the current focus is on getting seeds in the ground and food on the table. Executive Chef Alex Carballo can't wait. "We can really have a lot of fun with this. I want to start playing with different produce varieties that I otherwise wouldn't be able to find, stuff nobody else is growing."
When Koch was asked the inevitable question about whether the farm would grow hops for Stone Brewing Co. beers, he shook his head. "We use a lot of hops in our beer. We couldn't possibly grow enough to even make a dent in just one of our batches, even if we wanted to." After a slight pause, he did offer a small glimmer of hope for hopheads, "Maybe enough for a small batch brewed at harvest...it'd certainly be cool...we'll see how it goes."
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Stone Brewing Co.
ABOUT STONE BREWING CO.
was founded in 1996 by Steve Wagner and Greg Koch in North County San Diego, CA. It is the 14th largest craft brewery in the United States and has been named "All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth" by BeerAdvocate magazine
. The adjacent Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens has become a destination in its own right, known for outstanding food, a lush one-acre outdoor garden, and a rotating line-up of 32 taps and 100+ bottled craft beer selections for guests to enjoy.