The very first raspberry patch that was planted on Tangleweed Farm was done so not with the intention of selling produce to local customers. The purpose behind those first berries was the establishment of a home-school garden project that owner, Laurie Thorpe, began with her children on the property. Excessive hand-watering of hundreds of berry bushes, rock and boulder removal, and a never-ending tangle of weeds has slowly evolved into a more efficient system and the four crop fields that are utilized today. With the help of a few good tools and a skilled family with an incredible work ethic, Tangleweed Farm has earned it’s namesake and a strong customer base.
Located in the Old Town region of Tehachapi, it is no surprise that cultural evidence of previous inhabitants can be found strewn throughout the landscape. It has even been said that members of the historic Brite family had previously lived on the property. With Black Mountain to the northwest of the farm and Brite Creek to the southeast both people and wildlife have found this location to be resourceful for survival as an area that would have provided water and diverse resources. Today, using the modern methods of organic and sustainable farming, this practice still occurs.
Tehachapi Mountain is visible in the distance looking south beyond of fields full of tomatoes, olallieberries and lavender.
As the years have passed and Laurie’s children have grown out of the original garden project, she and her husband, John, remain dedicated to the joy, beauty and bounty that the farm offers themselves and all of it’s visitors. Just under three acres of land has become both functional as a source of food production and aesthetic as a simple source of beauty. Tangleweed Farm serves as an earthen piece of artwork upon which a slightly different picture is painted with each passing season. The soil as a canvas, the tractor clears away the old debris and creative minds start anew with fresh ideas to grow, feed and serve the community. Trial and error has often dictated what the farm is made up of today. Tehachapi weather and environmental conditions and the farm’s own micro-climate have favored Laurie’s many rows of Olallieberries (this is a cross breed of a Loganberry and a Youngberry-ultimately originating from Raspberry and Blackberry lineage), a giant patch of lavender (take a walk through here sometime during June when it is in it’s prime bloom-time), peony flowers, annual tomato crops including many unique open-pollinated (heirloom) choices for ideal flavors, intensively planted lettuces and so much more.
Laurie Thorpe, owner and creator of Tangleweed Farm, takes a moment to pose with a fresh harvest of Peonies, a highlighted crop that occurs for about three weeks right around Mother’s Day each year.
John Thorpe uses the tractor to incorporate green manure, or cover crop residues, into the growing fields. Cover cropping increases soil quality by adding tilth and nutrients to the soil.
Laurie takes a break from sales at the Tehachapi Farmer’s Market to pose for a photo with her daughter, Abigail, amongst a table full of ripe greens.