Farm History

Capay Organic is a second-generation, organic farm that got its start in the Coastal Ranges’ Capay Valley, 90 miles northeast of San Francisco. The farm was founded by Kathleen Barsotti and Martin Barnes, in 1976 – marking the early stages of the organic foods movement.



Understanding the sometimes-harmful methods of modern agriculture, they realized that there was a niche for quality, organic produce grown the way that nature intended for it to be – organically. The farm started as a part-time interest for Kathy while she raised her family and worked as a researcher at UC Davis. Eventually, the day came when Kathy elected to spend all of her time building the farm. Having no idea of the toil that lay ahead, but armed with a great idea and determination, the journey began.



The Capay Valley’s unique micro-climate and soil type produced an environment in which Capay Organic could successfully produce an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables. In addition to having the soil and climate required to produce superior crops, the varieties of each crop grown on the farm were carefully selected to assure that Capay Organic’s produce was always the best tasting product on the market. The farm also prides itself on regularly introducing new crops to the marketplace: cherry tomatoes, sweet pea flowers, ambrosia melons and heirloom tomatoes are a few of the crops that it pioneered.


Starting with one small farmers market in Davis that was co-founded by Kathy and Martin and fellow students while in grad school and a few gourmet restaurants that understood the superior principles and quality of organic agriculture, Capay Organic slowly developed a market for its produce. By the early 90s, Capay Organic was an established small, organic family farm, supplying Bay Area stores, restaurants and farmers markets with quality organic produce.



After more than 30 years of organic farming, Capay Organic grows more that 130 varieties of fruits and vegetables on 500 acres of certified organic land. The farm is now owned and operated by the second-generation farmers – Kathy and Martin’s sons – Noah, Thaddeus and Freeman. In keeping with their parents’ vision, the farm practices healthy crop rotation, encourages a diverse ecosystem around our fields, efficiently uses local water sources, and carefully selects produce varieties that grow well and taste great.