Farm Stand Owned By Documentary Stars Helps Feed Ventura County
What happens when a personal chef and a cameraman quit their jobs and take up farming in Ventura County? That’s the real-life story featured in hit documentary The Biggest Little Farm.
Emma The Pig tucks into her lunch at Apricot Lane Farms in Ventura County.
She’s an unlikely star of the screen, but found fame in documentary The Biggest Little Farm.
The farm’s founders John and Molly Chester captured the hearts of viewers with their leap from the corporate ladder into farming.
"Molly was a traditional foods chef and I was a documentary cameraman," John Chester told KCLU. "We both knew that we wanted to farm.
"We left our careers and started this about ten years ago.
"It sounds incredibly magical, and it is. The challenging thing for us is the constant battle of deciding when we need to intervene with various epidemics that ultimately overtime can be balanced out by the natural forces that exist within a healthy biodiversity.
"Our goal is to maximize biodiversity as a way to find that harmony. What you get from that is great tasting food and a real beautiful environment to farm within."
"Since the film came out, the real star of the film became our 700lb pig named Emma.
Emma is seen birthing 17 piglets on her first litter.
"That was quite shocking for Molly and I because we were only farming for about six months to a year when that happened."
They sold their produce at farmers markets – but the pandemic prompted them to set up a farm stand on site.
"Prior to the pandemic we were selling all our produce at markets that were not anywhere near the farm," said John.
"But when you're a farm like this, you're trying to grow food to feed your community. So it really gave us the opportunity to connect with the community in Moorpark and Ventura County area."
Thanks to the documentary success, the farm itself is now a tourist attraction, and visitors say they're delighted to take a look around on an organized tour.
"I saw a movie about this place," one visitor told me. "It was really moving, so I'm really excited to be here and to see the actual thing in person. The movie seemed a fairytale movie about somebody that was really off their rocker!"
Another told KCLU that she was excited to see the animals featured in the film.
The farm stand opens Saturdays until October 23.