David Winsberg: Spicy Farmer

A conversation with David Winsberg, East Palo Alto Farmer

by Lisa Van Dusen / Palo Alto Weekly

While he specializes in peppers -- especially the Padrone -- he also raises chickens and grows fraises des bois, watercress and some rhubarb, all sought after by select Bay Area restaurants and farmers market goers.

The self-described "land steward of East Palo Alto," Winsberg preserves patches of farmland that were once part of the Weeks Poultry Community on which descendants of Maltese and Japanese farmers still live, along with that of some newcomers with more land than they know what to do with. He swaps the opportunity to farm in exchange for produce, or just the assurance that the land is still cared for. He can be spotted cruising around the neighborhood right behind IKEA in an electric golf cart tending his plots and neighbors.

Winsberg spends his time tinkering, innovating and cooking up new products, collaborations and markets with the zeal and ingenuity of a high-tech entrepreneur in the backyard of Silicon Valley. His newest offering is a line of hot sauces made in a commercial kitchen for which he bartered. Happy Quail Farms is a family operation with multiple generations rolling up their sleeves including at the Saturday morning farmers market in downtown Palo Alto.

Host/interview, Lisa Van Dusen 

Video, Veronica Weber

Production manager, Paula Sandas


This conversation took place on September 5th, 2014