In most coffee shops, you can choose a cup of joe brewed with beans from countries like Ethiopia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Yemen. Now, a new crop of coffee growers is working to get coffee brewed from California-grown beans included on those menus.
When Mark Gaskell moved to California after working in coffee-growing regions in Central America, he noticed coffee plants growing in gardens and wondered if large-scale production was an option.
In 2001, Gaskell, farm advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, established transplants and discovered that the sub-tropical plants could thrive in the Golden State. He recruited Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics to help with trials, hoping coffee could be a valuable niche crop to help sustain small farms.