December 30, 2019 – The corner of Freedom Boulevard and Corralitos Road has seen some history over the years. With records of the location appearing as early as the mid-1700’s, this juncture has been a saloon, a gas station, even home to lion cubs and a spider monkey. But more recently, the Five Mile House has sat vacant, a ghostly empty shell with only whispers of what came before.
A new chapter for the Five Mile House is upon us, as Carin Fortin and Delmar McComb of Blossom’s Biodynamic Herb Farm officially take over the lease on the historic property and launch Blossom’s Farmstore & Coffee Shop on Monday, January 6. “A lot of people had their eyes on this place,” says McComb, but it “was just synergy” that their persistent calls to the phone number listed on the posted sign that never connected to an actual working number finally went through.
The couple, who rent their 17-acre farm and home property down the road in Corralitos, had been using the Feel Good Foods commercial kitchen space in Santa Cruz to process and pack all of their herbal health and body products. But the commute was really starting to wear on them and they had been looking for a spot closer to the farm. When they saw the for rent sign at the Five Mile House, a vision of not only a production space, but also a kitchen, shop and apothecary started to evolve.
The large multi-room building is now home to a biodynamic produce market in the front near the entrance, “because this is actually a food desert, even though we are surrounded by organic farms,” explains McComb. Veggies from Blue Heron, Mariquita, New Native and their own farm will be for sale.
A second room is the Apothecary, with white walls and floor-to-ceiling shelves prominently showcasing the bright labels of the Blossom’s hydrosols, creams, tinctures and more. The flow of the displays and format allow for education and exposure to the full product line and biodynamic philosophy.
The third space is the coffee shop, that will not only feature the expected espresso drinks (from Peerless Coffee & Tea in Oakland), but also a multitude of other options. Herbal shots, golden milk, grain-free snacks, sprouted baked goods, herbed cream cheeses, kale salad, frittatas and even locally-made raw tempeh. They will also have a rotating special brew, collaborating with friends in the sustainable global coffee business. “Anything that you eat and drink in here will be good for you and also taste good,” says Fortin.
The two have completely transformed and freshened the space, sprucing it up with white paint, a huge walk-in cooler, lights and shelving. The outdoor spaces are now thriving with a landscapers touch, trees and plants sourced from McComb’s day job at Suncrest Nursery. But it all has been carefully selected, keeping costs low and items salvaged and repurposed. The beautiful wood espresso bar was built by McComb’s son and artist Yumiko East created extensive wall murals in the coffee shop section.
They are also hoping to create a community space here, serving as a place for folks to come together for special dinners, workshops, seminars and parties. They would love to serve as an incubator, reaching out to others who can then work with Blossom’s herbs and produce, creating a circular system to feature onsite. “It is all about relationships, connecting local producers and showcasing others doing similar health and food,” says McComb. “We are trying to grow everything that we produce,” he says, which has been a big challenge but has also led to a very diverse, value-added line of fermented, herbal superfood items. Sauerkraut, pestos, veggie powders, honey pastes, vinegars and probiotic concoctions are on tap. “We have to make this recession-proof, because we don’t know what’s coming,” says Fortin, “but people will always eat, get sick and drink coffee!”
Blossom’s Farmstore & Coffee Shop • 2904 Freedom Blvd. Corralitos • Open 6am-6pm Tuesday through Sunday.
Amber Turpin is a food writer and baker who homesteads in Ben Lomond.