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Coffee grown in San Diego? Local farm preps for first ever harvest

Coffee beans
Posted at 7:07 AM, Mar 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 10:08:43-05

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — Farmers in Oceanside are gearing up to harvest a never before seen crop in San Diego County: Coffee.

“We have an aggressive plan to make Southern California the next leader in the super specialty coffee industry,” said Jay Ruskey of Frinj Coffee.

He began working with farms in San Diego five years ago to start planting coffee in old avocado orchards.

This summer, they will finally harvest their first crop.

“We tried to choose the varieties that not only perform well, but have a certain flavor characteristic that the consumer really enjoys,” said Ruskey.

Frinj has also been growing coffee in Santa Barbara, where they have already started harvesting the beans.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is the first local outlet to sell it. Their website has one pound of the Cuicateco grown by Frinj for $100.

“If the coffee quality matches the price, that's all that matters,” said Jeff Taylor, president of Bird Rock Coffee.

They recently sent the coffee to the website, Coffee Review, which gave the Cuicateco a 92 out of 100.

He said he has been working for six months with Ruskey to get the coffee in his stores. He hopes to get beans from Oceanside as well when they become available in the fall.

“I see a rapid expansion I think it's going to be huge,” said Taylor of San Diego county’s potential as a coffee growing region.

Ruskey is already ahead of him, planning to double the number of plants they have already in 2019.

“We would love to see another 50,000 coffee plants here in Southern California this year, and expand to millions in the next ten years,” said Ruskey.