Nestled among the hills is a country store with a mission to nurture the community with its sustainably grown produce and artisanal goods.
The Golden Door Country Store came out of a need for fresh produce during the pandemic. Its predecessor, the Golden Door Farm Stand, was well known but had a smaller reach than what the country store would soon grow to have.
“During the pandemic we saw an increase in the community coming to us for their produce,” said Kathy Van Ness, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, “With many unable to shop indoors, the Golden Door Country Store became their first stop for necessities.”
In addition to the farm’s fresh produce, Chef Greg Frey Jr. began baking fresh sourdough bread every Saturday that soon started to sell out in just hours.
The county store belongs to the Golden Door Luxury Resort & Spa, which rests on 600 acres of land in the Twin Oaks Valley. The country store itself is located on 15 acres of land directly across from the resort. The bulk of the property consists of its farm, which includes five vegetable gardens, orange, lemon, avocado and olive trees.
Affordable goods and community involvement are also part of the Country Store’s philosophy.
“Our mission is to sell incredible fresh produce along with thoughtfully curated artisanal foods at prices that families can afford,” Van Ness said. “Each week we have classes and events, and we show our customers how to eat delicious and nutritious food locally and without breaking the bank.”
Weekends at the Country Store are filled with activities from yoga to breadmaking, cooking and flower hat-making classes. Every week has something going on for families with plenty of opportunities to learn new recipes.
As the Country Store takes care of its community with access to fresh produce and creative, new ways to cook them, Golden Door also strives to be a good steward of the land.
“As we farm this beautiful land, preserving the rural and historic nature of the valley is important,” Van Ness went on to say.
Golden Door achieves this through biointensive farming, which increases the soil’s biodiversity and maintains its fertility. The practice harmonizes the elements, sun and soil to maximize growth in limited spaces, using manure and composts over synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Water conservation is an essential aspect of good environmental stewardship. The farm developed new, sustainable water sources to feed its groves.
“At Golden Door we have a solid well system that produces the necessary water needed to keep the plants healthy and growing,” Van Ness explained. “With the use of reservoirs, we can cycle the water back into the ground and use it again.”
Beyond just produce, the Country Store also sells preserves, cookies, peanut butter, potassium broth and olive oil. Plans are also underway to open the Country Store’s new bakery in mid-2023, which will feature Chef Frey Jr’s breads, pastries, pizza and to-go breakfasts and lunches.
The Golden Door Country Store is located at 314 Deer Springs Road, San Marcos, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also shop for Golden Door products online at shop.goldendoor.com.