Filaki Farms a highlight of 5th annual Farm Tour Sunday |

Filaki Farms a highlight of 5th annual Farm Tour Sunday

Juan Jose Domingo at his Filaki Farms.
Margaret Campbell |

Just beyond the Yuba River, which defines the border between Nevada and Yuba counties, is a region called the Yuba Foothills, or North Yuba.

This hilly rural landscape is home to a variety of farms and food artisans who are happy to bring their products to the more populous Grass Valley and Nevada City area.

Located on fertile soils in a valley between sunny hilltops, Filaki Farms is one of these.

Founded in 1998 by Juan Jose Domingo, the farm’s name comes from the Greek word filo, which means love.

Juan Jose and his wife Eve are pleased to welcome the community to their farm from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday for BriarPatch’s fifth annual farm tour.

On the tour they will show you how they grow organic Piel de Sapo melons, Amarillo Oro melons, cantaloupe, Padron peppers, red Russian kale, dino kale, green kale, red chard, rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, and much more.

The farm has a large barn and six hoop houses of all shapes and sizes, and there are plenty of shade trees. Cool drinks and fresh samples will be on-hand.

Juan Jose comes from a village outside of Valencia, Spain, where he grew up working on his family’s farm with his father, uncles and neighbors.

When he arrived in California 28 years ago, he learned about organic farming practices and immediately began integrating them into the body of traditional knowledge he had absorbed as a boy.

Eve began farming with Juan Jose a little over 10 years ago, and is now also an “indoor farmer” at BriarPatch, where she works with the plants and flowers.

Driving to Oregon House from BriarPatch takes 45 to 50 minutes. To “casual carpooling” from BriarPatch, meet at the very back of the store parking lot at 8 a.m. sharp.

The farm tour can be just the start of a day exploring Yuba County. Enjoy a lunch that will be specially prepared at Yuba Harvest Deli, which is just minutes from the farm.

Yuba Harvest will be offering tasty panini sandwiches and an abundant green salad made with lots of vegetables fresh from Filaki, served family-style.

The panini choices will be a Tri-tip Panini made with locally-raised, grass-fed beef, grilled onions, and blue cheese spread; a Chicken Panini made with locally-raised chicken, grilled red peppers, and asiago cheese; and a Vegan Reuben Panini made with locally-made seitan.

The panini lunches will cost $12, and pre-orders and pre-payment for the lunch are much appreciated; contact Yuba Harvest at or 530-701-3577. A la carte items will also be available for purchase.

Lunch will be served in Yuba Harvest’s art gallery, which features Yuba Foothills artists. After lunch, owner Steven Dambeck will offer anyone from the farm tour free tastings of wines from North Yuba County.

Wines will be also available by the glass, along with a good selection beers and healthy soft drinks.

The day’s adventure can continue after lunch with a visit to Collins Lake, Lake Francis, or Bullards’ Bar reservoir, or with bicycling on the country roads of Oregon House (mostly paved).

Collins Lake, which has campgrounds and boating, is just below Oregon House, going toward Route 20.

Lake Francis is in Dobbins, the next small town above Oregon House. Much smaller and quieter than Collins Lake, it offers pool and lake swimming, walking, boating, and camping.

Bullard’s Bar Dam, further up Marysville Road, has hiking trails and boating. (Heading home, if you continue past Bullard’s Bar on Marysville Road, you’ll hit Highway 49. Turn right and you’ll pass through North San Juan, then down into Nevada City.)

For more information on the tour, call Stephanie Mande, marketing manager, BriarPatch Co-op, 530-272-5333, ext. 127 or visit

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