Ojai Vista Farm, from Rotten Avocados to Picture Perfect

09.19.2017 Arts & Culture
Leila Lajevardi
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When LA native, Susan Moll saw Ojai Vista Farm, she did not see a failing avocado farm, she saw potential. Nestled in the hills of Ojai, Ojai Vista Farm is now a boutique family-run farm and soon-to-be vineyard offering personally tailored experiences for visitors. It’s a place for gathering, a place for community and a place Susan Moll calls home. We recently sat down with Susan to learn more:

Had it always been your intention to open something like this?

Not originally. In the 80’s, I had a clothing line called Zulu jeans and Susan Brown. I did that for 15 years. By the time I had my third child it was just too much. That was when I started to get into real estate. Now I have been working with properties for the past 30 years.

What brought you to this specific property?

I had sold a couple properties in LA and was at Ojai Valley Inn for my daughter’s babymoon. We were relaxing and decided to look at properties in the area. This was the third property we looked at and I absolutely fell in love with it. When we saw it, the avocado trees were all dead and no one had lived on it for the past 30 years. Mr. Hantgin owned the property and a lot of the land around it. He was the last one who really tended to the land. He sold it in the 60’s and after that it languished.

How is the property different from prior properties you have flipped or invested in?  

This one is about personal freedom. I wanted to learn how to do everything myself — I even learned how to use a long saw! I thought to myself, “If I can raise four kids, I can save an avocado tree.”

This has been a massive learning experience then…

Absolutely. We’ve toured permaculture farms — small scale farming mixed with gardening. I’m currently trying to plant different kinds of trees in different areas. It saves so much water and it’s the best thing for global warming. Sustainability is something that is very important to me.

Why is practicing sustainability important to you?

This is the time we have to stand up for our food rights. I realize that I am a mini portion of something bigger. I am re-learning all these things. I do it for my grandchildren; I want them to have a choice. I want sustainable farming to become mainstream. I don’t like the idea of mono farming. We don’t need insecticides to start killing things out. There is a film called Sustainable that’s great to watch. Before you know it, we’re all going to have food in plastic and that’s scary to me. We don’t want food in cans, we want fresh foods.  

What do you see as the future of Ojai Vista Farm?

A place for community, for family, for people who want to learn and a place you can have a peaceful, romantic time. I want to have music a couple of times a month and open dinners for the community. If someone wants to use the farm for a charitable event, I would donate at no cost.

How has your family reacted to this venture?

My family has been so incredibly helpful. They are my inspiration. I want to share what we have created with the community. I love sharing what I do and I want it to spread. I am just the steward.

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