When I think of Santa Maria Valley, I visualize Santa Maria-style barbeque and the excellent wine, especially pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, that thrive in the area. I never thought that Santa Maria Valley would be known for its Central Coast Coffee and tea. Visiting Dewlson Family Farm, I discovered that coffee is a novelty in this area, and the passion Ron Dewey and Judy Paulson exude for their farm and its various projects is infectious.
It began as a retirement project for Ron Dewey and Judy Paulson after long careers in the Navy. They both wanted something different and liked the farming lifestyle. The idea must incorporate a generational aspect, something they could pass down to their kids. The farm was established in 2010, and today, Ron and Judy call it an “Oasis of Experience” with the idea that you come to learn and explore with a “fun farm experience.”
The farm consists of 60 acres, of which 40 are planted with 5800 Lisbon Lemons. One asks Why Lisbon Lemons? The Lisbon Lemon is an old lemon variety that may have originated in Portugal and is known for its distinct long nipple. The tree features green glossy leaves with fragrant white flowers that produce lemons in about nine months. The Lisbon Lemon is more versatile, more popular, and less acidic. It is used in many everyday products.
Other varieties of lemons, fruits, and exotic fruits are growing on the farm, including coffee and tea. Other fruits include Owari Satsuma, Miracle fruit, Black Mission Fig, Caviar Lime, Ice Cream Banana, Cara Cara Pink Naval Orange, Dragon Fruit, Yellow and Red Strawberry Guava, Keffer Lime, Passion fruit, Pluot, NectaPlum, Minneloa Tangelo, Goji Berry, Goumi, Shiro Yellow Plum, Wurtz Little Cado, Pink Lemonade, Pineapple Guava, Buddha Hand, Bearss Lime, Moro Blood Orange, Ghost Apple, and Star Cherry.
The farm utilizes sustainable and organic practices, although without certification. Dewlson Family Farms aims to protect the health and well-being of their family, farm, associates, and guests.
Environmental consciousness and conservation are guiding principles at Dewlson Family Farms. With Ron’s background in Naval Engineering, many of the projects affiliated with these goals Ron created. The rain storage system that Ron created is quite impressive.
Central Coast Coffee
Visiting the farm, you will learn more than you ever wanted to know about coffee. This Central Coast coffee tour takes you from viewing the coffee plants to tasting the coffee berries and continues through the drying and roasting process. Finally, you get to a taste tour of coffee while watching the beans roasting. You can end your day by purchasing your favorite roast.
There are two main coffee plant varieties: Arabica, sweet and smooth, and Robusta, a burnt and bitter bean. Dewlson Family Farm grows five varieties of Arabica. Planted in 2017, these coffee plants came from the Big Island in Hawaii. The varieties are Catual Rojo, created in Brazil; Caturra Amarillo, mainly used for Columbian coffee; Puerto Rico, a very hearty variety; Geisha, the most expensive coffee in the world; and Cuicateco, a Peruvian variety.
Due to the windy conditions coming off the ocean in Santa Maria, the coffee grows in a greenhouse explicitly created for growing coffee. Coffee berries come in two colors: red and yellow. Many of the plants are self-propagating.
The coffee tasting utilizes the pour-over method as Ron serves you light, medium, and dark samples of coffee. Ron roasts in front of you. The tasting is enhanced by pairing milk and dark chocolate. Typically, lighter roasts pair with dark chocolate, and milk chocolate pairs best with darker roasts.
This is an excerpt from an article on Central Coast coffee and tea I wrote for Wander with Wander in August.