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Lettuce Grow: More Than an Appeal from Veggies

July 21, 2020

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Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik in their backyard produce garden

Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik

Okay, so that title is a bit “corny.” (That makes 3 puns, so far. Please excuse them.)

Lettuce Grow is an exciting new initiative of The Farm Project, a sustainable produce venture started by actress Zooey Deschanel and her husband, Jacob Pechenik. Lettuce Grow offers an innovative and green thumb-free way Santa Barbara and Montecito homeowners can grow their own veggies and herbs.

There’s a movement afoot to grow your own farm-fresh produce from home. You might have toyed with the idea yourself. You’re not alone if you decided that picking up your stuff from the grocery store or at one of the amazing Farmer’s Markets we have here in Santa Barbara was the convenient way to get it. Think again! 

READ: Santa Barbara Farmers’ Markets Farm Stands And Gourmet Shops

Not only does homegrown produce taste better, growing your own ensures you know where, and how your food was grown. Plus, thanks to places like Lettuce Grow that sell hydroponic systems, a home produce garden is really quite easy. 

5 Reasons to Grow Your Own Produce

  • Control What Goes In your Food
    It’s possible and easy for Montecito and Santa Barbara homeowners to grow their own herbs and veggies and have total control over what goes into their meals. The security of knowing how your food is grown and what is used in the process can be reason enough to grow your own.

  • Commercially grown produce often lacks nutrients
    Since around 1940, we have seen a decline in produce nutritional value of up to 40%. On average, store-bought vegetables today have significantly fewer minerals, vitamins, and protein than vegetables did less than a century ago.

  • Freshness
    We've all run into the problem when reaching into our fridge's produce drawers only to find limp or bruised vegetables. You won't have that problem when you can pick them straight from the source and serve them with your dinner that night. Produce found in the grocery store is typically picked half ripe, which can have a negative effect on flavor.

  • Better for the Environment
    Long-distance transportation of produce relies heavily on fossil fuels. Growing your own food helps reduce the reliance on transportation, something that is harming the environment. Also, by growing your own food, you’re not using chemicals or pesticides that can also harm the environment.

READ: 25 Homeowner Tips for Going Green

  • Growing your own food has never been easier
    After reading these facts and figures, you may be thinking it’s time to start your own home produce garden. But, if you’re like me, you also have a conflicting voice in your head saying, “I don’t have a green thumb.” Well, you’re in good company. I, too, have killed a plant or two. There’s no shame in it. But more importantly, there’s a growing system designed specifically for people like you and me: people with no gardening experience.

About Lettuce Grow

Lettuce Grow is a sustainable food innovator that encourages people to grow their own produce with hydroponic “Farmstands.” An initiative of The Farm Project, it’s on a mission to change America’s food system by empowering everyone to grow a portion of their own produce at home. All a Montecito or Santa Barbara homeowner needs is a sunny space, which we have in abundance here thanks to our Mediterranean weather, along with water and power to grow fresh, delicious produce.

a cute little girl sitting on a counter while her mother chops vegetables in their kitchen

As Deschanel and Pechenik explain on The Farm Project website,

“When we started our family, we began to think about our food: what goes into it and how it's produced. What we learned about additives, processed foods, toxic agricultural chemicals, and food miles was alarming. But, there's a big gap between knowing that our food system is broken and actually feeling empowered to do something about it. With Lettuce Grow, we aim to close that gap by creating a system that allows everyone to grow 20% of their own fresh food at home with no pesticides and 95% less water than traditional agriculture.”         

About The Hydroponic Farmstand

a Farmstand with produce growing on it from Lettuce Grow

The Farmstands from Lettuce Grow make it super easy and fun for Montecito and Santa Barbara homeowners to grow their own delicious food. And the best part, you don’t have to worry about traditional gardening problems, such as digging, weeding, watering, or getting dirty, because there’s no soil involved. Garden pests are typically less of a problem, too. In addition, hydroponic plants produce up to 30% greater yields, grow three-times faster than they do in the dirt and use a fraction of land and water. Plus, each of the Farmstands from Lettuce Grow is small enough to be placed inside, which means you can grow right in your own kitchen.

READ: Santa Barbara and Montecito Landscape Design

A sample FARMSTAND from Lettuce Grow

Just choose a Farmstand and select from 200+ pre-sprouted seedlings to enjoy foolproof home gardening. The Farmstands are made from recycled ocean-bound plastic. You will see how easy it is to successfully grow your own food from home without any gardening experience. You’ll save both time and the space required for traditional gardening. All you have to do is choose your kit. Everything you need for success is included:

  • GEAR - including the actual Farmstand, along with a water pump, and timer
  • NUTRIENTS – Specific plant food for a variety of more than 130 plants
  • SUPPLIES – Everything you need including a pH Testing Kit, pH Down for water health, stir stick, scoops, and a cute sticker.

Now that you know how easy and fun it is to grow your own farm-fresh produce from home, what’s stopping you? Perhaps you’re waiting to move to a different Montecito or Santa Barbara area neighborhood. If that’s the case, just give me a call or drop me an email and let’s talk. You can contact me at or by calling +1 (805) 886-9378. After all, as Audrey Hepburn put it: "To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." Start believing today!

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“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch