The Peninsula Open Space Trust and California FarmLink, a nonprofit that helps farmers lease and purchase land, announced this week they have partnered to preserve 69 acres of coastal farmland that has belonged to the Andreotti family of Half Moon Bay. Under the arrangement, the longstanding family farm would be permanently protected for agricultural use.
The property, which has been farmed by the Andreottis since 1926, is a popular destination for beachgoers and Coastsiders alike. It is perhaps best known for its historic Kelly Avenue farm stand, a sun-dappled wooden structure framed against a backdrop of farmlands and sunflower fields, which the family operates as a produce stand.
The land also includes a seasonal pumpkin patch along Highway 1 and a nearby driving range.
The farm’s future has been uncertain. In 2017, POST purchased some of the acreage of the original farm on the open market, sparing it from potential real-estate development. The nonprofit worked with Dino and Terry Andreotti, the property’s longtime farmers, to reassemble and preserve the parcels with an agricultural conservation easement. During that time, the agency also coordinated with FarmLink to get the financing that the Andreottis needed to reunite property purchased by their grandparents.
Ben Wright, farmland program manager for POST, described the farm as a Half Moon Bay institution that was narrowly saved from the auction block.
“But we got another bite at that apple to protect this really important, prime agricultural land right in the heart of town,” he said. “It complements the recreational benefits that you get there at the beach and a short walk from downtown. It’s really a one-of-a-kind farm that’s really vital to protect now.
“And it’s made even more successful by the fantastic partnerships we have here,” continued Wright. “Not only do we have POST and the farmer working together to keep the farm here forever, we have FarmLink stepping in to provide the financing.”
According to POST officials, the entire Andreotti family farm is now subject to a conservation easement that ensures that it remains permanently available for agricultural production. Steve Wilson, a real estate attorney for the law firm Withers, helped establish the property’s conservation easement. He has been advising the Andreotti family since 2017.
“It was a privilege to help my clients crystallize their vision of preservation, and ensure that these important Bay Area properties are kept intact for future generations,” said Wilson.
Brett Meleone, director of lending at FarmLink, said that securing financing for farmland and agricultural operations is notoriously difficult, even during a strong economy.
“We value partnerships and strategies that support farm families who choose to protect their farms,” said Brett Melone, director of lending at FarmLink, in a prepared statement. “The Andreottis’ situation was the perfect opportunity for our new program to support the viability of a protected family farm. We wish them much success.”