Abel Basch wants customers to feel just as welcome and at home at Classic Organic Farm & Market as they did when Helmut Klauer owned the business.

Even though the familiar peace sign no longer adorns the side of the farm’s big barn off Highway 101 south of Buellton, he said, the sentiments of friendliness remain.

“Helmut taught me a lot in the months before he left for Hawaii,” Basch told Noozhawk. “Yes, his style is very classic, not to sound corny, and I will definitely take what he taught me to heart and put my own style with it.

“I will have all the same great organic produce and try some new varieties that I hope our customers will love.”

There have been several changes since Klauer left the 15-acre farm in October. The sales area was moved to a smaller barn, a patio was built in the back, and the peace sign is gone, as it belonged to Klauer.

Basch hails from the Los Angeles area and grew up in the suburbs. His love of farming stemmed from his family raising chickens and having a small garden in their yard.

When Basch was 18, he moved to Santa Barbara to study music at Santa Barbara City College.

Sunflowers frame the distinctive barn at Classic Organic Farm & Market. The peace sign is gone but the friendly vibe remains. (Classic Organic Farm & Market photo)

After a visit to Israel and spending a few months working in a kitchen, he returned to SBCC and enrolled in its culinary program.

“I was really trying to find myself, and by going to Israel I thought I could start with knowing more of my culture,” Basch said. “I loved being there so much I went back to learn about permaculture.”

Permaculture is a way of environmental design that combines engineering, water management, and sustainable and regenerative agriculture modeled from natural ecosystems, according to the Permaculture Institute.

“Permaculture is about looking at every aspect of natural ecosystems and encouraging native pollinators, protecting biodiversity while building soil capabilities,” Basch explained.

When Basch completed the six-month program, he stayed for another six months learning as much as he could.

While researching farming options on Farmlink.com, he saw that Classic Organic was for sale and bought it with his family. He returned from Israel in July, spent one night at home, and then moved to the farm near Gaviota.

“It’s been wonderful meeting all the people who come to the barn, learning the history of the area,” Basch said. “I will continue to create a space where people can come be hands-on picking their own produce or just need a quick stop for local fresh products.”

Crops being harvested at Classic Organic Farm & Market near Gaviota. (Classic Organic Farm & Market photo)

Since he has a background in culinary arts, Basch wants to integrate his farm into the digital age and perhaps start a video blog with cooking techniques. He also wants to host cooking classes for those interested.

“This climate is so similar to where I was in Israel, even the weeds are the same,” Basch said. “So I have an idea of how to rotate crops and water management systems that will work, and I want to experiment with some varieties that people don’t see all the time in the store.”

The barn store still works on the honor system, but those who don’t have cash on hand can use their new PayPal account.

The farm’s name, Classic Organic, might change in the coming months, but no new name has been chosen.

Current produce available at the barn is beets, cabbage, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach and squash. In February, there will be several kinds of broccoli.

Barn hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, but if the barn doors are open before or after, customers are free to go in.

Classic Organic Farm & Market is located at 2330 Old Coast Highway off Highway 101 near the Nojoqui Park sign, north of Gaviota. Click here for more information.

— Raiza Giorgi is a Noozhawk contributing writer from the Santa Ynez Valley. She can be reached at bellaphoto04@gmail.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.