Melanie Wong | Jul 23, 201606:03 PM    

Regulars to Sunday's Mountain View farmers market have recommended the breads and olive oil from Suncoast Organic Farm in Hollister.

The farm opens for bakery and retail sales on Fridays and Saturdays. Recently I had a chance to visit.

Housed in an old weathered barn, the array of baked goods inside was surprising. I liked having visibility into the kitchen to observe the keading action and inhale the scent of freshly baked bread. The bakery grinds its own flour. The fresh flour makes the breads feel bouncy and more alive.

The soul of the kitchen is the wood-burning oven. This certified organic farm is solar powered.

I had a hard time deciding what to buy among the many. But I had to choose quickly because things were selling out rapidly in a customer buying frenzy even though I'd arrived shortly after opening. From this shelf, I bought the jalapeño & cheddar soft pretzel, $5, that turned out to be quite mildly flavored with a gentle chewiness. The olive oil of the garlic focaccia, $5, soaked through the paper bag. I liked the chewy texture and subtle nuttiness in combination with a strong garlic signature. Both items had the high hydration to hold well for a couple days and perked up beautifully when reheated.

Lunch specials are on display. Tri-tip barbecue sandwiches on garlic bread were a new item this day and seemed to be well received by lunch customers. Many customers called in to reserve their favorites.

A shaded patio out back looks toward the surrounding foothills. I stayed for lunch, ordering and paying for a pepperoni pan pizza, $12, at the counter, sight unseen. Asked if I wanted it sliced, I asked for it to be cut into four pieces.

Opening the pizza box brought to my table for the big reveal heightened my surprise. The pizza was slipper-shaped with a thickish bready crust. The herbed tomato sauce was sweetly jammy with hints of garlic. Shellacked with a thick layer of whole milk mozzarella, the pizza had a generous amount of pepperoni. While soft-crusted is not my style of pie, this was tasty and the leftovers made for good breakfast and lunches the following days.

On this warm afternoon, the ice cold cucumber-limeade, $3, was wonderfully refreshing, if a bit too sweet for my taste.

The farm makes ice cream too. I took home pints, $6, of pistachio and peach. The rich, organic ice cream base was very good but the flavors needed more intensity to show above the neutral cream underpinnings. I preferred the pistachio because it had a lot more flavor.

The peach puree and slices on top had not been macerated in sugar syrup and turned to hard ice crystals after freezing.

I also bought an apricot braid, $12, and monkey bread, $5. The apricot braid's a sweet bread with not much apricot. The monkey bread's served hot from the oven, heavily glazed with a near black, over-the-top concentration of cinnamon syrup and icing.

The family members are so hospitable and eager to please. Not everything worked for me, but I only scratched the surface of the impressive amount of wholesome goodies this small operation cranks out. I enjoyed my visit and will be returning to try more.

Suncoast Organic Farm
6310 Southside Rd
Hollister CA 95023
FRIDAY 12n-7pm
SATURDAY 9am to 5pm


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