SLO Grown Produce: the best of Italy is locally grown in San Luis Obispo, California.

Located off the beautiful Carpenter Canyon Road, are the warm and welcoming smiles of Philip and Nancy Langston. Since 1991, the duo has been perfecting growing techniques on  SLO Grown Produce Farm to insure the best crops that San Luis Obispo County has to offer.



SLO grown produce sets itself apart by the ability to grow summer crops all year through the green house. When basil, tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers are out of season, many local businesses turn to the local farm in order to have fresh produce in the off season. Unlike most of the Central Coast, Philip and Nancy Langston own one of the very few family owned farms. Therefore, the couple doesn’t just produce the freshest and purest crops, but also delivers passion and heart in everything they do.

Producing three essential Italian ingredients: tomatoes, basil and olive oil, puts the sustainable farm at the heart of Italy. Philip Langston added, “All you need is the fresh mozzarella, and you’ve got a caprese salad!”

The couple provides their produce to multiple restaurants downtown, as well as all over California. At Big Sky Cafe, when customers ask for bread they will bring a bottle of the Lone Oak Olive Oil along with it. I spoke with owner and executive chef, Greg Holt about his experience with the flavorful oil. “I chose Lone Oak Olive Oil because there simply is not a better table top olive oil. It is so fruity, light and beautifully managed that nothing can compare. Meticulous would be a huge understatement. There is so much thought and pride put into this amazing product”, he said.


The essential oils

Throughout time, people have been testing a wide variety of oils in their frying, baking and sautéing endeavors; plant, animal and synthetic fats are a few oil options.  However, when it comes to mastering Italian recipes, the quality of the oil is the very basis for success. The search is inevitably for something light and tasty, but also wholesome.

As we move away from animal fats, new scientific evidence from The Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests cholesterol-free vegetable oil from oilseed crop is the best option. These include:soybean, sunflower, rapeseed, cottonseed, and peanut oils.

Most of these vegetable oils have levels of oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids that significantly exceed that of palmitic acid, and nutritionists now generally recommend that preference is given to such oils in the human diet.

Oleic and linoleic oils are unsaturated, fatty acids that won’t compromise your health, but still have the same satisfaction in the stomach.

In order to maintain a healthy kitchen, steer away from high levels of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids in cooking oils. Partially hydrogenated, Crisco and Canola are just a few that should be avoided due to their contribution to cardiovascular disease.

The next time you wish to whip up an Italian dinner, pay special attention to the use of the oil. Such a small change can dramatically improve the taste as well as your overall health.