Posted on Mar 23, 2011

We’re Building A Garden at Harbor Cafe

Have you been to Harbor Cafe yet? If you answered no, stop reading. Go to 535 7th Ave. Santa Cruz, Ca and order the fish tacos and 2 Bloody Marys (or, go on Fridays and get bottomless mimosas!), then come back and finish reading why it’s my favorite restaurant.
Mimosa Friday!

Well, I could spend an entire post writing about how much I love their food and the fun loving atmosphere, but instead I’m just going to tell you how excited I am that Whitney and I were asked to plant a vegetable garden for their restaurant!

Whitney and I go to Harbor Cafe often… very often, and we’ve been lucky enough to strike up some quality friendships with the staff and recently the owners Dan and Max. The opportunity to design and construct the restaurant’s soon to be garden came about from tippys talk with one of our favorite servers. The three of us were looking over at their raised bed (of sorts) filled with: palm trees, ferns, a huge jade bush, wild lilies, weedy grass, and a ton of deteriorating boating equipment and surfboards. The space is small and cluttered but it’s certainly more room than we have at home, and we’ve got over 30 types of veggies and herbs growing, so space is of no issue to us. After several conversations we all agreed that change was necessary and it was time for that little plot of land to become an edible landscape for all to enjoy.

The addition of a vegetable garden to Harbor Cafe is a progressive change, and the previous changes that have been incorporated since new ownership are monumental as well; their ban on Styrofoam and switch to biodegradable to go boxes, their use of a compost, and their support for local businesses and community members. Harbor Cafe is a leader in its community, and a snowball effect could be on the rise for more restaurants to be like this one if promoted, encouraged and talked about. So let’s start talking.

Here’s a couple reasons why I’m really excited for this project:

  1. The Harbor Garden Cafe will be my first garden project for an establishment outside my home. Yes, I’m stoked!
  2. I think all restaurants should find a space to grow some veggies; as it would save them money and the hassle of ordering that product, help the environment, and customers will think they’re way cooler for having a garden.
  3. And, because I want to get my hands dirty, plant some food, and have people eat it.


Here’s the space that Whitney and I are working with to start off. Stay posted for the changes to come!
harbor cafe plot

old anchor chain on fence



  • Carahe says:

    Congrats on your first commission! I’ll be interested to see what you do with the space, and how you plan on focusing the project to be productive throughout the growing year (like annuals vs. perennials) as well as aesthetically utilizing the whole volume of the space and minimizing labor intensity.

  • Sasha says:

    Yes!! I am so excited for you! You are going to learn so much more with your (huge) successes and (small) failures with this project than you could in a classroom lecture. I’m looking forward to following your progress =)

  • roxy says:


  • Aunt Kathy says:

    Woohoo! We used to spend a lot of time at the Harbor Cafe in the late ’70’s. Looking forward to going there again to check out what will surely be an awesome garden!!

  • Sheila says:

    Love your blog, Cait. Your writing style shows a lot of passion. Keep it up!

  • Bear says:

    Yay! Do fresh mint for summer iced tea! (and is that a blue bowling ball?)

  • cait scott says:

    Ha. They do have a lot of random items in that space mom, but a bowling ball isn’t one of them. They have a bunch of these really pretty glass orbs hanging around, and I’m excited to spruce some of their old boating equipment up to reuse! Great advice on the Tea mom!

  • Whit Scott says:

    I’m super excited to see how this all comes along cait. Congrats on the project.