Cynthia Sandberg began her career as a trial attorney but set aside practicing law after her gardening hobby developed into a passion. She founded Love Apple Farms in 2002, originally located at her two-acre farmhouse in Ben Lomond. There, she cultivated rare, open-pollinated tomato varieties from seed, selling seedlings and fruit to passersby. Demand for her plants grew such that Love Apple Farms’ annual plant sale, now the largest in California, vends over 100 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. After developing a partnership with David Kinch of Manresa restaurant in 2006, she moved to 21 acres of terraced Santa Cruz Mountain hillside. In 2012, Love Apple Farms earned Demeter biodynamic certification.
The name Love Apple Farms originates from a European nickname for tomatoes. When old-world explorers first introduced the fruit—native to Central and South America—to European markets, consumers believed them to be aphrodisiacs—hence “love apples.”
Cynthia teaches 40 weekend gardening classes per year at Love Apple Farms. Her expertise garners frequent requests to speak at gardening and biodynamic farming events. She has given lectures at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, Eco-Farm, MAD Symposium in Copenhagen, and the Nordic Barista Cup in Oslo, Norway. Topics in her repertoire include Mastering the Art of the Tomato, Introduction to Biodynamic Gardening, Farmer/Chef Relationships, Designing the Perfect Vegetable Garden, and All-Season Vegetable Gardening.
Cynthia conceived of a global tomato-loving community many years ago when she realized that there existed no worldwide group to revere and preserve the diversity of the world’s tomato varieties. In 2014, she founded the World Tomato Society with Gary Ibsen, Linda Lico, Harry Murray, and Helen Pastorino, and has worked hard to celebrate and educate others about the world’s most popular fruit.