Mesa Farms is private property owned and managed by North Park Properties LLC, with rental housing, organic farming areas, a vineyard, fruit tree orchard, miles of trails, and 100's of acres of adjacent open space. Our land comprises over 40 acres, the majority of which is San Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub protected habitat, bordering San Diego's beautiful Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP). We are located in the Southwest corner of Santee on Mesa Road. One block to the South is the Mesa Trailhead, with a waterfall and entrance to Mesa Trail, leading to the top of Cowles Mountain (MTRP Trails & Terrain Map). Mesa Road has been in use since the mid-1800's.
Our land consists of a relatively flat 5-acre area fronting Mesa Road and 35 acres of open space to the East consisting of a valley and two mountain ridges, rising from 420 feet elevation to over 760 feet at the mesa top in the Southeast corner of the property. The Eastern 35 acres are within a Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) habitat preservation area. A seasonal stream runs through the valley in Winter months in years with average or above average rainfall, making its way under Mesa Road, down through Big Rock park and to the San Diego River less than a mile away to the North.
Miles of hiking trails through the property and adjoining open space offer beautiful unobstructed views for 25+ miles and a wide range of trees, shrubs, vegetation and wildlife (aerial view from the Southwest). Two blocks to the North is Big Rock Park, a 5-acre public park with tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, picnic tables, BBQs & more, and next to Big Rock Park is Santee's Chet Harritt K-8 Public School. Half a mile to the South is the Grossmont Community College 135-acre campus.
One of the most beautiful landscapes within a major US city, Mission Trails Regional Park is the only mountainous park within central San Diego. Five mountain peaks rise up to 1592 feet with Mission Gorge and the San Diego River below at 200 feet elevation.
Our goals are to support sustainable organic permaculture farming and agriculture, while preserving and restoring native habitat. We have a 20,000 square foot (~½-acre) planting area, enclosed by a 200' × 100' 8' tall fence, with irrigation, fruit trees, grape vines, shade trees, and a chicken coop. Options may be available for local community members to set up organic gardening plots including shared use of the planting area.
San Diego Horticulturalist Scott Jones (Plants Comprehensive)
Organic Vineyard & Fruit Tree Orchard
In 2020-21 we planted fruit trees including Mulberry, Pear, Persimmon, Loquat, Pomelo, Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Asian Pear, and Fuji Apple. In 2021 local horticulturalist Scott Jones (Plants Comprehensive) set up a grape vineyard with a pergola structure, drip irrigation and over 30 varieties of rare / heirloom / California-native grape vines. Scott utilizes aromatic groundcovers and permaculture concepts to enhance soil quality and water efficiency, and has added additional fruit trees including Apricots and Pomegranates. The vineyard and orchard are now about ¼-acre in size but could be significantly expanded. Scott has decades of expertise with California native plants, rare fruit trees, and heirloom grape varieties, and we are honored to have been working with him since 2016.
Native Habitat Preservation & Restoration
In addition to 35-acres of undisturbed native habitat on the property, we maintain a habitat restoration area along the road frontage of Mesa Road and Ramhaven Lane approximately 700' × 20' in size, where since 2016 we've planted over 100 native trees and shrubs including native Oaks and Manzanitas, Toyon, Laurel Sumac, Lemonade Berry, Catalina Cherry, Arbutus Marina, Cuyamaca Cypress, Tecate Cypress, Torrey Pine, Foothill Pine, Catalina Ironwood, various sage and other natives as well as a smaller number of non-native shade trees including California Pepper, Evergreen Elm, Brisbane Box, Golden Wattle, Silver Dollar Gum, Eldarica Pine, Canary Island Pine, and Aleppo Pine. We provide minimal irrigation in this area which has resulted in the more common natives filling in very well including Baccharis pilularis (Coyote Brush), Eriogonum fasciculatum (California Buckwheat) and Artemisia californica (California Sagebrush).
For more information please email david at northpark.us.
Mesa Farms Site Map
Map of the front ~7.5 acres of the property
Time-lapse video of the front ~8 acres of the property, showing habitat restoration along the road frontage and setup of the Planting Area
Pictures / Videos
Looking North from the Southwest corner of the property
View of the property from Mesa Road looking North
View of Mission Trails across Mesa Road at sunset. Toyon, California Buckwheat and Coast Live Oak in foreground
View of Cowles Mountain from the Pergola area
View to the South from the Northwest corner of the property
Northwest corner of the property, at the intersection of Mesa Road and Ramhaven Lane (Aug. 2019)
Main Entrance. At right the South Ridge rises from 420 feet to 760 feet elevation
Planting Area, Vineyard & Fruit Tree Orchard
The Vineyard on a Summer morning, with the East Mesa and South Ridge in the background
Rows of grapes growing on the pergola (July 2023)
Several varieties of heirloom grapes ripe for picking (Otonell, Verdelet, Alicante Bouschet)
View from the North showing from right to left, Mission Trails Regional Park, our ~½-acre Planting Area,
the 2 houses on the property, the South Ridge, and the East Mesa (Aug. 2019)
The seasonal stream flows in winter months in years with significant rainfall, originating in the valleys
to the East, flowing 40' North of the houses and winding through the 200' length of the Planting Area
The seasonal stream flowing under the bridge in the Planting Area
Valley, Ridges and Trails
Streambed and clearing in the valley center. North Ridge in background
View in late Winter from the South Ridge looking towards the North Valley.
El Cajon Mountain is visible at top middle (13 miles away, 3,675 ft elevation)
View in early Fall from the South Ridge looking towards the North Ridge and North Trail.
Note seasonal change in vegetation as compared to previous picture.
Early evening shade from the South Ridge over the South Trail and Valley
Short audio clip of the sounds of the birds and wildlife on a Spring morning
Short audio clip of the sounds of the wildlife on a Summer night
Short video from the North Trail. First audio clip above is from this video. Turn up your audio volume
to experience the sounds and magnificent beauty of the birds, wildlife and nature. South Valley at left
North Trail on a Summer Morning
View from the North Trail near the top of the North Ridge looking Southwest
View from the North Trail of Rain Clouds moving in over Mission Trails
The South Ridge towers 300 feet above a clearing at the bottom of the valley
Coast Live Oak Trees in the South Valley. Underbrush cleared by Tree Culture San Diego,
enhancing shady areas under the trees while reducing fire fuel in key areas
View of the North Ridge from the South Valley
View from the East Mesa of the South Valley 150 feet below, with the South Ridge and Mission Trails in the background
Back House, Valley and trails viewed from the East Mesa. View in google maps
View from the driveway of the two rental houses on the property
Historic 1940's Front House (Rooftop Deck added in 2016)
Back House viewed from the East
Front House and on left detached Workshop/Office and Patio
Storage Shed with small front patio
Views from the East Mesa
View from the East Mesa looking Northwest (Oct. 2017)
View to the West of Cowles Mountain from the East Mesa (Oct. 2017)
Mesa Farms' 4x4 on the East Mesa
View from the East Mesa looking South (Oct. 2017)
View to the East (Nov. 2018)
View to the East of El Cajon Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, Viejas Mountain and at lower right Rattlesnake Peak (Jan. 2018).
Fence running horizontally at middle is the East property line, bordering a habitat preserve
View from the Southeast corner of the property looking North (Feb. 2016). A habitat conservation area borders to the East.
Mount Woodson (13 miles away, 2,894 ft elevation) and Iron Mountain (10 miles away, 2,696 ft elevation) visible at top right
View from the East Mesa looking Northeast
Large 360° Panorama from the East Mesa (use scrollbar above to pan)
Looking Northeast from the East Mesa at dusk. Mount Woodson and Iron Mountain visible at left top, El Cajon Mountain
at right, and at far right the region's highest peak Cuyamaca Peak (25 miles away, 6,512 ft elevation)
Santee Lakes viewed from the East Mesa
View of the Lake Murray neighborhood from the East Mesa
We have seen rattlesnakes on the property. Caution is advised
One of our California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) Organic Farming Consultants (June 2016)
One of the many Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) rabbits often seen about the property