At just five feet tall and barely 30 years old, San Luis Obispo's Julie Simon may not be a shoo-in for your typical farmer. But then again, Simon hasn't done much of anything the prescribed way.
Ten years ago, Simon was enrolled in university in her native France, ready to follow that path to a law career. But restlessness and an uncanny ability in the kitchen compelled her to move to Paso Robles, where her aunt and uncle farmed an olive grove and pressed olive oil. Not long after the transition, Simon landed kitchen jobs in some of the Central Coast's finest restaurants and eventually became executive chef at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro when she was 23 years old.
Time passed and, like most young chefs, Simon bounced between local restaurants, dreaming up new dishes and flavors, garnering more fans who would follow her anywhere. Then one day in 2017, she quit, at the top of her game, to become a farmer. Why?