Explore San Diego: Summers Past Farms

EL CAJON, Calif. -- Summers Past Farms is East County charm meets English countryside beauty. At this hidden gem, you can stroll through a garden full of flowers, relax by a peaceful pond or get lost in a mesmerizing maze.

All of it was created by Marshall and Sheryl Lozier, who dreamed of having an open space where families can relax in nature.

“We love the greenery, we love the plants…we love the sound of kids playing,” Marshall said.

Inspired by the sights and sounds of Monet’s garden in France and countryside gardens they saw in England, the couple first drew up the plans, then landscaped.

“It’s kind of romantic to build an old barn,” says Marshall, who relied on his background as a contractor. He also built Sheryl a chicken coop where they raise French hens.

“I used to come home in the afternoon and Sheryl would be on an old ride mower here and she was mowing half weed dirt fields. She’d get off that tractor and she would just be covered in dirt and I just thought that was the cutest thing I’d ever seen,” Marshall said.

Their years of planning paid off in 1992 when they opened Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs, which quickly became a community favorite. And when the Cedar Fire threatened their hard work, they took a stand.

“We watched it from the morning, it was a Sunday morning. It was on a hillside and watched it come over the hills. It seemed like it ran faster than people could drive, the neighborhood was being evacuated…We were watering down the buildings."

The farm was spared and the community was rebuilt. Now the farm gets booked for weddings and craft fairs. Sheryl teaches soap making and stocks the shop.

“My fondest memories – when you start seeing people you recognize, you become friends with them and it’s a pleasure to have such a community out here,” Sheryl said.

“I love the coffee shop and being able to hang out and have coffee and let the kids run around,” said Lindsay Mills, who lives nearby in El Cajon.

Every spring, the Loziers host Sweet Pea Day. Hundreds of people go through their maze picking fragrant flowers, delighted by the surprise at the center, which we won’t give away in this story -- you’ll have to see for yourself in person.

“Things in the country can be kind of fun,” Marshall said.

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