Farmers’ Market Finds: Coffee with a Conscience

Ventura Coffee is at the Thousand Oaks Farmers' Market every Thursday.

Ventura Coffee is at the Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market every Thursday.

Tim Weir knows his coffee.”I roasted coffee beans for eight years,” said the soft-spoken Weir, who owns Ventura Coffee, the coffee truck right in the midst of the Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market on Thursdays. It was a natural progression to switch to selling and brewing coffee. The schedule and flexibility fits the former school administrator and coffee bean roaster to a “T.”

On Thursdays, his one-man operation is in Thousand Oaks. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, he can be found at the two Ventura Farmers’ Market locations. In between, he is booked for special events, school fundraisers, church functions, weddings and even road races. “I love doing this,” said the Ventura resident. “I love the interaction and knowing what people want as they walk up to my truck.”

Take your pick from fresh and robust coffee flavors from as far as Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Take your pick from fresh and robust coffee flavors from as far as Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Weir might recommend an espresso featuring the robust flavor of Sumatra beans from Indonesia or a skinny latte featuring single-origin beans from one of his favorite South American sources.

So what sets Ventura Coffee apart from the competition? For one, Weir will only use 100 percent, Fair Trade organic coffee beans from countries such as Indonesia, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru and Ethiopia, among others.

Freshness is also a must. “I get them weekly from roasters,” said Weir. “Unlike the grocery store-bought beans which have been on shelves for months, I know my beans are just days or a week old at the most.”

Weir’s unique business model also includes giving back and raising money for schools, which has led him to an elementary school in far-flung Sierra Leone. Through his church, the Community Presbyterian Church in Ventura, Weir has helped raise over $14,500 to buy much-needed school supplies and a school bus for the school. The money came from Sunday coffee sales as well as private donations and grants.

One of Tim Weir's goals this year is to raise $80,000 to build an elementary school building in Sierra Leone.

One of Tim Weir’s goals this year is to raise $80,000 to build an elementary school building in Sierra Leone.

This fall, Weir plans to return to the West African country to renew his commitment and help raise $80,000 for the construction of a school building that will educate children from pre-school to fifth grade.

“We hope to finish the school by this Christmas,” said Weir, who has been back and forth between the US and Sierra Leone three times. “We’ve raised $20,000 so far and so many people are pitching in, so we’re slowly getting there.”

The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is open on Thursdays, from 1:3o to 6 pm, at the east end parking lot (Wilbur Rd. and Thousand Oaks Blvd.) of The Oaks Shopping Center. 


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