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Our farm is located in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. We're off of Eastside Road, not far from Healdsburg, Windsor and Forestville. Our goats and chickens range on the hilly slopes of the valley, while most of our vegetables grow on the fertile floodplain below.
We supply local families with weekly veggie boxes through our small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program of about 75 families. We have a vibrant and growing community of CSA members, most of whom visit the farm every week to pick up their vegetables, forage for extra "u-pick" items, and connect with the farm and farmers. We also sell produce every weekend at two farmers markets, and during the winter to chefs and caterers.
Our flock of free-ranging laying hens and our herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats provide ourselves and locals with fresh eggs, goat milk, and goat cheese and yogurt. We also have two Anatolian Shepherds (sweet, giant, gentle livestock guard dogs) and several rescued barn cats to keep the mice away!
We have the river valley on one side and oak-studded grassy hills on the other -- there are plenty of nearby opportunities to hike, bike, canoe, and swim in the middle of the beautiful countryside. Yet only ten minutes away we can find urban amenities such as coffee shops, movie theaters, libraries, and grocery stores.
This valley land is like a little window into the history of agriculture in Sonoma County. When Emmett's grandparents moved to the ranch in the 1950s, the property was planted with hops and the remnant processing facilities made something of a jungle-gym for the local kids. (The concrete hop kiln structure still stands, and is visible from Eastside Road to passing motorists and cyclists.)
Soon began the conversion from hops to prune and pear orchards, with other crops--such as string beans for processing, and alfalfa for livestock--mixed in here and there over the years. These photos show: bean planting in 1956; a young prune orchard in 1955; and prune harvest in 1964, with Emmett's dad Bob standing behind the tractor in the Sunsweet bin.
In the 1970s, the old fruit trees began to make way for young grapevines until the prune processing industry had completely left the region and wine was king. Now, the grapevines, vegetables, grains and free-ranging chickens share the valley, and fruit trees are making a bit of a comeback too.