Thoughtful Food

Field(s) Trip(s)! by threefrogs
September 27, 2010, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In the last couple of weeks, the four frog farm crew has been going on some visits to other farms in the area (i.e., about a 2 hour radius). This has been a wonderful opportunity to see other models for successful small farms. Perhaps the most important thing that I’ve come away with is the idea that there is not just one prototype to aspire for in small organic agriculture.  There are many different ways to do business (and these farms are certainly not afraid to explore new business ventures)!

One of the farms that we went to see was Sierra Valley Farms run by Kim and Gary Romano, and their son Joey. This challenging farm setting (e.g., a four month growing season, one of the shortest in the West) makes for an efficient or out-of-business farmer. Indeed, Gary has tried his hand in various creative “extras” on the farm to supplement his income from produce alone. He has held farm house dinners in his old barn (pictured below)

and grown native plants. The Romano’s have also made ccertain value added products with their produce, such as cocktail sauce and bloody mary mix. More recently, Gary has even hosted a farmer’s market at his farm and charged stall fees. Such supplements to the farm income seem to be what makes this farm work!

More recently, we visited a farm a little closer to our vicinity. Riverhill farm is an organic fruit and vegetable farm in Nevada City, CA. Farm owners Alan Haight and Jo McProud grow a similar assortment of vegetables and fruit to Four Frog Farm (Andrew was an apprentice under Alan for 2 years). But, Riverhill also has fruit trees and sells cut flowers and various herbs.

One of the main draws at Riverhill is their beautiful farm stand building (pictured below), that is nestled in between rows of flowers and a spectacular herb garden. This farm stand is where most of their 170 CSA members pick up their vegetables every week. I cannot think of a more enjoyable setting to visit on a weekly occasion (what lucky members)!

Thanks to these farms for giving us young farmers more ideas for our future farms!

-Farmer Leda


2 Comments so far
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Hi Farmer Leda,

Just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog! I found about it through Andrew’s past posts on PVFS’s Freshman Farmer blog. Another great farm to visit if you haven’t already is in Sacramento, called Soil Born Farm. They do a lot of educational and food access work, as well as networking between small farmers to improve market access and such.

Anyway, its great to read the adventures of a beginning farmer! I’m a fairly new farmer too, down in the valley near Modesto. Congratulations on a successful growing season!

~Farmer Anna

Comment by upliftfarm

Farmer Anna,
Thanks for the comment! I actually just applied for Soil Born’s 2nd year apprentice position and will be interviewing with them shortly. I would be interested to speak with you more about Uplift farm, especially because I may be in the area within the next month and would love to come check out your operation! If you don’t mind emailing me to continue this conversation, my email is:
Thanks again for getting in touch!

Comment by threefrogs

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