So how does that break down? Well, a lot of that is grazing land for the dairy industry (cow, goat, and sheep, think California cheeses) but we also still grow a lot of other things like apples, peaches, pears, hops, olives, and lot of produce – pretty much anything you can think of someone here is growing it. Farmers markets have always been a staple – I can remember going to Sebastopol farmers market with my mom in the 1970s – it’s just part of the culture here from way way way before anyone coined the now cliché term “farm to table.”
At Farmhouse, from day one we’ve always supported local farming not only because it’s the right thing to do, but, selfishly, everything just tastes so much better when harvested at the peak of ripeness and served that same day.
Back in 2011 my family and I moved to our 40-acre property about 2 ½ miles down the road from Farmhouse (not “the family ranch”, that’s where Catherine lives in my great grandparent’s house). The first thing we did at our little homestead was we immediately plant a garden. Over the years, things have grown we got chickens, a flock of 60+, who lay our breakfast eggs, beehives, a small orchard, and, for the last 5 years, we have raised heritage turkeys for our Farmhouse Thanksgiving feast (we’ve got 46 in the barn right now). And each year our garden has grown larger, too, and we’ve tried growing just about everything – somethings doing better than others like squash, tomatoes, and peppers that just produce an endless bounty. It’s a lot of work but it’s a labor of love.
And then Covid hit and 2020 was an absolutely horrific year. Just keeping the business open was an endless amount of work. Unintentionally that year we just never got around to planting the garden. And, well, 2021 was kind of the same story with additional closures and staffing shortages and a ton of other awful things, we again made the decision to take another year off from the garden. But now here we are in 2022 and things have started to stabilize, and we’ve been able to focus on some cool new projects like remodeling the cottages and re-envisioning our restaurants, both fine dining and FARMSTAND (and that’s a whole other story). At the helm of FARMSTAND is Farmhouse alumni chef, Trevor Anderson. Trevor is passionate about food and our FARMSTAND menu really is written like a love story to Sonoma produce. Of course, we had to resurrect the gardens this year so chef Trevor could have an abundance of locally grown produce. Certainly, over the years we’ve planted small gardens at Farmhouse and hope to expand our garden footprint this winter but for now my little farm is serving nicely as our satellite garden facility.
Trevor, our garden team, and I worked together to come up with an impressive list of produce to grow. This year we have planted 45 heirloom tomato plants, sweet Peppers, hot Peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini, melons and watermelons, herbs, and a whole slew of edible flowers for garnish. I’m happy to report just about everything is doing great! And even though it hasn’t been our hottest summer, the tomatoes came in early and plentiful. Our only real obstacle has been my Great Pyrenees dog that likes to lay on top of the melon plants! All in all, things came together really nicely and it feels so good to have a big garden again. We’ve all enjoyed having the garden so much that I think we’re going to look to both expand my gardens at my property and our vegetable gardens at Farmhouse.
Now through the end of October you’ll be able to see our homegrown produce on our menus here at Farmhouse. It’s a great time to visit and you won’t be disappointed! Happy farming!!!