Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farming in California

My husband has been attending a beginning farm program through the University of Missouri. It's a wonderful, intensive 4 module course that helps entrepreneur farmers learn how to develop an idea, write a business plan and network with other farmers. The third module is being held in Petaluma, California and I am fortunate enough to be attending the conference with him.

In fact, that is where I am this very minute...sitting in a hotel, writing a little about our adventures.

Yesterday was a big day full of farm tours around the region. We saw some beautiful farms, met some interesting, funny and opinionated farmers. Our dinner last night was held in the Baker Creek Seed Bank which is in downtown Petaluma - located in a beautiful old bank building. It was a long day and our brains were pumped full of information. It was great!

Here are some photos from our tours.

This is Bob Cannard of Green String Farm. He has an amazing amount of information and experience with regard to natural farming practices. He is passionate about teaching others to farm in a way that is sustainable and provides safe, healthy food for people.

Bob Cannard of Green String Farm

Bob's House

The most beautiful Rosemary hedge I've ever seen. If this had been the only thing I saw on the trip, it would have been totally worth it!

Cowgirl Creamery produces delicious, organic cheese. The cheese in this photo is waiting to be wrapped. All the cheese is wrapped and packed by hand. We got samples of several of their cheeses - it was very yummy!

Tara Firma Farms was the last farm we visited. We met one of the owners, Tara Smith, who was very kind, funny and passionate about healthy food. I found her very inspirational, especially since she is doing a similar kind of farming that Dan and I want to do.  She and her husband also come from non-farming backgrounds and are learning "by the book" (Joel Salatin books). I admire people who aren't afraid to admit they are just in the learning stages. This is a new farm - only two years old- I look forward to seeing how they grow over the next few years.

Happy Pigs

I'm in awe of people who are so willing to share what they know about farming, just because they have such passion for small farms. I think it takes a lot of courage to let a group of strangers from Missouri romp around your farm and let them ask all kinds of probing questions.

I learned a lot yesterday. The tours were informative and inspiring. Most of all, listening to the stories of how people got started, made me just want to get out on the land and start planting! But I'll have to wait until next week, when I'm home. Tomorrow we are discussing writing a business plan and strategic finance. It's not as much fun as learning about composting or seeing baby chicks by the hundreds, but it's necessary, so I guess I'll do it!


Anonymous said...

So cool!!! Love your photos!
-Kerri H.

Laura P said...

Thanks Kerri!