Member Spotlight

Betty Carr and son

Betty Carr, Mom’s Apple Pie

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On the edge of an 8-acre apple orchard, aptly located on the Gravenstein Highway in Sebastopol, sits Mom’s Apple Pie. Since starting business in 1983, Betty “Mom” Carr has seen some changes occur at her little pie shop. Mom began selling apple pies at the urging of her late husband, Harry, to supplement income from their Sonoma County apple orchard and roadside stand. In the beginning, Mom would bake and sell one apple pie per day. Now she offers a variety of 16 fruit and cream pies, and sells many more a day. However, one thing hasn’t changed — Mom’s…

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Susan Kegley at Bees N Blooms

Susan Kegley, Bees N Blooms

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Known largely for the photogenic lavender labyrinth overlooking the Santa Rosa Plain, Bees N Blooms is on a mission that goes far beyond this one focal point. An 11-acre certified organic farm, Bees N Blooms was founded in 2016 by Susan Kegley and her husband, Geoff, with an objective to transform a former dairy farm into a refuge for beneficial pollinators—and ultimately a sanctuary for humans as well. Susan’s background as a PhD chemist and founder of the Pesticide Research Institute has inspired and informed the creation of the farm. She, Geoff, and staff are demonstrating healthier, organic agricultural practices…

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Pandora Thomas

Pandora Thomas, EARTHseed Farm

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EARTHseed Farm is a 14-acre solar-powered organic farm and orchard located on the ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo Peoples in Sebastopol. The farm’s name was inspired by Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower series.  With the permission and blessings of Graton Rancheria Tribe, the farm is operated and rooted in AfroIndigenous permaculture principles, and built on the long legacy of earth wisdom traditions of people of African descent. Permaculture is a relationship-based ecological design system embedded in indigenous wisdom that elevates ecosystem health while meeting human needs.  In this Member Spotlight, we chat with Founder and…

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Arden Bucklin-Sporer at Oak Hill Farm with her dog

Arden Bucklin-Sporer, Oak Hill Farm

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Farm Trails member since 1980 Oak Hill Farm, 15101 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen | oakhillfarm.net  With its iconic red barn, picturesque fields of flowers and vegetables, and stunning setting against the Mayacamas Mountains, Oak Hill Farm looks like the quintessential Sonoma Valley farm. But its roots go deeper than its agricultural splendor, as the 700-acre ranch on the eastern side of the Valley of the Moon is a landmark in the open space preservation movement. The farm dates back to 1965, when Otto and Anne Teller first started raising sheep, then turned to flowers and eventually adding produce, prioritizing organic…

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Adam Parks

Adam Parks, Victorian Farmstead Meat

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Farm Trails member since 2014 | Victorian Christmas Tree Farm – Farm Trails charter members in 1973  | Community Market Butcher Shop at The Barlow, 6762 Sebastopol Ave. #100, Sebastopol | vicfarmmeats.com For Adam Parks, owner of Victorian Farmstead Meat Company, Farm Trails is in his blood—quite literally! His grandparents were charter members of Farm Trails in 1973, and Adam appeared on the cover of the 1977 Farm Trails Map & Guide. Still, Adam did not plan on following in his ancestors’ footsteps until a financial disaster forced him to relocate to the family farm. From there, Adam created a…

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Brian Sullivan in the peach orchard

Gayle & Brian Sullivan, Dry Creek Peach

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Farm Trails member since 1990 | 2179 Yoakim Bridge, Healdsburg | drycreekpeach.com It’s one of the iconic rituals of summer in Sonoma County. No, not floating the Russian River. But refreshing the Dry Creek Peach Facebook page for the announcement of the first harvest of the season, and then lining up early to get the prized peaches before they sell out. Because they will sell out. Since purchasing the Healdsburg farm in 2000, owners Gayle and Brian Sullivan have taken an unassuming peach orchard set in a sea of vineyards and transformed it into a nationally lauded institution, beloved by…

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Misty and Jon Gray with their cattle herd

Jon & Misty Gay, Freestone Ranch

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For the past few years, “regenerative” has become a buzzword in agriculture, as farmers and ranchers look to move beyond so-called sustainable and even organic practices. The goal of regenerative agriculture is to foster a more holistic growing ecosystem by building and preserving soil health, among other ecological practices such as no-till and rotational grazing, for maximal benefit to the farmer, the community, and the environment. The focus is on reciprocity and abundance, not extraction and consumption. And for Jon and Misty Gay of Freestone Ranch, regenerative agriculture is truly a way of life. In this Member Spotlight, we visit…

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Stephenie Chow picking flowers

Stephenie Chow, Poppies & Petals Farm

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Every person’s journey to farming is unique, but perhaps none more so than that of Stephenie Chow, owner of Poppies & Petals Farm in Santa Rosa. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she was born in Germany, moved to Canada when she was 10, attended school in Washington State and college in California, worked as a civil servant in Paris and  in corporate banking in Hong Kong, before moving to San Francisco to work for a major startup, until the tech bubble burst and she pivoted to her own home accessory business and art gallery. After meeting her husband, David, she…

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Jennifer Bice, Redwood Hill Farm — Capracopia

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The history of Sonoma County agriculture is filled with a similar theme: Tired of city life, folks go back to the land, relearn lost skills, and raise animals. Through a combination of good timing, risk taking, and innovation, they create a successful business for the next generation to shepherd.  Such is the story of Redwood Hill Farm — Capracopia. One of the earliest members of Farm Trails — they originally joined in 1974 — this pioneering goat farm has evolved with the times but always kept its footing firmly planted in Sebastopol, and in the hands of the Bice family.…

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Alissa Trinei at Manzana

Alissa Trinei, Manzana Products Co./North Coast Organic

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Wind your way through West Sonoma County, and you’ll notice the area’s apple heritage on strong display. Orchards dot hillsides and line rural roads. Street signs bear the names Gravenstein, Apple Blossom, Candy Apple, and so forth. Two of the largest events in Sebastopol are the Apple Blossom Festival and Farm Trails’ very own Gravenstein Apple Fair. Indeed, the seal of the City of Sebastopol features a Gravenstein. However, the apple industry has also endured formidable economic challenges over the decades, as orchards and apple processors have given way to vineyards and other development. But all is not lost. On…

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Wendy with goats

Wendy Krupnick, Chiatri de Laguna Farm

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Ask anyone in the agricultural space in Sonoma County if they know Wendy Krupnick, and the answer will likely be a resounding “Yes!” A longtime resident of the county, Wendy is an environmental activist, seed saver, educator, volunteer, and community builder. She also owns and operates Chiatri de Laguna Farm in Santa Rosa, on the grounds of the former D. Grossi Egg Ranch (a charter member of Farm Trails), and is the volunteer coordinator for Farm Trails’ annual fundraiser, the Gravenstein Apple Fair. An indefatigable advocate for local sustainable agriculture, Wendy has inspired countless people, including all of us at…

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