Farm Trails News

rainbow over barn

February 2024 Newsletter

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Happy February from Sonoma County Farm Trails! In this newsletter, we feature farm-fresh ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, CSAs and farm specials, and a diverse range of farm-related events to keep you going until the spring. Speaking of spring, be sure to sign up for our annual Blossoms, Bees & Barnyard Babies Spring Tour happening May 4 & 5.

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farm trails new year

Year in Review: 2023

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Much has changed over the past 50 years, but Sonoma County Farm Trails remains committed to promoting farmers and educating the public about the importance of supporting local agriculture. We are honored to be working with our 200-plus members to ensure the economic viability of the agricultural backbone of our social fabric. In this newsletter, we reflect on our collective accomplishments in 2023, and look forward to the next 50 years of cultivating community together.

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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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mulled cider from North Coast

December 7, 2023 Newsletter

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The countdown to Christmas and New Year’s is on! In this issue of our Holidays Along the Farm Trails newsletter, we highlight great last-minute gift ideas plus farm-fresh food and drink for your holiday celebrations and the latest holiday events. Be sure to visit our Holidays Along the Farm Trails online guide for more ways to celebrate the bounty of Sonoma County this season.

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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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santas trees

November 21, 2023 Newsletter

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Happy Thanksgiving! We at Farm Trails give thanks to all of you for your continued support of local agriculture. In this issue of our newsletter, we’re featuring local ways to celebrate Hanukkah along the Farm Trails, top picks for Christmas trees, unique farm-fresh gift ideas, and festive events.

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turkey dinner

November 2023 Newsletter

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Enjoy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve Sonoma County-style with our special Holidays Along the Farm Trails coverage. In this newsletter, we highlight some sources for your Thanksgiving feast plus upcoming member events. 

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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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oak farm pumpkins

October 2023 Newsletter

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Enjoy Fall along the Farm Trails! In the newsletter, we highlight our annual Weekend Along the Farm Trails fall tour, great local pumpkin patches, lots of harvest-related member events, and our Member Spotlights series.

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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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apples at Laura's Apples

September 2023 Newsletter

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As late summer morphs into fall, Sonoma County farms and fields are bursting with crops and beauty! In this month’s newsletter, we feature some of the highlights, including the Apple Trail and harvest events. If you want to experience autumn in full swing, join our Weekend Along the Farm Trails Fall Tour. 

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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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GAF 2023 poster

August 2023 Newsletter

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Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Gravenstein Apple Fair, August 12 & 13. Join us August 12 & 13 at Ragle Park in Sebastopol. Enjoy heirloom Gravenstein apples, farm-inspired cuisine, local cider, wine & beer, live music, arts & crafts vendors, kids’ activities, games, farm fun, VIP area, contests, and more.

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Lavender at Monte Bellaria

July 2023 Newsletter

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Happy Summer! July is in full bloom along the Farm Trails, bursting with seasonal fruit, flowers, and more farm-fresh fun! Here are just some of the highlights you’ll find around the County. 

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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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Map & Guides in the 1970s

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You can tell the dominant crops and themes in Sonoma County during the 1970s by looking at the covers of our iconic Map & Guide from that decade. Farm Trails published its first map in May of 1973, and each spring heralded the arrival of a new edition! The early maps were fold-out guides with members plotted on one large interior map. It wasn’t until 1999 that we created a booklet version that you know today! Here are the covers of the Map & Guide during the 1970s. Enjoy this walk along Memory Lane, er, Farm Trails!

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June 2023 Newsletter

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Celebrate June along the Farm Trails with farm-fresh ideas for Father’s Day, plus the latest member events. Learn news skills at workshops, pick strawberries and flowers, check out the latest farmers’ markets, and go on a summer getaway.

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2023 Map & Guide cover

50th Anniversary Map & Guide

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Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane, er, Farm Trails! In 1973, a group of forward-thinking farmers banded together to bring the public out onto Sonoma County’s farms and ranches. They produced a Map & Guide that laid down the first Farm Trails along which people could meet their farmers and learn more about the origins of their food. Fifty years later, many things have changed, but our guiding vision has remained the same: to keep farms forever in Sonoma County. As part of that mission, we just published our commemorative 50th Anniversary Map & Guide! You can find it…

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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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farm trails team at parade

Farm Trails at the Apple Blossom Parade

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For the first time in at least 15 years, Farm Trails had a float at the Apple Blossom Parade in Sebastopol on April, 29, 2023. The weather was beautiful, the crowd was joyful, and the float was awesome thanks to our creative team! We distributed hundreds of copies of the new Map & Guide and celebrated the Golden Anniversary of both Farm Trails and the Gravenstein Apple Fair. And big news: we won 3rd Place! We’re already looking forward to next year’s parade, and hope to see you there!

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bee on apple blossom

May 2023 Newsletter

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Mother’s Day Along the Farm Trails FARM-FRESH BOUQUETS FROM FULL BLOOM FLOWER FARM: Both Full Bloom Flower Farm stands will be open for self-serve and all offerings are up on our website for delivery. Be sure to preorder online asap; these beautiful, field-grown bouquets will sell out! Farm stands open sun-up to sundown. Or gift Mom a 12-week summer flower CSA subscription. Two stands: 9516 Graton Road, Sebastopol; and 3855 Roblar Road, Petaluma; fullbloomflower.com FIELD-GROWN BOUQUETS FROM REDWOOD HILL FARM – CAPRACOPIA: Known for their dairy goats, Redwood Hill Farm – Capracopia also grows an amazing array of cut flowers…

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apple blossom and bee

May 2023 Newsletter

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It’s a glorious month along the Farm Trails! Go on our Blossoms, Bees & Barnyard Babies Spring Tour. Celebrate Mothers’ Days with farm-fresh food, drink, flowers, gifts, and experiences. And find out about more spring events.

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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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sheep and lambs

April 2023 Newsletter

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Spring has sprung! Sign up for our Blossoms, Bees & Barnyard Babies Spring Tour. Find farm-fresh ways to celebrate Earth Day. And go to an olive oil tasting, plant sales, farmers’ market, and lots more events and experiences to enjoy the season.

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egg sign at farm barn

March 2023 Newsletter

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After a long, rainy winter, Spring is on the way in Sonoma County (we promise!). It will be a beautiful time to get out and about and enjoy all that local agriculture has to offer! Sign up for our spring tour, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with local food and drink, register for summer farm camps, and more.

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pepper heart

February 2023 Newsletter

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February is a wonderful time to fall in love…with all the delicious and beautiful products from local farms and producers! In this month’s newsletter, we offer a curated list of farm-fresh ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day and share the latest offerings and news from the Farm Trails!

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