News from the Farm | November 20, 2023

The storm clouds that had been flirting with us for a week dropping a few drizzles became serious Friday evening. The field activities, cover crop planting and terminating tomato and pepper fields, stopped. We parked tractors and seeders inside and reveled in the feisty winds and the melody of rainfall.

The heavy clouds were generous, releasing 1.5 inches of rain. We’ve been sowing fields with a cover crop mix of pea, vetch, oat, tillage radish, clover, and wheat. Those seeds were thoroughly soaked and settled into finished summer. Earlier in the week we planted onions and the rain also settled the transplanted onion sets into their winter beds. Fields of lettuce, cabbage, greens, potatoes, and leeks were wetted with the clear nourishing rainwater. The farm breathed out a palpable sigh of welcome – opening the pores of the earth, releasing and exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. As the Earth sighed in gratitude, we, this land’s caretakers, did the same.

We have so much to be thankful for here at this small farm. The many goals set for of each day are accomplished by a remarkable crew of seasoned and skilled workers. Last week, while some us were turning over fields and planting cover crops, the rest of a farm was a whirl of activity. While crews were in the fields picking and weeding, we had walnuts being cracked and sorted. Our flower crew was transplanting bulbs and making wreaths with our dried summer flowers. Veggies were being harvested, washed and packed and squash were being cleaned and sorted. Animals were fed and moved; eggs collected, washed, and carefully graded and packed.

There are so many blessings here. What you receive from us as food is a sampling of our work on this generous place by the wonderful crew who tends this land. We seek to live in our best idea of right relationship to production and tenureship. We seek to make human vibrancy a part of ecological vibrancy. We see that we can make flowers bloom in mid-November and provide a Thanksgiving meal for hungry bees- this is a conscious design of feeding the earth to feed and support the plant and animal life above and intertwined thereon.

We plant that we might harvest. The process provides livelihood for more than 80 people here as well as food that nourishes so many. It is neither static nor passive. We exist in active relationship with that which we seek to create- a healthier farm ecosystem where toxins are not part of the tools we choose, where food that we harvest is fed and nourished from healthy soil. Each season offers us the opportunity to hone and learn our skills as we participate in the dynamic systems of heavens, earth and all that reside between those vast and ever-changing horizons.

We have now been on this land practicing our best attempt at right livelihood for nearly 40 years. We have much to learn and extend to others as stories should we be here for 10,000 years as were the Wintun People tenured here for millennium. In the long and winding road where we find ourselves, former hippie types with long hair and the notion of the late 60’s about changing the world, singing a clearer song. What began as a time of protesting – against war; for safer food; for equity and new conversations about race and injustice – became manifest for us in making a farm.  Dru and I were courting and sparking in those early years of the late 70’s and early 1980’s determined to find solutions to rural inequities and the despair wrought from a history of failing farms, rural communities, policies that favored a dismantling of rural places. As we have the power to live, we have the power to create the place in which we do our work. 

Farming, and any long-term relationship with the land, is a sustained practice and acknowledgement of gratitude, wonder, and hope. Our societal priorities were for the past 400 years to move people from their deep connection to place. Whether indigenous peoples or multigenerational farm families, the knowledge and love for a place becomes a resistance to all that may do damage to that place. It starts with love and affection and intimacy with a place and translates to taking a stand and assuming responsibility for caring for that land. 

You as our customers support our stand here to make food more sensible- whether directly with intention or indirectly because you like good, fresh food. It can and should be both at the same time. We are so lucky here and in witnessing the earth’s generosity, try to act accordingly with our own generosity. Each of our crew families will have a turkey and all the produce they need for a full table from the farm again this year Thanksgiving. They will in turn share that harvest with others. 

When we gather here at our own Thanksgiving, when all is set and we are seated together, we join hands and look at all that is before us- the smiling faces, colorful table, the feast prepared; we breathe in the aromas, feel our hands together and make a memory. Then we close our eyes together and hold them closed, thinking of that memory, storing it deep. When we open our eyes together, it will be different- different smiles, eyes alight, wonder and connection. It is our moment together sharing and in the moment. What a treasure in all the world with its complexity and strife to make a beginning point for healing and affection. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Paul Muller