I must confess that though I’d happily made arrangements to visit local Love Farms, there was a teeny holdout part of me (the flower fiend, no doubt) that was second guessing opting for a tour of a vegetable farm, even though it is organic. As soon as I emerged from the car those last doubts vanished as I was greeted and completely enchanted by Sheila, an enormous ostrich who was nibbling greens at the edge of a very very large strawberry bed. Hi, Sheila! What a wowzer! [Click on Sheila link to learn of her adventure arriving at Love Farms!]
Apparently I’d arrived at a very opportune moment, as the various gardeners were assembling boxes of freshly harvested vegetables to be trucked into town to the small produce market Love Farms runs, where locals who have signed up for a weekly box would be picking up the week’s produce. Each week the box is different, depending on what is in season. I have seen co-op’s do this in the past, but had never heard of a farm that provided this weekly handy service. What a luxury, and how fun to go through your box and see what was freshest this week for your weekly food calendar!
Locavores will be glad to know that Love Farms only serves their own small town of Healdsburg. So the lucky citizens of this town have access to farm fresh organic produce on a weekly basis, always at the height of season, delivered with minimal energy output. Wow. Not only that, within minutes of my time with Bibiana, I was well assured that Love is not simply the last name of the owners of this wonderful farm. It’s in the produce!
Cucumber and melon seedlings
Bibiana walked me around the various sections of the farm, pointing out the many different crops that were planted, all at various stages of growth. The cucumbers and melons above had just recently been planted from seedlings they had grown in their large greenhouse. Further on was this wonderful stretch of garlic. I found that section to be a very peaceful, lovely corner of the farm.
Right about then a dog, clearly part Border Collie bounded up with half a yellow frisbee in her mouth, and headed straight for me. There is always room in my heart for a Border Collie and I welcomed Tiller’s bouncy good company on our walk.
Tiller–isn’t she cute?
One thing that struck me was the numbers of “weeds” or wildflowers that abounded in between the rows. Some I was well familiar with: mustards in yellow and purple; foxtail (yikes). But one caught my attention as particularly pretty and found myself thinking, “Why can’t I have a pretty weed like that in my garden?” Bibiana must have noticed. She pulled one out of the ground and commented on how beautiful the lamb’s quarter is, and explained to me that people ate this plant as a green during the depression. Fascinating.
We talked, then, about what the top priorities were on Love Farms–to grow expansive, healthy, beautiful plants, and to not fret about weeds or bugs, but to put the focus on good practices, good intentions, and good results. We spoke briefly of biodynamic farming and of Rudolf Steiner, whom her husband reads, and about whom I know a bit, having been involved in Waldorf Schools here and in Europe. I knew I could learn much from these farmers.
“…it is possible after all to come to an understanding of the experience of the spiritual world through one’s soul only if one’s process of thinking has reached such a form that it can attain to the reality of being which is in the phenomena of nature.”
Everywhere I turned rows of beautiful vegetables stretched out before me. It was uplifting to be there. The energy emanating from these plants is exquisite. What a great food source! And how inspiring to do the same! Where to start? Most likely with preparation of the earth.
One tactic being used by Bibiana to enhance the earth on which she is living her wonderful life is through her mobile chicken coop, about which I had read several years ago when I had chickens and was researching their living options. As the earth becomes saturated with the chicken droppings the entire coop is moved to a new location where they continue to enhance the earth. I love this!
As we wrapped up our walk together I reflected on how smart the folks at Love Farms are, and how creative they are at handling their business. They have a retail nursery at the front of the property, along the roadside, where seedlings from their greenhouses as well as large plants are available.
Siobhan selling plants to a customer
I have great respect for Bibiana and Ron Love and Love Farms. They have a fan and a good customer in this blogger, and I hope to learn more from them in the future.
Love and gardening blessings,
Posted on May 2nd, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Field Trips