Love Farms


Sheila

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!]

One of the gardeners in the strawberry bed let me know my host, Bibiana Love, would soon be down from the main house, and sure enough, along she came with a warm welcome.

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.”
–Rudolf Steiner


Spring mix

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

And they have the boxes of veges and loose veges available in town at their produce market, reaching out to downtown customers. Smart!

farm fresh produce (for real!) from Love Farms


luscious, organic strawberries!

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,
Kathryn xoxo

26 Responses to “Love Farms”

  1. How Lovely, mom! How fortunate for Healdsburg, indeed!

    Tiller is adorable!! Love the Steiner quote, as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love you,
    Antonia
    xoxox

  2. Thanks, Antonia! Tiller was a total sweetheart. This was a fun post. I’ll take you there sometime! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. Great photos and commentary on an idea that could be used anywhere in the country. It would be nice to see this concept spread.

  4. Hi, Karen! Yes, I think you right! I would love to see this concept duplicated worldwide. It would be so beneficial in so many ways. Thanks! Kathryn xoxo

  5. Those rows of vegetables were inspiring! Absolutely. And the portable chicken coop? Wow. That was awesome. Wonderful idea. Thanks!

  6. I really enjoyed tagging along on your visit to this great farm. They are inspiring indeed in the love they put into what they do. Thanks for sharing it all!

  7. I’;m moving to Healdsburg! What a wonderful farm. I love the mobile chicken coop, what a great idea. How could you possibly resist Tiller and his battered fribee, adorable.

  8. A nice adventure! Tiller looks like a twin of my Gypsy Girl, same markings, build, ears, attitude; probably not a Border Collie but a field-bred Springer Spaniel.

  9. Good morning, Red Clover! Yes. There is a formal name for the portable chicken coop. Perhaps someone can recall for me…The entire farm is an inspiration. I can’t wait to see how that manifests in my kitchen garden! Kathryn xoxo

  10. Welcome, Greenish Lady. I’m delighted you enjoyed the visit! Kathryn xoxo

  11. Hi, Cyd! Tiller was definitely one of the high points! Very funny dog! Kathryn xoxo

  12. Hi, Dick! Good eye! Tiller is half Border Collie and half Springer Spaniel! You will have to email me a current photo of Gypsy! I remember her as svelte! Kathryn xoxo

  13. What a wonderful post! Coincidently, my husband heard Michael Krasny talking about something similar recently. Maybe this concept is catching on. Thank you for turning us on to Love Farms!

  14. Hi, Kathlene! Thanks! I do think the green movement is going to have a profound effect on how we do biz, thank goodness! We better dig out Small is Beautiful again! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  15. Rural people in Oklahoma still eat lamb’s quarter and poke sallet too for that matter. I find it all over my garden some years. It is very nutritious, but I’ve never eaten it. I love that the farm supplies their local area. Cool-a-rama.~~Dee

  16. Hi, Dee! ๐Ÿ™‚ Well now I’m very curious. Do you steam it or do you add to salads? I must google. I kinda wish I’d tried it while there. I was drawn to it. Thanks for sharing that piece of information. And happy for your visit! Kathryn xoxo

  17. What a great farm – I wish them luck in their endevours. Our local organic farm is much smaller, but doing well. We also have a couple of organic meat farms, a llama farm and a buffalo farm that produces mozarella cheese as well as the most gorgeous tasting meat – but it is a bit of a surprise the first time you see the buffalo poking their heads over the wall!

  18. Good morning, Liz! I think it’s admirable that you are familiar with the local farm scene. I’m not sure we all are. This blog is expanding my knowledge of my own county and adjacent counties. I’m guessing there are many resources in our midsts we might not be taking advantage of. One of the elements of the success of these endeavors is a good marketing effort–not always the forte of farmers of various kinds, I’m thinking. Hopefully Plant Whatever Brings You Joy will inspire us to expand our outreach and support of such wonderful undertakings. Sounds like you do! Buffalo? I think they are here somewhere. They USED to be. This is California. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the visit and input. Kathryn xoxo

  19. Everyone, the farmers, the chickens, even the ostrich looks so happy in these photos. And no wonder — they are producing beautiful stuff!

  20. Hi,JGH! Welcome! Yes, I think you are very right. It’s a happy place to be! Kathryn xoxo

  21. Kathryn – Wonderful post. Delicious! In our corner of western Massachusetts we have a number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms that sound similar to yours. Partners buy a share for a given amount – $4-700 or so which means they share the risk that all farmers carry. Some farms have eggs, cheese, raw milk, and yogurt as well. All the joys of farm fresh food every week, and none of the work. Although some CSAs allow you to volunteer at the weeding.

  22. Hi, Commonweeder and thank you! I will have to research the program you are talking about. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that before! Good for MA for being innovative! I’ve always thought it a pity (with all the land we have in this country!) that we don’t follow the UK or Russia’s leads on making small plots of land available to people who just want to grow their own food. Maybe one of the upsides of this crunch will be precisely that! Let’s hear if for The Allotment! ๐Ÿ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

  23. Hi Kathryn. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog in my search for the mystery tomatillo plant. It’s really a pleasure reading your stories and seeing the bright and sunny pictures. I’m especially taken by this post and the story of Love Farms. What a magnificent place!

    Thank you also for stopping by my blog; I’m glad that you were able to find it via the link to your picture. I’ve added your blog to my list of blogs I follow, and am looking forward to seeing more.
    ~Kim

  24. Hi, Kim! Welcome! I appreciate the visit and the kind words and knowing you plan to come back! Thank you so much! Kathryn xoxo

  25. I’m all about love, dear Kathryn … every weed is a flower and beauty is in the eye of the beholder! So enjoy field trips beside you ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Hi, dear Joey! So glad to share the journey with you, you wonderful woman! Kathryn xoxo

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