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  • Will Holloway

Newsletter: June 2020

It’s been a minute (years) since we last sent out a farm newsletter… Whoops. Sorry in advance for the lengthiness, and thanks for bearing with me while we catch up. It seems like an odd time to be sending this out with all that is happening in the world, but I want to take some space here to touch base on our views as a business, in addition to an update on what’s happening on the farm, where you can find our produce, and how you can get your hands on our sweet new shirts and hats you’ve been asking for.

First things first: The last time we sent out a newsletter we were still farming on Ludwig Avenue on about an acre and a half of a small market garden. We were also still raising chickens for meat and eggs. How things have changed! In 2017 we purchased Quetzal Farm LLC and assumed their lease on a ten acre Santa Rosa City owned property where we currently farm. The farm moved just down the street to Llano Road at the end of Ludwig Avenue - about a one mile shuffle. We decided to stop raising chickens due to the difficulties with processing and the overwhelming amount of work from the combination of chickens and vegetables. Now we are growing Certified Organic vegetables and flowers for farmers’ markets and wholesale. We have year round employees and a seasonal crew that will be at around ten people at the peak of this season. Since our market garden days, we have acquired tractors and box trucks but we haven’t lost sight of our mission. We are constantly tinkering with our system to reduce tillage, minimize inputs, create habitat, sequester carbon, save labor, and grow beautiful, delicious food.

Now that you’re up to speed: This weekend we will be donating 30% of our total sales from the Healdsburg Farmers Market and the Occidental Community Farmers Market to the Black Family Land Trust and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We are committed to marking this weekend, the first of June, to raise funds for racial justice annually going forward. As farmers, we understand that social and environmental repercussions are inextricably linked. And as humans, we will not stand by while racial discrimination and senseless murder run rampant. We commit to taking a hard look at ourselves and our own inherent biases, educating ourselves on the systemic racism in this country, and listening intently to black and brown voices. The first Occidental Community Farmers Market is TODAY from 4:00-dusk, and Healdsburg Farmers Market is tomorrow morning (Saturday) from 8:30-12:00. Please come out and help us fundraise for this very important cause!

The current health crisis with the coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly affecting you in more than one way. We too have been affected indirectly, but overall we are grateful to have been quite lucky. Our crew is healthy, we have been able to get materials and seed that we need in a timely manner, the plants are growing, the sun is shining, and we have been able to sell what we need to thus far. We have updated and increased our food safety protocols and general sanitation practices while respecting social distancing guidelines and CDC recommendations as individuals, both at and outside of work. Our market stalls look a little different as a result. Customers are not able to handle produce and we encourage people to be efficient while shopping. We are staffing our booths with two employees: one to handle produce exclusively, and the other to process payment. Our customers have not only been respectful and understanding of our new market procedures, they have been showing up and stocking up! Our market sales have increased this season which has been a real relief since a good portion of our sales usually come from larger tech campuses and restaurant accounts. We hope that our friends and partners in the restaurant industry will be back on their feet and thriving ASAP.

In the past four years we have created some incredible partnerships with distributors, grocers, restaurants, caterers, and processors. A majority of our produce goes to these places and you can support the farm by supporting our wholesale customers. F.E.E.D. Sonoma is our local distribution partner. F.E.E.D. supports the local farming community like no other, and has allowed our farm and countless others to be financially and personally sustainable. They recently launched a weekly produce box called the F.E.E.D. Bin that features the best produce from our farming community, allowing you to eat seasonally and support our local food system (including us!) for a steal of a deal. You can also find our produce throughout Bay Area grocery stores, tech campuses, and restaurants thanks to F.E.E.D. and their awesome team. Locally you can find our veggies and flowers at Oliver’s Market, Gravenstein Grill, Whole Foods, INNA Jam products, Community Markets, Red Horse Pizza and many more awesome places!

We have been putting time into our new website, which is far from perfect right now but is operational. On the website you will find some of our latest products like farm grown and ground chili powders and flakes, dried chilies, hats, and shirts! We can ship nationwide but also have a local pickup option at checkout. The shirts are organic cotton, printed by Underrated Moth Arts in Santa Rosa and are oh so soft! The hats are a mesh backed snap fit cap that we find to be durable, and comfortable for working on hot days. The dried chili products are not only a great gift but a pantry staple with a million and one uses. We put the flakes on pasta, powder in dry marinades for the grill, and dried chilies in traditional salsas and moles. Click here to check out our shop >>

Phew! You made it to the end! We will be keeping up on (shorter) newsletters periodically as the season progresses to update you on farmers markets, farm happenings, and to introduce you to our farm crew. Follow us on Instagram to see what we're up to on a much more timely basis. Until then, stay healthy, shop local, and act for what is fair and just.

See you at market this weekend!

Will and the Blue Leg crew

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