Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Sonoma-Marin Farm News - 2015

Farm News

Below, are highlighted articles that were published in Farm News from January 2015 - December 2015. To view, click on the cover below to navigate to the articles.

Note: Not all the articles that were in each publication made it online, so if you are looking for another article please contact Farm Bureau and ask, 707-544-5575.

 

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December - 2015

June 2015

Not About the Blue Ribbon: Agriculture Program at Hanna Boys Center Teaches Responsibility and Personal Triumph

It’s easy to take having pets for granted, but not everyone comes from a background where this is possible. Last summer, seven students had the opportunity to raise and sell market lambs at the Sonoma County Fair. Of these seven students, only two had ever had a pet and none had ever worked with livestock.

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The Key to Success

Farm Bureau is an organization solely because of your membership, making you a vital part of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau is people – farmers and ranchers, property owners, agricultural enthusiasts in rural, suburban and urban areas. Roughly 3,000 families belong to Farm Bureau in Sonoma County. 

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A Year of Succes

As I am writing this I can’t believe a year has already gone by as president of this organization. No doubt the busier you are the faster time goes by and that could not be truer this year. As I look back on what we have accomplished, I could not be more proud of our organization. One of accomplishments is hitting our annual membership goal set by the state Farm Bureau.

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Students Visit Dutton Ranch to Learn About Agriculture

Agricultural education is important to students of all ages. From younger children realizing apples are hand-picked to older students understanding how organic differs from conventional farming, there is always something for students to learn.

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Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Citrus Balsamic Glaze

Three of our favorite ingredients inspired this dish, thyme, citrus, and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar reduction has a sweet and tangy flavor that goes great with the pork. The aromas of the dish cooking will fill your home with fantastic smells! Enjoy this dish with friend and family!

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Sunridge Nurseries, Committed to Customers and Community, Joins Farm Bureau at the Premium Member Level

Sunridge Nurseries is a family owned business started in 1977 by Glen Stoller. Despite that the business has grown exponentially in the last 38 years, the business is still family owned by Stoller, and his son, Craig, who is now Sunridge’s CEO.

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Premium Members Gather to Discuss Sonoma County Agriculture

On November 6, Premium Members of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau gathered at Balletto Vineyards for an evening of fine wine and conversations surrounding Sonoma County agriculture. The intimate crowd had the opportunity to meet executive director Kim Vail. New to Sonoma County, Vail had the chance to meet the county’s most influential agricultural producers at the mixer.

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Equine Guided Education: Team Building and Leadership with Horses

A trained zoologist, Ariana Strozzi has always been passionate about animals and has worked with all types of exotics and livestock. Strozzi began her career as a horse trainer and riding instructor in the 1980’s, but over time her path led her to something other than horsemanship, a form of working with people and horses called Equine Guided Education or EGE.

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November - 2015

June 2015

Sonoma County Agriculture Welcomes Young Entrepreneurs: Jamie Mickelson Launches Sonoma Mountain Beef Company

Many people associate farming with an older generation, and they’re not wrong: the average age of an American famer is 57. But Sonoma County has many opportunities for younger people to become involved in agriculture and launch their own brand. Jamie Mickelson, 26, has been involved in the agriculture industry her whole life.

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New Beginnings

Early this summer I placed a phone call to John Azevedo to inquire about a leadership position his county Farm Bureau was interested in filling. Little did we know then that conversations to follow would lead to a new position, in a new county, in a new state? What an amazing chain of events that have transpired and resulted in Sonoma County Farm Bureau placing their trust in a Midwestern farm boy to shepherd the programs, policies and activities that promote agriculture and its valuable connection to the economy of Sonoma County.

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Ag Issues Facing Sonoma County

One of the things that came to mind for this month’s article is the hiring of our Executive Director, Kim Vail. I know there was an article in last month’s Farm News welcoming him and highlighting some of his background so I will not be redundant. That said I am very excited to have him here at Sonoma County Farm Bureau and look forward to working with him in the coming years. We searched long and far for someone with his qualifications and could not be happier to have him as part of our Farm Bureau family.

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Tomorrow’s Leaders Today Students Learn About Local Perspectives and Opportunities Through Agriculture Tours

October was agriculture month for students of the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (TLT) program. The Sonoma County Farm Bureau planned and hosted three agriculture tours on October 5th, 12th and 26th. The first two tours hosted high school students from Santa Rosa City Schools and the third tour included students from West County Schools; each tour presented aspects of agriculture to approximately 40 students.

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Cauliflower Au Gratin

This side dish made our sister Kathryn love cauliflower but who wouldn’t love this comforting side dish. The rich cheeses and half and half are a splurge but with Thanksgiving coming up its perfect to serve alongside your turkey!

 

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For The Love of Farming: Six People Spanning Two Generations Have Always Found Their Way Back to Agriculture

The Martinelli family’s winery and tasting room is a distinct set of red buildings just off River Road that were originally hop barns dating back to the 1880s. Inside, the tasting room is full of history. Through the renovation of the old building they have saved the historic wooden interior walls inscribed with the former worker’s century-old signatures and graffiti.  An old hop baler still sits as a centerpiece in the middle of the room to remind visitors of the building’s original function.

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Brandt Insurance Your Resourceful Insurance Agent with
Hometown Customer Service

Brandt Insurance was started in 1962 by Milt Brandt. After contracting polio he was looking for a job that didn’t require physical labor, and Milt Brandt launched the business still owned and operated by the Brandt family in Healdsburg.

 

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Goji Berries Provide New Opportunities for Sonoma County Agriculture

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are a small red berry that originated in China. They are thought to have been brought to the United States more than 150 years ago by workers of the transcontinental railroad and many of the plants ended up in Utah. The berries are known for their rich nutritional value and have been associated with various health benefits.

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October - 2015

June 2015

Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture: Bob and Shirley Dempel

For Bob and Shirley Dempel, agriculture has been the essence of their life. Their livelihoods, their friends, their careers and everything in between has revolved around agriculture. It comes as no surprise that the Sonoma County Harvest Fair presented Bob and Shirley Dempel with the award for Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture.

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Kim Vail, Joins SCFB as Executive Director

Kim Vail of Indiana has been hired as the new executive director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Vail will assume his role at one of the county's largest and most influential agricultural organizations on October 5th. Sonoma County Farm Bureau represents nearly 3,000 family farmers, ranchers, rural landowners and agricultural businesses in Sonoma County.

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Sharing Water to Save Fish

Hopefully by the time next month’s article is penned, we will have even more evidence that the El Nino conditions forming in the Pacific will deliver much needed relief to Sonoma County – and all of California. Heavy rains will go a long way in calming the fears of many and perhaps quiet the voices of those who claim that agriculture is in large part responsible for our water woes. 

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Sweet Lane Wholesale Nursery Offers More Than 1,200 Varieties of Plants to Contractors and Landscapers

Ed Grossi has a background in organic farming growing strawberries and pumpkins while his wife Susie Sweet who was a flight attendant has a passion for landscaping; together they’ve turned their home into a successful wholesale nursery, event site and beautiful oasis. 

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Pumpkin Smores Galette

This is our idea of the ultimate fall recipe! The warm chocolate and toasted marshmallow already taste amazing but add roasted pumpkin pieces that are covered in maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice and you have something special. It’s easy to make and easier to eat, all your friends will love helping you make this fall treat.

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Preparing Producers for the El Nino Winter

What’s all the hype about El Nino? As of late September, surface waters in portions of the eastern tropical region of the Pacific Ocean were over 4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal, making for some of the strongest El Nino conditions on record.  Because we have seen big rains come during El Nino events, many are speculating an epic rain year is on its way. But is it?

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With More Than 1,000 Dairy Cows, 1,000 Chickens and 30 Varieties of Pumpkins, the McClelland Family Has Successfully Diversified

Businesses are always challenged with being innovative and developing new cash flows. This is particularly true in the dairy industry which has faced a mountain of challenges in the past and seen a lot of family dairies sell their herds. McClelland Dairy in the Two Rock Valley has found many ways to innovate and diversify their dairy business.

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Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hires Marisa Ruffoni as Fall Intern

Marisa Ruffoni, a student at Santa Rosa Junior College, has been selected as the Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s fall intern. As an intern, Ruffoni will have the opportunity to learn about the agriculture industry, the Farm Bureau organization and how the Sonoma County Farm Bureau works with the community to advocate for agriculture.

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September - 2015

June 2015

All About Apples: The Devoto Family Grows More Than 100 Varieties of Apples for Cider Production

It’s all about the apples. At the Devoto family’s orchards this is something you’ll hear the entire family say. From apple farming to cider making everything starts with quality in the orchard. Devoto Gardens was started by Stan and Susan Devoto in 1976 when they moved from Berkley to Sebastopol. Susan’s passion was growing cut flowers while Stan was interested in growing crops.

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Sonoma County’s Revised Water Well Construction Ordinance

Sonoma County has updated its water well construction standards ordinance for the first time since 1978. The revised ordinance focuses on standards for well construction, abandonment, destruction, setbacks, prohibitions, and water treatment for contaminated wells.

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Bring It On…

Turn the clock back fifty years and we would not be engaged in a debate about green-washing.  At that time most people didn’t think about reducing their green-house gas emissions, conserving water or implementing “sustainable” practices on their working lands. 

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82 Awards Presented at the Annual Sonoma County Fair Awards Dinner

The annual Sonoma County Fair awards dinner, sponsored by Sonoma County Farm Bureau, was held on August 5th. Eighty two awards were presented to young, bright members of the 4-H and FFA, the next generation of Sonoma County’s agriculture leaders.

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Heirloom Cherry Tomato Pappardelle Pasta

This recipe is the perfect end of summer pasta; fresh tomatoes, herbs, and cheese; what could be better? Switch it up by using tarragon or thyme instead of basil. We can’t wait to pack this for a great lunch, hot or cold!

 

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Western Farm Center: A City-fied Country Store

Brothers Lou and Larry Bertolini started Western Farm Center in 1967 after the Carnation Company closed their retail store. They took over the building near Railroad Square from the Barlas Mill and opened Western Farm Center to meet the needs of customers who had previously purchased from the Carnation Company.

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2015 Gravenstein Apple Fair: Eat Fresh, Buy Local

On August 8th and 9th, Sonoma County Farm Bureau attended the Gravenstein Apple Fair at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol. The Gravenstein Apple Fair is put on by Sonoma County Farm Trails and showcases apples grown in Sonoma County as well as all types of apple products from pies and fritters to jams and caramel apples. The fair was family-oriented with a hay-maze for children, numerous crafts and a Life on the Farm Area.

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Farewell to a Former President

On July 23 2015, past president of the Marin County Farm Bureau, Joseph “Joey” Mendoza Jr., passed away peacefully after a battle with cancer. Joey was the third generation in his family to operate a dairy on the Point Reyes Peninsula. Joey, a lifelong dairyman, was known for all the time that he spent advocating for the dairy industry in particular and agriculture in general.

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August - 2015

June 2015

Love of the Land: More Than 1200 People Gather to Celebrate Sonoma County Agriculture

Celebrating stewards of the land, community members met at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor to attend Farm Bureau’s Love of the Land on Thursday, July 16th. Featuring local wine, cheese and food, the reception was filled with government officials and prominent community members who all share a passion for Sonoma County agriculture and the land on which it thrives.

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Count Not on Your Wells but on Your Action

WELLS have been the most reliable source of water. However, with drought and the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), we would no longer be able to count on our wells for our survival.

 

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Thank you Tim

As many of you know the Sonoma County Farm Bureau is in the process of saying goodbye to executive director Tim Tesconi. Tim announced his desire to retire earlier this year and we have been in the process of recruiting a new face to step into his shoes.

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Historical and Authentic, the Kunde Family is Ready for the Future

Kunde Family Winery is known for their authenticity. Their first crush was in 1904, and they’re one of the oldest bonded wineries in California, using bond number 202, which was first put to use by their Great Grandfather Louis Kunde in the early 1900’s. Now, the fourth and fifth generation of Kundes are successfully carrying on the Kunde Family Legacy.

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Multi Grain Panzanella Salad

This salad is a great way to celebrate all that is growing in the garden at this time of year! Taking inspiration from the Italian salad, we changed it up a little; instead of fried bread cubes, we baked ours for that nice crunch. We hope you enjoy!

 

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Innovative and Dog Friendly, Vineyard Industry Products is a Thriving Sonoma County Business

The concept of Vineyard Industry Products came about in the early 70’s when Paul Downer was selling t-posts from the trunk of his car. By the late seventies, Paul and Laraine Downer were working out of the spare bedroom of their house and had six phone lines running to the room. They officially started Vineyard Industry Products in 1979.

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Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Preparing Me for a Better Tomorrow

Being a Sonoma County girl, I love agriculture. From my mom and dad’s vineyard, to my grandfather’s horses, to my eleven years showing in 4-H, agriculture has been a huge part of my life. I’ve grown up with amazing mentors.  My parents, 4-H leaders, my instructors at Santa Rosa Junior College, and the staff at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau have all inspired me to work hard at both my education and job and success will follow.

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Committed to Gravensteins: The Walker Family Has Been Growing Apples For 105 Years

Walker Apples began in 1910 when Arthur Upp planted an Orchard in Graton. Now, the apple orchard is run by his grandson, Lee Walker, and great grandson, Lee Walker III.
In 1963, the Walker family built their processing and packing facility. Lee Walker reminisces back to the 70’s when there were 32 packing places in Sonoma County. Now, Walker Apples is one of a few apple packing facilities in the county.

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July - 2015

June 2015

Smitten with Worms: Jack Chambers and the Sonoma Valley Worm Farm

Jack Chambers was a commercial airline pilot for 33 years, but four years ago he quit flying to focus more on his second business, a worm farm. When Chambers retired from flying in 2011, he had already owned the Sonoma Valley Worm Farm for almost 20 years. Chambers has been juggling two careers as he flew around the world for Delta Airlines and managed his growing business on the side.

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Farm Bureau Golf Tournament Raises Funds for Agriculture Education

Sonoma County Farm Bureau hosted its 14th annual Golf Tournament benefiting agricultural education on Friday, June 12th. It was a beautiful day on the greens at Windsor Golf Club in Windsor. There were more than 144 players on 36 teams feverously attacking the course in the scrabble format to see whose team would come out on top.

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A New Chapter

Sonoma County Farm Bureau will soon hire a new Executive Director, likely someone from the next generation eager to lead us into the future. It will be a person who begins each day by Tweeting and posting on Facebook. But it also will be someone rooted in agriculture who knows which end of a cow gets up first or which end of the grapevine goes into the ground.

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Friend of Farm Bureau

Agriculture in Sonoma County is ever changing. Just as many of our farms have changed what we grow and raise, we also slowly see a change in the farmers and farm families in our county. There are legacy families that have farmed here for over a century, but most of us have roots that date back decades.

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2015 Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers And Ranchers Clay Shoot

The Second Annual Sporting Clays Shoot took place at Wing & Barrel Ranch on May 30th. This event was not only an amazingly fun event but was super successful as well! Tickets sold out a week before the event and 150 people showed up for shooting followed by a gourmet lunch prepared by the Young Farmers and Ranchers.

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Miss Sonoma County: Challenging Herself to Be the Best She Can

For Athena Brattin-Cain, life is about challenging herself to do more and being involved in something bigger than herself. She recently graduated Elsie Allen High School and throughout her time there, she has challenged herself in every way she could.

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Premium Membership: Francis Ford Coppola Winery Focuses on Grower Relations and Quality in the Vineyard

When most people think about Francis Ford Coppola Winery, they think about the restaurant, Rustic, the pool or the film director who started the winery. Even those thinking about the wine don’t often realize that Coppola relies heavily on its grower relations team and the network they’ve built across the state with vineyard owners. 

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BoDean Company: Supporting the Industry That Supports Them

BoDean was started by Dean and Belinda Soiland. “Bo” and “Dean” were combined to make the singular name now associated with asphalt and aggregate materials such as base rock in Sonoma County. approximately 40% of their end users are agricultural companies and they strive to support the industry.

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Seasonal Pita Pizza

Inspired by all of the fresh veggies (and fruit) growing in our garden, we have created this seasonal pizza! So chances are you’ll be able to find the ingredients easily in your garden and local farmers market. We like to serve this as a starter at summer gatherings and you can also make it on the grill or pizza oven! We hope you enjoy!

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2014 Sonoma County Crop Report Released

On June 24, Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner, Tony Linegar, presented the 2014 crop report. The total value for 2014 crops was $899,015,400, a 6% increase from 2013. The number reflects the gross production values, not net income or costs of production and marketing.

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June - 2015

June 2015

Sangiacomo Family, Passionate About Agriculture and Family

It would be hard to find a family that represents the phrase “family business” better than the Sangiacomos who own and manage Sangiacomo Family Vineyards in Sonoma. As third generation Sonoma County farmers, Steve, Mike and Mia have successfully taken over the family grape growing business from their father Angelo, Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Buck. Their goal? To pass on their love of farming and passion for the wine industry to one or more of their seven children, the fourth generation of Sangiacomos.

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Farm Bureau Foundation Awards $130,000 in Scholarships to Top Agriculture Students in Sonoma and Marin Counties

The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County has awarded more than $130,000 in scholarships to 36 agriculture students from Sonoma and Marin counties. It’s the largest scholarship pay-out since the Farm Bureau Foundation was established in 2006, reflecting the tremendous generosity of donors who want to support and develop the next generation of agricultural leaders.

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Goodbye, for now, to Sonoma Compost

It was an incredibly sad day for many of us when county officials closed down Sonoma Compost, an iconic, green business that has played a pivotal role in Sonoma County agriculture’s move to sustainable farming. Sonoma County would not be the internationally recognized leader in sustainable agriculture it is today if not for Sonoma Compost.

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Farm and Fish Survival

It is fair to say that just about everyone in Sonoma County, and indeed the State of California, has developed a heightened awareness about our water challenges. Water is so treasured and so essential that people in our County and across the State are quickly mobilizing to conserve this precious resource. From my perspective, agriculture in Sonoma County can, and must, play a key role in developing solutions for a sustainable water future.

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Jennifer Beretta Joins Farm Bureau’s Board Of Directors

Fourth generation Sonoma County dairy farmer Jennifer Beretta strives to keep the dairy and agriculture industries viable in Sonoma County. Beretta recently showed interest in joining the Farm Bureau board, and was unanimously elected at the April 14th meeting.

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Stone Fruit and Arugula Salad with Cherry Lime Vinaigrette

Stone fruit is in season and it turns out that summer is just around the corner! Inspired by this we wanted to make a bright, light salad to kick off the season. Made with yellow peaches, white nectarines and cherries. It has a gorgeous color and even better taste with the cherry lime vinaigrette. The fruit is definitely the star of the show with this salad. It is great served alongside your favorite BBQ, use any extra vinaigrette over grilled fish and chicken.

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Soiland: Building Relationships and Supporting the Community

Soiland as a pipeline contractor in 1962. Marv was born in San Francisco, but raised in Santa Rosa and surrounded by agriculture. Marv started Soiland with $3,000 and rented a backhoe. Today at 88 years old, he still has the first check he received for $800.

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Premium Membership: Seghesio Celebrates 120 Years of Being Family Run

Seghesio Family Vineyards was established by Edoardo and Angela Seghesio in 1895, producing their first vintage in 1902. Their passion was farming and winemaking, and Angela continued to make wine after Edoardo passed.Ned Neumiller is now part of the 5th generation running the family business.

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Sonoma County Seeks Pasture Land for Rescued Animals

Sonoma County Animal Services is seeking privately owned pasture land as well as chicken coops to temporarily house livestock and poultry. The housing of animals could be anything from a few weeks to a few months. Sonoma County Animal Services is asking the public for anything they can offer or any ideas they might have.

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May - 2015

May 2015

Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery, Growing Environmental Awareness

It could easily be called the Institution of Organic & Sustainable Farming & Gardening, a revered center of learning that upholds an environmental ethic while helping growers produce crops the natural way. But, of course, everyone knows it as Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery, the iconic farm and garden business on a leafy campus along Gravenstein Highway North in Sebastopol.  

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Building Bridges: Paul Martin’s Service to the Agriculture Industry

From dairy farmer to Deputy Director for the governor, Paul Martin has done it all. Martin has been unsuccessful in retiring since 2012 with his first retirement lasting 53 days and his second in 2014 lasting 127 days. Martin’s failure to retire shows just how dedicated he is to the dairy industry and agriculture.

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Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hosts First Premium Member Luncheon

On Friday April 10th, 24 guests joined the Sonoma County Farm Bureau for a Premium Member luncheon at Dutton Lake. Guests mingled before lunch with Congressman Mike Thompson, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger and Farm Bureau staff.

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Ag Event or Not?

The topic du jour right now in Sonoma County is around ag events and the county’s struggle to define what is and what is not an “ag event.” Most of the concerns are with events at wineries and tasting rooms. But the term ag event raises concerns for me about what this will mean for agricultural operations other than wineries and the repercussions on those farming enterprises.

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A Salute to Two Ag Heroes

It’s been a year since David Evans of Marin Sun Farms took over the Rancho slaughterhouse, transforming the closed-down operation into a high-quality slaughter and meat processing plant. Under Evans’ ownership, the old slaughter facility on Petaluma’s northern edge has been revived and refocused.

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Premium Membership: Kevin Barr Has Been Growing a Successful Business Since 1983

Kevin Barr started Redwood Empire Vineyard Management (REVM) in 1983. His wife, Linda joined him in 1991, and his partner, Tyler Klick joined them in 2006. He had the entrepreneurial spirit and knew he wanted to work in Sonoma County. Barr is a fourth generation Marin County resident while Linda is a fourth generation Sonoma County farmer and Tyler is a third generation Mendocino County resident.

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Premium Membership: Mark and Jenny Sanchietti Strive to Support Their Family and Employees

Sanchietti Farming Incorporated might sound like a large corporation, but in truth it’s a family run operation. Husband and wife duo, Mark and Jenny Sanchietti, are the sole owners of the business and on any given day you might find their two young children Mason and Meritt running around their office.

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Connie Jones is New District 3 Dairy Princess

18 year old Santa Rosan, Connie Jones was crowned District 3 Dairy Princess on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall. The current senior at Petaluma High School will serve as the spokesperson for the Dairy Industry and represent local farmers and producers in Lake, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Mendocino counties.

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Banana Wraps

I know the recipe title is all about Easter…but, I really wanted to share this recipe with you not only because I think it would be great for Brunch, it is also a spinoff of my highest scoring dessert from the www.WorldFoodChampionships.com.

 

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Andy’s Produce: Taking Care of their Community Because the Community Takes Care of Them

Andy’s Produce has been operating for more than 50 years. Off Gravenstein Highway in Sebastopol, many longtime residents have seen them grow from a small produce and fruit stand to a large diversified open air market.

 

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April - 2015

April 2015

More than 4,500 Students Attend Ag Days

More than 4,500 students in Kindergarten through 6th grade attended Ag Days at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on March 17th and 18th. This event combines more than 30 exhibitors who donate their time to educate today’s students about agriculture. Ranging from live chickens, calves to pet and horse demonstrations to information about milk, soil, power and healthy living, every aspect of Sonoma County agriculture was represented.   

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Bee Friendly: Singing Frogs Farm Your Local No-Till CSA

It’s clear Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser love what they do. Paul pulls weeds as he talks about his no-till farming practices and his wife Elizabeth wipes dirt off their five-year-old daughter Anna’s face. Their son, Lucas, 7, produces a plant to show his family before running back toward the row crops.

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Russian River Frost Protection

In September of 2014, Governor Brown signed legislation mandating that local agencies, across the State of California, create Sustainable Groundwater Management Plans.   How did this happen? Well, all the wishing, hoping and even praying by farmers wasn’t enough to gather the storm clouds needed to end California’s four-year drought.

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Growing Farms and Farmers

Lynn Steindorf Esposti of Healdsburg knows the pitfalls of farming but says the urge to farm is in her DNA, compelling her to grow crops and livestock against all the odds.  After all, Lynn’s ancestors have farmed for at least eight generations in Europe, California and here in Sonoma County where she grew up raising hogs as a 4-H Club member in Healdsburg. Farming is something she yearns to do too, even if it’s on a part-time basis, working around her full-time job as a business professional.

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Korbel Signs on as Farm Bureau’s Newest Premium Member

Started by three brothers in 1882, Korbel has been a locally owned family business for more than 130 years. The Heck family purchased the property from the Korbel Brothers in 1954, keeping the operation and ownership local.

 

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SMaSHeD Cauliflower & Spud Casserole

I’m not sure what I Luv most about this recipe…the fact that it comes together so easily and can be made ahead of time or that it tastes soooo delicious!!! This would make a great side dish for Easter dinner, pairing nicely with a Leg of Lamb or Easter Ham. 

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Experienced Winemaker Steve Bell Establishes Campana Ranch Winery

Bell started his winery in 2011, but he wasn’t new to the wine industry. He’s been making wine since 1980 and has extensive experience in the industry. After working for Charles Krug and Freemark Abbey, Bell started as a Vineyard Manager for Beringer Vineyards in 1990 where he worked until 2009. Between 2009 and 2011, Bell was a private vineyard consultant, but this ended when he and his wife, Sher, made the decision to open their own winery.

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March - 2015

March 2015

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hosts Successful Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest

As 1,400 guests walked through the doors of the Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, they were greeted with a four foot maroon anchor made of balloons encompassed with a gold chain, a room full of lit up trees and dozens of award winning food and wine vendors ready to fill glasses and pass out samples. 

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One Long Rollercoaster Ride: The Feed Store Reopens in Sebastopol’s Historic Frizelle Enos Building

When Stacey and Tony Renati stood watching the Frizelle Enos feed store go up in flames what stood out was the overwhelming community support: the whole town seemed to be hugging and crying over the place the Renatis had worked for the last 15 years. That was the moment the Renatis understood what the store meant to the community and knew they needed to reopen it.

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Russian River Frost Protection

Now is the time of year when the farm teams takes note of the first signs of renewed life in the vineyard – budbreak.  Largely due to the lack of rain, this milestone is making an early appearance this year.  This event for Sonoma County grapegrowers is also a reminder that it is time to begin monitoring water use during frost events and reporting that activity by submitting a Water Demand Management Program (WDMP) to the State Water Resources Control Board. 

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Connecting Kids and Ag

For those of us who grew up on a farm, it’s hard to imagine that a third grade kid in Sonoma County has never touched the fuzzy hairs on a piglet’s snout or heard the peep of a baby chick. These are experiences essential for any kid, particularly, one living in agriculture rich Sonoma County where farms and ranches shape the working landscape and propel the economy. But these days, urban kids, several generations removed from the farm and living in suburban Santa Rosa or Rohnert Park, have no grounding when it comes to cows and sows.

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Committed to Community, Balletto Vineyards Joins as Premium Farm Bureau Member

"Our philosophy is growing a business that benefits our employees and the community,” said John Balletto, owner of the award winning Balletto Vineyards. Motivated by his commitment to community, Balletto recently signed on as a Premium Farm Bureau Member. Balletto feels that the $1,000 membership level is an insignificant cost relative to the benefits the agriculture community receives from the work the Farm Bureau does. 

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16th Annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship

“Uno! Dos! Vamanos!” said Ray Sanchez to the eight finalists competing for a coveted champion title. Sanchez served as Master of Ceremonies at the 16th annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship held at Shone Farm on February 13th. The contest was put on by the Sonoma County Winegrowers and started with 47 registered competitors who were broken into four heats of 11-12 pruners.

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Johnny Walker’s Fantasy

Honestly, what’s Butterscotch pudding without the Scotch?!  This is my own creation of Butterscotch Pudding layered with Scotch infused Mousse and sprinkled with Smoked Almonds.  The Smoked Almonds not only add texture, but that hint of saltiness that just…well, FaNtAsiZe for a moment.
This will make 9-½ cup servings.  Note:  I like to use the cute little 4 oz. jars.

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Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County 2015 Scholarship Applications

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County will award more than $60,000 in scholarships this year to deserving students studying agriculture or an agricultural-related field at a four year college, junior college or vocational school. The Farm Bureau Foundation’s mission is to encourage – and financially assist – young people for rewarding careers in agriculture or a closely related agricultural field including the farm-to-table culinary arts.

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February - 2015

February 2015

Petaluma’s Circle Oak Ranch, Riding High on Equine Rehabilitation

Ron Malone was given his first horse when he was twelve and while his interest in horses never waned, it wasn’t until the early eighties when he was 35 that he started riding every day, revitalizing body and spirit in the most natural way. As a high-profile lawyer living in Piedmont, riding a horse wasn’t the most practical or convenient way to unwind after a contentious day in court.

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Going, Going Gone

Fair auctioneer Louie Ricci, one of Sonoma County’s agricultural icons, died in the last weeks of 2014, adding to last year’s loss of legendary leaders in farming, ranching and the Sonoma County Fair.  Louie, a respected judge of man and beast, was a folk hero to those of us who grew up in Sonoma County and spent part of the summer learning lessons for life in the barns and show rings at the Sonoma County Fair.

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We Heart Cooking

Lilly and Audrey Andrews, known as the Twin Chefs throughout Sonoma County and beyond, have turned their passion for cooking into most people’s dream by the age of 13. The twins recently published their first cookbook and completed a book tour across the country.

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Horse Owners Love Your Neighbor

Love your neighbor sounds good, but when one has a neighbor who complains to Sonoma County PRMD (Permit & Resource Management Department), Fish & Wildlife, or Regional Water Quality it is sometimes hard to think  “Love”.  The complaining citizen now knows how to get the different agencies’ attention.  I’m sure you have heard these before: too much dust, flies, smells, and manure issues.

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Simple Celery Soup with Chimichurri Sauce

If you love celery as much as I do, you are going to love this simple soup. The recipe was born after my holiday ravioli making. You see, I only use the celery leaves in my ravioli recipe. I’m left with an overabundance of celery…its soup season and I’m on a health kick…sooooo, here ya go. P.S. My husband loves it too.

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January - 2015

January 2015

Range to Table: Local Beef

About 350 cattle call the Oak Ridge Angus ranch in Calistoga. home. They graze the pastures that have been in the LaFranchi family since 1912. It is fitting that a place with so much history is also home to history in the making. Here cattle roam with a life-changing purpose: to feed low-income families in Sonoma County..

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Celebrating Bruce Campbell

The life and times of Bruce Campbell, a Healdsburg rancher, auctioneer, agriculture leader and inveterate story teller known for his wit and wisdom, will be celebrated at a gathering of friends and family from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday Jan. 18 at the 4-H Center, 6445 Commerce Boulevard, Rohnert Park.

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Changes and Challenges

I am proud to introduce myself as the new president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Fifteen years ago my friend and neighbor John Bucher got me involved. I joined the board and never expected that I would eventually be elected to the presidency. I have seen a lot of changes in our County and at the Farm Bureau over the years, but I believe the best years are still ahead of us.

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Thank You Tito!

Sonoma Valley grape grower Tito Sasaki, a remarkable, one-of-a-kind leader, has completed a whirlwind two-year term as president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the county’s largest and most influential agricultural organization. Tito is taking a deep breath after spending the last 730 days being the face, eyes and ears of Farm Bureau, volunteering his time to do what’s right for the organization.

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Rodney Strong Vineyards Sign on as Premium Farm Bureau Member

“We are quality driven from the top down.” This quote to quality is evident in everything the Rodney Strong team does. A Premium Farm Bureau Membership is one way they are choosing to demonstrate their devotion to quality and Sonoma County.

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2015 YF&R Leadership Team

At the Final meeting of the YF&R for 2014 the year-end report was given and officer elections were held. This was a very exciting time for all as over 20 members were nominated for leadership positions. The final tallies were counted and reported for the 2015 Officer Team for the Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers & Ranchers

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Chicken & Mushroom Stew

There are certain foods that you will never forget…one of mine is my Aunt Betty’s dumplings! I remember going to the ‘Hunting Ranch’ during deer season…I’ve never really been a hunter, but I’ve always loved food and my aunt’s dumplings were a favorite of mine.

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New Seminars and Trainings

New classes have been added to the ongoing series seminars, trainings and workshops for agricultural and related industries. Held at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau the classes range in topic from CPR to Foreman Management Training and much more.

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