More Than 1,000 Gather to Celebrate Agriculture at Love of the Land
By Rachel LaFranchi
Published August 1, 2017
On July 13th, more than 1,000 people gathered at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s vineyard to celebrate agriculture. Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s annual Love of the Land event, was successful in bringing in people from all facets of agriculture to socialize and honor stewards of the land.
People gathered from Sonoma County and beyond, seeing old friends and making new ones in the Sonoma grown reception. Guests enjoyed wines from around the county and food from local caterers and food companies.
The program for the evening was kicked off by Brent Farris who introduced the Petaluma Riding and Driving Club who rode in decked out in red, white and blue on a paint, palomino, grey and bay. Mark Flowers sang the national anthem, and Farris introduced Steve Dutton, Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s President.
“Sonoma County Farm Bureau was founded in 1917 and tonight we’re celebrating 100 years of protecting Sonoma County Agriculture,” said Dutton. “From the Right to Farm Ordinance to Riparian regulations, the work Farm Bureau does might not always be visible, but it is critical to our ability to farm on a daily basis. I am proud to be a fifth generation Sonoma County farmer, and I want to see agriculture continue far into the future so my children have the same opportunities I had. Alongside many others here tonight, I am proud to be a part of a family that has been farming in Sonoma County for more than 100 years.”
This year’s honorees included Jackson Family Wines, recipient of the Luther Burbank Conservation Award; Earl and Dot Holtz, Hall of Fame Inductees; and the Lee Walker Family, the 2017 Farm Family of the Year.
The Jackson family, large supporters of agriculture, donated the venue and La Crema Wines to be served throughout the evening. The Jackson family was also honored for their continuing commitment to sustainability. Headed by Katie Jackson, the company is a leader on many sustainability efforts including water, energy and land conservation programs.
Earl and Dot Holtz were honored next on stage as the 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees. Respectively 84 and 83, the couple has dedicated 104 years to supporting the local agriculture industry. With Earl working in the dairy industry and Dot educating youth, their contributions to Sonoma County are invaluable.
The night’s final recipient was the Lee Walker Family who have been farming apples on the same ranch in Graton for 107 years. The family patriarch, Lee Walker, said the award was especially important to the family because the award represented the time and passion the entire family put into the business, even though the majority don’t work for the family business.
The awards were followed by a live action including a hot air balloon ride donated by Blue Star Gas, a trip to Cabo and an exclusive opportunity to host a private event at the La Crema pavilion with 106.3 The Bull.
Bistro lights donated by Sonoma Clean Power glowed over the tables as the sun set and the evening came to an end. Sonoma County Farm Bureau thanks everyone who made another Love of the Land a success! From guests and sponsors to wineries pouring and great food by Preferred Sonoma Caterers, we appreciate everyone’s support. A special thank you to all the volunteers who helped make the event possible, we couldn’t do it without you!
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