More than 1,000 people gathered at Saralee’s Grove and Richard’s Vineyard in Windsor on July 15th to honor stewards of the land at Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s annual Love of the Land.
The event started at 4 p.m. with a Sonoma Grown Reception. Vendors offered award winning wines from throughout Sonoma County as well as food prepared by local chefs. Guests could sample sparkling wine at the Korbel table or fill their glasses with a Rose of Pinot at the Bucher table and many more. A La Heart Catering and Preferred Sonoma Caterers were among local food companies offering bites to eat before dinner.
The cheese tent returned for the second year featuring cheese from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Clover, Cowgirl Creamery and more. Sonoma County Farm Bureau appreciates the help of Karen Moreda from Valley Ford Cheese Co. who put the finishing touches on the cheese tent including plating cheese, decorations and talking to guests about local cheese production.
The Wine Country Buffet served for dinner was also prepared with locally sourced food. From locally sourced Petaluma Poultry chicken to oven roasted mushrooms grown at Gourmet Mushrooms in Sebastopol to a Gravenstein Apple Crisp with apples from Dutton Ranch, all the items on the menu were produced locally.
Love of the Land kicked off with the Presentation of Colors by the Petaluma Riding and Driving Club, who rode in on their horses decked out in red, white and blue. The National Anthem was sung by Mark Flowers, a multi-talented Sonoma County resident who recently produced his first vintage of wine and assists Sonoma County Farm Bureau staff soliciting donations for fundraising events.
This year, three awards were presented during the event: Farm Family of the Year, Luther Burbank Conservation Award and Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Hall of Fame. Kim Vail, executive director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, and John President John Azevedo presented all three recipients with their awards.
The Mauritson Family, longtime farmers of vineyards and livestock in Healdsburg, received the Farm Family of the Year Award. The family has been farming for more than 150 years in Sonoma County, and is committed to continuing to farm in the future.
The Luther Burbank Conservation Award was presented to Richard and Marilyn Hughes of the Hughes Dairy/Westview Jerseys. The Hughes have turned Richard’s dream of owning a dairy into a reality, and gone above and beyond with land management and animal husbandry.
The final award of the night was presented to Tim Tesconi. Tesconi was inducted into the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hall of Fame for his lifetime dedication to the agriculture industry. Tesconi retired as Farm Bureau’s executive director last fall.
While the Hughes and Mauritsons received signs with their awards, Tesconi’s award was a collection of stories he’d written throughout his ten years at Sonoma County Farm Bureau all gathered in one bound book.
“It’s inspiring to see the community come together at Love of the Land to honor our hardworking farmers and farm families,” said Lynda Hopkins, candidate for fifth district supervisor. “This year’s honorees were well deserving of their awards. Congratulations to the Mauritson family, who has kept their land in agriculture for more than 150 years and six generations! Tim Tesconi has been a tireless advocate for Sonoma County agriculture, and Hughes Dairy offers a great example of successful, innovative water conservation. I’m honored to farm in the County alongside these hardworking fellow Farm Bureau members.”
Following the presentation of awards was a live auction. Items included VIP tickets to Keith Urban, a pool party at Coppola and three days in Carmel playing golf. Overall, 14 items were sold in the live auction in addition to a successful silent auction.
Brent Farris of KZST was the emcee of the event and Rex Williams was the auctioneer. Sonoma County Farm Bureau thanks everyone who attended as guests and volunteers. We hope to see you next year!