Sonrisa Farm, the home of Lucky Larry
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 4:02 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 4:02 a.m.
Everything at Sonrisa Family Farm in Petaluma seems to radiate with an inner glow, a sense of purpose and intention.
The first word that came to mind as farmer Lisa Colorado led me around the five acres where she and her husband have lived for more than a decade was "adorable." This is not to suggest the farm is not a serious endeavor; it absolutely is. But there are sweet embellishments everywhere, from the way tile stepping stones leading into a greenhouse overlap to the vintage aprons -- her mother's and grandmother's -- adorning the walls of the farm store.
By late Saturday afternoon, little produce remained, just fresh dill, small winter squash and beautiful drying gourds. But there were plenty of eggs ($6 a dozen) and a freezer full of plump (4½ to 5 pounds, $6 a pound) Freedom Ranger chickens.
Although this is the farm's slowest time, as winter crops wind down and spring crops await a warmer sun, the farm is harvesting several varieties of kale and chard; there's broccoli, too, and a bit of cilantro. The dill is almost done but the greenhouse is full of flats of perky spinach, lettuce, arugula and more.
Whatever the farm is harvesting, you'll find it at the Petaluma East Side Farmers Market, which takes place on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Community Center on North McDowell Boulevard.
The farm, which opened last July, is an expression of Colorado's commitment to true sustainability. Although her eggs and poultry have been an instant hit with consumers, she doesn't intend to increase production or focus exclusively on these things.
"That wouldn't be very sustainable," she explained.
Last year, she raised about 400 meat chickens and plans to keep to that number this year.
Currently, she gets about 24 dozen eggs from her flock of 100 hens, a number that will double by late spring. The hens live in chicken tractors, small portable wooden houses surrounded by soft moveable fences, which gives them a huge range. They look remarkably good for January; they are plump and full feathered and seem to like having their one rooster, Lucky Larry, in their midst.
There is a small herd of Angora goats, too, with gorgeous faces, playful temperaments and full curly coats that will need to be sheared in another few months. When it is available, which is usually April and September, their wool is sold at the farm store and at Balls and Skeins in Sebastopol.
Soon, a flock of Italian ducks will join the other animals here. They have an appetite for snails, slugs and those bothersome cucumber beetles. Colorado also plans to add a hedgerow to the garden this spring to attract more beneficial insects.
The farm includes 40 young heirloom fruit trees, with several varieties of apples (Empire, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Spitzenburg, Gravenstein, Calville and Cox Orange Pippin); Bartlett and D'Anjou pears; Arctic Jay white nectarines; Early Elberta peaches; Bing and Rainier cherries; Late Santa Rosa plums; Meyer lemons and Bearss limes.
Parallel to a row of young fruit trees is a row of hops, just now awakening from their winter dormancy. As we walked the farm, Lisa knelt down and brushed away some of the dirt to show the little knobs that will grow into a fresh, fragrant crop, which she'll sell wet, not dried.
The farm store is a repurposed commercial storage container, and virtually everything inside and out had another function before finding a new home here. There are windows from her family home in San Francisco, old dressers, doors, hutches, signs, baskets, tubs and more from friends and relatives and an authentic 78-RPM record player, with a stack of 78s alongside.
The farm is a solid family endeavor, with the Colorados' three children helping as they can. Sonrisa Family Farm, founded in 2012 and owned by Lisa and Juancarlos Colorado, is located at 2454 E. Washington St., Petaluma. The farm store is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday except when it is raining. As spring harvest kicks in, it will open at 10 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. For more information, visit sonrisafamilyfarm.com or call 778-8564.
Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM.
E-mail Jordan at email@example.com.
You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com
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