Classes are out this week, but strawberries are in session.
Make that, in season.
The bounty of Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm can be found three afternoons a week this summer and fall at a new farm stand near the main campus on Mendocino Avenue. There patrons can buy fresh vegetables, fruit, bottled olive oil and grass-fed beef, all produced at the college’s 365-acre farm and teaching facility outside Forestville.
Shone Farm has erected farm stands before on campus during fall semesters. But this is the first time it has located one along Mendocino Avenue in order to attract neighbors and other members of the public, said Lynn Ellerbrock, a sales and distribution assistant for the farm.
“This is kind of a cool way for us to get more visibility,” she said Thursday while seated beneath two white canopies set up by a parking lot east of Mendocino at Carr Avenue.
The stand is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday every week, whether or not classes are in session.
Shone Farm includes vineyards, forest, pasture land and agriculture gardens. The setting provides an outdoor laboratory for agriculture, viticulture, livestock, equine and natural resource classes.
The farm is a wonderful resource but “a bit out of the way” for many community members, farm manager Leonard Diggs said in a statement last week announcing the farm stand. Thus, the new sales outlet will “bring Shone Farm to town.”
The farm stand also will served as a key pickup site for Shone’s Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA boxes.
Details on the program’s produce and eggs can be found at shonefarm.com.
On Thursday, Ellerbrock and student employee Ashlee Pometta set out the stand’s produce, including parsley, kale, collard greens, two types of lettuce and fava beans.
Later this month, the farm will deliver summer squash and cucumbers, Ellerbrock said. By July, patrons will be able to purchase green beans and corn.
All summer “the selection will keep growing,” she said.
The stand also sells Shone Farm’s grass-fed beef, including short rib, chuck roast and a variety of steaks.
It soon will stock ground beef in one-pound patties, selling for $8 each.
But strawberries were the items that caught the eye of junior college employee Jesse Savou, who stopped by during a lunch break with her 18-month-old son, Ilai.
The mother bought two baskets and immediately shared some with her toddler.
“I love eating local produce and I love eating in season, and Shone Farm is a real cool place,” Savou said.
You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @rdigit