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Fresh from our farmers: Red H Farm, a no-till operation

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Red H Farm’s stall at the Sebastopol Farmers Market shimmers like a little jewel in the morning light, with a bountiful harvest arranged and labeled with delicate care. Everything is so pretty, so pristine and delicious, as you’ll discover once you get things home.

The current harvest includes chards, kales, collards and dandelion greens; lots of broccoli; Chioggia beets; Detroit Dark Red beets; Romanesco zucchini; Black Beauty zucchini and crookneck summer squash; sugar snap peas; red radishes; Rainbow carrots; Nelson carrots and Persian cucumbers. There’s Romaine lettuce now and butterhead lettuces will return in a couple of weeks. Fresh favas will be available for another couple of weeks.

Farmer Caitlin Hachmyer also assembles mixed greens, a sturdy combination that includes endive and radicchio in addition to whatever other greens are currently available. It’s ideal for braising but also makes a delicious but sturdy salad.

The season kicks into high gear for the little farm this week, with the first CSA deliveries happening this week; memberships are still available and there are two drop-off locations, one in Sebastopol and one in Santa Rosa. Sebastopol’s Gypsy Cafe and Lucky Star, a bar in downtown Sebastopol, begin using the farm’s produce this week, too.

Two years ago, Hachmyer began transitioning her farm, located on a beautiful patch of land south of Sebastopol where she grew up, to a no-till operation, a process that takes a lot of compost and wood chips. It’s been a slow process but a few weeks ago, she received a bit of help.

Hachmyer is the first recipient of the Farmers Guild’s Middleton Farm Scholarship, a windfall that will allow her to purchase 25 yards of compost from Sonoma Compost, enough to complete the transition this year.

“It looks like a huge garden,” she says of the finished no-till beds, separated one from another by wood chips.

Hachmyer is well prepared for her farming endeavor. She works as a researcher for the Institute for Food and Development Policy, was an apprentice at a farm in southern Minnesota and has a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University. She is also on the advisory board of Petaluma Bounty, an organization that works, in part, to get local produce and other foods to low income members of the community.

Red H Farm, founded in 2009 and owned and operated by Caitlin Hachmyer, attends the Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday morning. For more information and for a CSA application, visit redhfarm.com.

Michele Anna Jordan has written 21 books to date, including the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email Jordan at michele@saladdresser.com. You’ll find her blog, “Eat This Now,” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.

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