ABUNDANT HARVEST AT GRATON'S RED H FARM
One of the sweetest faces at the Sebastopol Farmers Market is that of Caitlin "Caiti" Hachmyer of Red H Farm. She presides over her carefully arranged stall with a beaming tenderness that I find both adorable and engaging. In a single glance, she telegraphs that she loves what she does.
Hachmyer farms on land where she grew up in Sebastopol, not far from the hamlet of Graton. There are about two acres in production, enough for a 30-week CSA program and one weekly farmers market.
The farm's current harvest includes beautiful (and delicious) rainbow carrots, scallions, radishes with perfect greens, squash blossoms, summer squash, cucumbers, radicchio, frisee, cauliflower, broccoli, Oak Leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, salad mix, saute mix, purple and green English peas, golden snap peas, kales, rainbow chard and shelled fresh favas.
Soon there will be cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, Padrones and other chiles, basil, lemon and other varieties of cucumbers, blackberries and, come late summer, succulent melons, figs, apples and winter squashes.
Like many local farmers, Hachmyer does not use the term "organic," now federally controlled, to describe her practices. She uses no chemicals and focuses on soil health and the sort of land, water and employee stewardship that keeps a farm naturally healthy.
Before starting her farm, she worked with the Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First and as a seasonal apprentice on a farm in southern Minnesota. She also farmed in other parts of the world before returning to Sebastopol.
After establish her farm in 2009, Hachmyer returned to school in 2011 and received a master's degree in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University. Her focus was on food system planning and policy; she continues to work as food policy researcher.
Red H Farm's 2014 CSA program is just getting underway. The primary season runs for 20 weeks, with a second fall-winter season following for 10 weeks. In addition to the farm's produce, weekly boxes sometimes include eggs and meat from Split Rail Family Farm in Penngrove.
Red H Farm, founded in 2009 and owned and operated by Hachmyer, attends the Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday mornings.
For more information and for a CSA application, visit redhfarm.com.
Michele Anna Jordan has written 17 books to date, including "Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings." You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. Email Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.