This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the farm by way of Sonoma County Farm Trail’s Spring Tours event, “Blossoms, Bees, and Barnyard Babies.” I toured five local farms near Sebastopol, California, and was heartened to see so much life everywhere, especially after the devastating fires in October of last year. Sonoma County was truly blossoming and blooming, coming alive once again.
Growing up in Sonoma County, I loved visiting farms during autumn to see the pumpkin patches. The Sonoma County Harvest Fair was easily my favorite community event; honey sticks were incredible spots of joy for me. However, I hadn’t experienced too many farms during the spring, so I was excited to see what vibrant expressions of natural growth I could find.
And vibrancy I found! Let me take you along the “trail” I traveled, so you can experience what I encountered!
1. Icssoma Farm/Well Trained Horses
I was shown around the farm by a lovely volunteer named Susan (thanks Susan!), who introduced me to several horses who had come to the farm to escape abusive homes or recover from damaging injuries. One had been a fire refugee, fleeing from her owners’ burnt property and damaged ranch. I was surprised to learn that since opening Icssoma Farm, the owners had successfully recuperated and rehabilitated more than seventy horses!
I met Vosi, seen here, a rehabilitated horse who is 17 & a half hands tall!
2. Lynn’s Lavender
Meeting Lynn and her husband Mike was a joy. Their property is beautiful, and although the French lavender hadn’t bloomed yet, the drying shed was full of dried lavender, a heavenly smell if there ever were one. I visited with Lynn in the gift shop, where I was able to purchase a lavender bath fizzy and some lavender earl gray! Walking around the property, I stumbled upon a pond covered with lilies and lily pads, a bench in between two trees just waiting for someone to come sit and think for a while.
3. Redwood Hill Farm - Capracopia
This is where I found goats. Lots of goats. Baby goats, mama goats, billy goats; all kinds of goats, kids (hehe!). The kids were in pens, fawned over by children and adult visitors alike. There were also little tiny chicks that allowed me to hold them close. They had cute names, too, like Marshmallow Peep, Caramel, and Cookies ‘n’ Cream. Samples of goat cheese made right on site were available to taste (delicious!), and docents were available to chat with about living on the farm and caring for a multitude of animals.
Goat #118 and I got close, as you can see, and let me pet her through the fence. She kept nudging my hand for pets!
4. Kozlowski Farms – Sonoma County Classics
My, oh, my, what a wonderful taste. There were jams, and pies, and vinegars, and oils, and barbecue sauces, and butters, and anything you could imagine that could be bottled up and shared, it was. Tasting the magnitude of flavors was incredible. Living in Sonoma County, agriculture is everywhere. You can see orchards and fields along any highway you travel, and you always know there’s more just out of sight, but combining flavors like pear & fig, or strawberry & rhubarb was delightful to experience.
I ended up going home with a massive three-berry pie.
Just as you might expect, the folks at Beekind were quite kind, and quite knowledgeable about bees. I tasted honey with distinctive flavors from all over the county and state. I didn’t expect the “Sage Honey” to be so different from the “Sage Wildflower,” but it was! I took home the “Sage Honey,” and was quite happy to add it to my tea later. Not only was this a showroom for what bees can do; this was a bee lender, as well! I was encouraged to go ‘round back, and look for the bees in their boxes on the drive. There was a tiny garden there, full of bright pink flowers, and beekeepers from all over were arriving to pick up their bees for the year. I was handed a pamphlet and told I could join anytime.
I just might.