County Line Harvest, a farm in Petaluma, Marin County, CA., is one of the many farms I was introduced to at The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, CA.
The farmer, David Retsky, offers a diverse vegetable selection of organic greens like salad mix and radicchio, kale, chard (all of which were available at the February markets I attended), turnips, broccoli raab, and strawberries. His staff, which was working the Tuesday farmers market, was knowledgeable and friendly and even suggested a trip to the farm.
After an easy drive up Highway 101, I came across David’s farm tucked into a gorgeous valley just outside the city of Petaluma, in Marin County. Located on 28 acres, and just an hour drive from San Francisco, the farm is thriving and producing everyday to meet the demand for the crops they grow.
I was pleased to see the home of the greens I had eaten just days before.
It was raining when I arrived and during my farm tour, I saw the operation at work. Cutting for Saturday markets and restaurant orders, the workers moved quickly through the rows of greens with precision and skill.
I marveled at the radicchio, row after row of beautiful deep red leaves which made for quite the contrast to the lush green landscape. The rain, always a factor for growers, was welcomed with open arms. There had been little in the region and supply.
The irrigation pond above the field was in need of replenishment though there did seem to be enough on hand to keep the young greens well fed. We discussed planting techniques as well as cultivation methods and other farm issues. Organic growers across the country share a common irritant, weeds, and how to best deal with them is a major concern.
Much of the weeding is done with small cultivating tractors and by hand held hoes, something this farmer can certainly identify with. It is labor intensive to be sure, but the quality of the produce is second to none.
For a grower form the northeast looking forward to spring, seeing this farm was a reminder that those of us in New England, and elsewhere where winters cold chill still lingers on, to applaud our country’s amazing small farms. Farmer’s like David are the unsung heroes of US food production.
I know buying local is a hot topic, and it is what I recommend we all strive to do all year round, but seeing David working a field growing fresh, high quality, organic produce was a joy to behold. Anyone who grows, from the farmer to the weekend enthusiast would have been happy amongst the rows of salad greens at County Line Harvest.
I love farmers markets and the way they connect a community to its food source. This is why I made the trip out west. I will try to bring a growers perspective to these posts and I also hope to hear from people about markets in their communities.
You never know what may happen from there.