The seeds for Terra Firma Farm were planted in the late 1980s when Paul Holmes began farming a few acres in the hills west of Winters with a few friends under the name Sky High Farm. Paul developed a following for his garlic, tomatoes, and other vegetables as one of the founding members of both the Davis Farmers Market and Berkeley Farmers Market. Sky High Farm was also one of the original members of California Certified Organic Farmers, prior to official state and federal recognition of organics.
In the early 1990s, Paul hired Hector Melendez-Lopez and Paul Underhill (Pablito) as employees. Pablito became a partner in 1993, when the name of the farm was changed to Terra Firma, and Hector joined on in 2005.
Terra Firma started its CSA in 1994 with a few dozen acquaintances at a single drop site in San Francisco’s Mission District (Capp Street). As word spread and the CSA slowly grew to include other sites in the City, the East Bay, and Sacramento, the farm grew as well. We rented additional fields for growing vegetables and leased small neglected or abandoned fruit orchards to augment the vegetables. We currently provide food for 1300 subscriber households farming around 150 acres of vegetables and 50 acres combined of fruit and nut orchards.
Before he became a partner in Terra Firma, Hector became one of its landlords when he and his family purchased 25 acres of land we were already farming, in 1999. In 2003, with the critical help of CSA subscribers, Paul and Pablito were able to finally purchase 80 acres of land. With the addition of Hector to the ownership team in 2005, Terra Firma has secure tenure on fully half the total land we farm.
Like the households of many of our subscribers, Terra Firma is a non-traditional version of a “family farm”. Nonetheless, Hector’s mother Genoveva, father Alfredo, brother Victor, and sister-in-law Juanice all work in critical positions at the farm.
LATEST RECIPESSavoy Cabbage-Lentil Salad with Walnuts
Bok Choy Kale Soup with Udon Noodles
Dino Kale Toast with Poached Eggs
Recipe: Potato-Leek Gratin
Spicy Roasted Carrots and Gold Beets
Korean-style Spinach with Asian Pears and Roasted Broccoli.
Afghan-Style Butternut with Yogurt Sauce
Cabbage and Carrot Salad with Peanut Dressing
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This is the time of year when we at Terra Firma have a few moments to sit back and think about things we might want to do differently in the coming year. It is much, much easier, however, to conduct … Continue reading
Miracle Cures from the Soil
Dirt was in the news last week. Scientists at Northeastern University in Massachusetts appear to have isolated a brand new type of antibiotic found in the soil in a farm field in Maine. Teixobactin is said to aggressively kill even … Continue reading
The Little Mandarin Trees that could
Welcome back! I hope that everyone had a restful and relaxing holiday season. We had hoped to keep the farm completely closed for a full two weeks this year during our “winter break”, but the weather (as usual) had … Continue reading