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 RECIPESRoasted Corn, Green Bean and Beet Tacos with Chipotle Sauce
Stir-Fried Green Bean and Potato Salad
Zucchini-Sweet Potato Lasagne
Green Bean Caesar
Seared Veggie Salad with Semi-Churri
Garlic-cured Beets and Squash
Pickled Asparagus with Garlic
Pasta with Peas, Spring Onions and Lemon Zest
VISIT FULL RECIPE ARCHIVE
Search our recipe archives below. Enter an ingredient or keyword.
CLICK HERE FOR MEMBER NEWS
The Original McGyver
A farmer friend of mine sells his produce at the farmers’ market every Tuesday in Berkeley. You probably know him if you ever shop there. Yesterday morning when he jumped in his loaded market truck and went to start it … Continue reading
A Maze of Tomatoes
If you’ve driven on I-80 north towards Tahoe in the fall, you’ve seen the signs for the “World’s Biggest Corn Maze” just outside of Dixon. There, people come out for the day to get lost among the paths cut through … Continue reading
Brand Recognition? Not for Peaches
A long time ago, before there were people who specializing in developing brands that resonated with consumers, there were fruit and vegetable variety names. These names were not chosen to resonate with the shoppers who would purchase them. Almost all … Continue reading