By: Marcella Licea
In the late 1990s, owners Alexis and Eric Koefoed bought 55 acres of prime pasture and farmland off Pleasants Valley Road in Vacaville, a historically agricultural area. The land had been untended for 30 years. Their vision at the beginning was simple – a farm with functionality, beauty and a means to share the fruits of their labor with the people. They began with planting a few olive trees as a family and later started a chicken farm.
[Photo: Alexis, Owner of Soul Food Farm, Source: thepollenmill.com]
Through years of hard work and developing a deeper connection with the land, Alexis and Eric began to further immerse themselves in issues around community land use, the true cost of feeding people, workers’ rights and the humane treatment of animals. Today, Soul Food Farm is working on a number of new expansion projects that will add layers of diversity and variety for community members, such as heirloom peaches, apricots and pears. In addition to more fruit trees, they also plan on extending the olive orchard and are in the planning stages of a farm store, tentatively scheduled to open in the spring of 2019. This farm store will not only sell Soul Food Farm goods, but produce and other products from local farms in the region.
Every year, Soul Food Farm hosts a wide variety of workshops on the farm. Everything from artisan cooking classes, photography, herb gardening, basic chicken care, and so much more; our calendar of events has something for every pallet. This month on Saturday, September 22nd from 1:00pm-4:00pm, engage in a panel discussion between six of the most successful and driven women entrepreneurs of the Bay Area at Soul Food Farm’s first annual Women of Abundance Conference: Women Entrepreneurs in the Regenerative Culture, Economy, and Community. The conference stemmed from Alexis’ interest to explore the dynamics between food and agriculture and its intersection with social justice movements– both integral parts woven into the fabric of Northern California. This event will examine the ideas of competition, explore the realms of abundance and manifestation, and cultivate the possibilities of growing together in success through collaboration and support. Click here to register and ticket information.
By Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan
Over the past month, I (and others on the Local Food team) have been visiting farmers, ranchers and food producers in Solano County to get a more concrete picture of the current local food supply. Clay Ford of Pleasants Valley Honey Company was on my list. “Do you want to visit the apiary?” asked Clay, as I was arranging a meeting with him. “Sure,” I replied, “that would be great!” On a hot June Friday, I drove out to Soul Food Farm, which is one of five locations where Clay keeps his bees.
Clay’s wife Karen was the first to greet me near the hives. She explained that their honey is hand-spun, and that they keep the hives near farms that use little to no synthetic pesticides or herbicides. I noticed several rows of thriving lavender plants in the distance at Soul Food Farm, which I’m sure held tasty nectar for the bees. Location is important; I learned that bees shouldn’t be kept near or in a forest, because it disturbs the native population.
I figured we’d chat about the honey business and then I’d be on my merry way. Nope! Clay came prepared with a full bee suit for me to don, and invited me to get up close and personal with the Queens and Workers who help make his business happen. Great! (I’ve never done this before!) Karen helped me climb into the suit and then agreed to take some pictures of me. (I figured my two little boys at home would find this super cool – I looked like an alien, after all.)
Bees are certainly fascinating creatures, and it was a rare opportunity to get to see them in action. My thanks go out to Clay, who patiently answered all sorts of questions that I had about how he got into the business, the structure of the hives, the behavior of the bees, and more. I got so involved in learning about the apiary that I was half an hour late for a dinner party that night. But that’s ok…..it was a sweet way to start the weekend.
Look for Pleasants Valley Honey Company at Farmer’s Markets in Vacaville and Fairfield, and at select retailers around the County.
The Cloverleaf Farm is a 10-acre, certified organic orchard and farm in Dixon bursting with juicy peaches, nectarines, apricots and figs. Emma Torbert and Katie Fyhrie lease the orchard from The Collins Farm and co-manage the Collins Community Farmstand.
For the 2018 season, the community farmstand, directly off of I-80 West at the Kidwell Exit, is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00am to 3:00pm now through October 8th. In addition to fresh fruit, also enjoy fresh pies, popsicles, blackberries, organic Cloverleaf stone fruit, and organic vegetables from Hearty Fork Farm.
Cloverleaf Farm will be hosting several events at the Farmstand this summer like special U-pick days which will be advertised on their Facebook page and through their mailing list.
For information on purchasing produce or joining their fruit CSA, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please go to Find our Produce to purchase a CSA share.