By Elena Karoulina, Executive Director
It’s a crisp, breezy morning in March, and I am walking the fields of the Eatwell Farm with the farm manager, Cameron Ottens. It’s a fascinating place – I fell under its spell from the first minutes I saw the earth-sheltered farmhouse with a living green roof and walls.
Many fields are planted with cover crop, nurturing soil, getting ready for the busy summer season. Multi-colored chard, kale and many sorts of cabbages fill the rest of the fields that look like an impressionist painting, with all shades of green and some bright accent colors. Chickens are housed in the mobile coops; they are regularly moved to different locations throughout the farm leaving behind cleaned and fertilized areas. Fruit trees in the nearby orchard are beginning to flower, showing off a pastel-hued rainbow of petals against blue spring sky.
As I am listening to Cameron talking about soil, farm operation, plants, CSA, sustainable farming, local food system, I am reminded again and again about the complexity of the art we call agriculture. Cameron often exclaims: “There is so much to learn!”. The work and learning in the farm are endless….
Eatwell farm was founded by the late Nigel Walker, a leading figure in the Bay Area organic food movement. Beginning with 65 acres near Dixon in 1997, the farm has grown to 105, all organic acres growing hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables to ensure a year-round, diverse supply of the best produce for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members. Each weekly box comes with recipes and a newsletter from the farm.
CSA members are often invited to the farm for the members-only events like Strawberry Days (You Pick Them), Lavender Harvest and Summer Solstice. You can even have a sleepover on the farm!
There are numerous CSA pick-up locations throughout the Bay Area, including Vallejo, Fairfield and Vacaville in Solano County. There is a waiting list for Benicia too – if you are interested, please contact the farm!
What makes this farm so special is their Care Share Program. Eatwell Farm provides boxes of fresh, organic produce to people who are truly in need of super nutrition, including community members undergoing intense medical treatment. One of the Sustainable Solano partners, Mission Solano, a transitional house for homeless people of Solano County, receives boxes of fresh produce weekly from this generous program.
Just like every holistic, family-owned farm serving local communities, this farm needs all the support from us! Please consider joining Eatwell Community Supported Agriculture program. You will be rewarded by a weekly box of fresh, nutrient-dense organic produce and eggs. To find out more and to sign up: https://www.eatwell.com
P.S. If you would like to hear the founder, Nigel Walker, talk about his farming philosophy beginning with healthy soils – the approach that is still the foundation stone of the farm – watch this video:
Cameron Ottens, Eatwell Farm manager, will be a part of the post-movie panel discussion, “The Economics of Happiness”, showing in Vallejo on Saturday, March 31 (link). Hope to see you there!