In the 1970s, we fell in love with an old apple farm in the hills of northwest Sonoma County, CA. We enjoyed the beautiful views and sunshine here in Annapolis, as well as the grand redwood forests. Our love for our land has inspired inspired us to care for and protect it in any way we can.
Part of the open space on our property is used to grow a sustainable garden, which provides us and those who our food pantry serves with an abundance of fresh produce. We also host volunteers interested in organic gardening and sustainable living through Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and WorkAway, two work-exchange programs, and through our Farm Intern Program. These volunteers and interns live in our historic farmhouse, built in 1902, and learn how we farm our garden and our certified-organic olive fields.
Behind our chapel is 50 acres of land that we have dedicated to be forever wild. A botanist recently visited our land and admired how untouched that area was. We hope to keep it a sanctuary for redwoods and wildlife long into the future. Logging, vineyards, and construction could threaten the integrity of this area, which has long been secluded from these encroachments. We hope that through our own small efforts we can encourage others to cherish this area as we do.
In February 2019, we were excited to announce that our Conservation Easement with Sonoma Land Trust was official! This agreement is the result of years of work and the efforts of many people who believed in the value of preserving the land for the future. Our land is now permanently protected from over-development or intensive agriculture.
Our first organic olive field of 1200 trees was planted in 2001 and named for Francis of Assisi. In 2003, we planted our second field of 600 olive trees, named for Teresa of Avila. The olives are hand-picked and cold-pressed within hours to make our award-winning organic extra-virgin olive oil.
Our home used to be surrounded by huge coastal redwood forests. Then the loggers came and many of the trees were cut down. They are slowly making a comeback, but we do our part to help them along. In January 2016, we planted our first group of redwood seedlings and hope to continue planting a group each year.