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When we moved to Annapolis, California in the 1970s, we fell in love with our new property — an old apple farm in the hills of northwest Sonoma County. We enjoyed both the beautiful views and sunshine of this area and the grand redwood forests that shelter a diversity of natural life. Our love for our land has inspired us to care for and protect it in every way we can. As agribusiness moves into our area, preserving the balance between open space and well-developed forest on our land is now a top priority for us.
Part of the open space on our property is taken up by our sustainable garden, which provides us and those who come to our food pantry 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 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, protecting it from over-development or intensive agriculture.
Our first organic olive field of 1200 trees, named after Francis of Assisi, was planted in 2001. 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 in 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.