Oak Hill Farm – New Year, new farming family
By Arden Bucklin Sporer, Oak Hill Farm
Jimi Good and Melissa Bucklin with their children Jade River (left) and Bodhi.
Oak Hill Farm has undergone convulsive changes over the last six months, starting with the passing of its guiding force, Anne Teller. All family farms undergo disruptions, and the transfer of land from one generation to another is just another painful fact of life.
Oak Hill Farm, beloved by the community, is a hyper-diversified farm, growing over 60 varieties of vegetables, fruit and flowers in the 40 or so arable acres on the valley floor, just south of Glen Ellen. The notion of applying pesticides to this vibrant landscape is unthinkable, and anathema to the worldview of Oak Hill Farm’s founders – Otto and Anne Teller. Otto (Mose to his friends) was an early adopter of organic principles back in the 1950s and Anne followed suit until her passing in May of last year.
It is our family’s intention to continue farming this beautiful land for our benefit, for the benefit of our community and for the benefit of the entire ecosystem that surrounds us. It will come as a surprise to no one that farming is hard work, requiring deep knowledge of many things (soil construction, microorganisms, seed selection, greenhouse production, organic principals, compost, accounting, tractor driving and crew management – to name a few) which makes finding the right farmer a difficult task indeed.
Fortunately, it became quickly obvious that there was one person for the job — or actually, two. Anne Teller’s granddaughter, Melissa Bucklin was ankle-deep in organic farming in Oregon with her husband Jimi Good. It did not require a whole lot of convincing for Melissa and Jimi to accept the notion that farming Oak Hill Farm might be the dream job for two hard working, tractor-driving, vegetable growing, child-rearing, soil building organic farmers.
After six months of planning, Jimi and Melissa are finally here, ordering seeds, checking soil nutrients, winterizing tractors and getting to know the talented Oak Hill Farm crew. Their kiddos, Jade River and Bodhi, are attending the Sonoma Charter School. It has been a good long while since we’ve had any young’uns on the farm, and it’s great to see them running around hunting frogs and newts. We are excited to have the Bucklin-Goods here, taking up the reins of this huge agricultural project, and expect that Oak Hill Farm will continue to thrive.
Oak Hill Farm sends product to San Francisco each week, but we are concentrating on our local Sonoma County restaurants and grocery stores. We sell at the Sonoma Friday Farmers Market most of the year, and open the Red Barn Store on the farm on Saturdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., from April through December. We just completed a robust holiday season, selling hundreds of handmade wreaths built entirely with flowers and greens from the farm. We look forward to expanding the hours of the Red Barn Store in the coming year.
So keep your New Year’s Resolution to eat more vegetables and buy local flowers. Visit us at the Farmers Market starting in February, and come by the Red Barn Store in April. We look forward to seeing you!