Sonoma connects with its roots

Last weekend farmers opened their doors all across Sonoma County to the public. The event was called Sonoma County Farm Trails and its history is dated back 41 years ago. 

This year, the event had many farms and businesses participate. Each location had something different to offer. Many farms led people through their grounds and took a moment to talk about the crops. Other farms simply told newcomers to pick up apples and feed the goats. The event’s main purpose was to let the public meet the people who grow the local products that are seen in grocery stores. 

Burnt House Farms, one of the many farms participating in the event, had three generations of the Danielson family that lived on the land. Their family had been farming that land for more than 100 years. 

“We are really happy with the turnout today and looking forward to even getting more people coming for next year,” said Bonny Danielson, part owner of Burnt House Farms. 

Danielson welcomed every person who came by to visit as if they were the next-door neighbors and she was not alone. 

She was accompanied by her husband, Lance, and daughter Pepperwood. Her husband not only worked the land, but also crafted wooden spoons from the apple trees that no longer produced fruit. 

“He carves everyone by hand and he even made that bench outside,” said Bonny Danielson. 

Pepperwood Danielson could be found selling flowers alongside her mom or running around with a friend. 

Burnt House Farm has La Mancha goats. The goats kept the children entertained as they were eager to pet them and feed them apples. The air radiated with the sound of laughter as the children called out, “Come here goat.” 

The Danielson’s sell their apples to Tilted Shed Ciderworks and love seeing their apples go to good use.  

Another farm that was a part of Sonoma County Farm Trails was Laguna Farm, also located in Sebastopol. 

Jennifer Branham is part owner of the farm. Branham had been working for Laguna Farms for nine years and took over the business about four years ago. They are going on their 30 year anniversary and are happy to be a part of the community. 

“During the rainy season, we can just put our kayaks here and this whole area will be underwater, it happens every year,” said Branham. 

The namesake of this farm is due to this annual flood. However, even when part of the farm is underwater, the other part is put to good use because Laguna Farm sells food year round. 

Laguna Farm sells their produce at some farmer markets and a couple whole sales. The majority is sold directly to the consumer. Laguna Farms participates in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). 

 They have upwards to around 430 customers but are currently hovering around the 400 mark. Every week or every other week, people can stop by the farm and pick up a box of seasonal vegetables that are organic, wholesome and delicious for $20. 

“Last week we were really lucky and had beautiful, stunning cauliflower. I thought… wow, how many people will be sharing this meal with me tonight? How many people am I breaking bread with?” Branham said. 

Scott Mathieson, the previous owner of the farm was not worried about getting the biggest bang for his buck. He wanted to pass the farm over to someone who took the farm to heart. When the two parties made the transaction, sweat equity was also considered. 

“This place is a little piece of paradise for us,” said Branham.