Farming Practices

We strive to create a self-sufficient and to develop a balanced agricultural ecosystem, embracing diverse plant and animal populations; we mindfully consider the sustainable use of resources while tending the soil, supporting the flora and fauna dependent on its health and tapping the solar energy that powers the growth cycle to maximize sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in our farm products and fertile soils. Our orchards and gardens are maintained in accordance with organic standards and are certified by CCOF.

Fertile soil is the foundation of our approach to farming; to enrich our soils, eliminate waste and reduce water consumption, we produce our own organic compost from the by-products of olive oil production, farming and maintenance of the ranch landscape and gardens. The olive paste that remains after oil extraction is mixed with livestock manure and plant materials for effective composting. The liquid waste, or olive fruit water, is used to maintain compost moisture. Compost helps develop the organic matter content of our soils, enhancing the quality and productivity of our plantings while sequestering tons of atmospheric CO2 in every acre of fertile ground. Our chickens forage on fenced pastures for insects and plants and their manure is used in the ranch compost. Sheep seasonally graze the orchard cover crop, facilitating nutrient cycling and soil fertility development; their work reduces the need for gas-powered mowers and fertilizers.

In June of 2009, we celebrated the installation of our 225 kW Norwin windmill, the first privately-owned turbine of its size in Marin County. The windmill tower is 97 feet tall, with 40-foot long blades. Its hilltop location was chosen after careful consideration of how to both harness adequate wind and avoid impact on wildlife. The windmill reduces our greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 110 tons of CO2 each year and meets about half of our electrical energy needs.