Labor Day Weekend & Farm Updates
Let us start by thanking everyone who came out last weekend.
It was by far our biggest weekend. Not only that, but nearly everyone who came out grabbed a basket and a pair of clippers and headed out to enjoy picking their own veggies, fruit and flowers from the gardens.
When they were done, they came back to the farm stand with full baskets and smiles on their faces. We couldn’t be more thrilled. Really. And all those Facebook postings with photos were amazing. Thank you everyone.
As you might have guessed, Noci Sonoma is a big experiment for us. It's about trying to create a farm that is more than just another farm. More than just fields where vegetable and fruit grow. A place we would all want to spend time in, to hang out with family and friends. To get away from it all and spend a little time in nature.
We are breaking new ground, I think. Re-thinking a farming model. Can a farm be a destination? Can a farm be completely member-supported?
Because we are building this farm in the heart of Sonoma County in Northern California, it is expensive. We pay the highest farm wages in the country. We pay some of the highest building cost in the country.
Lucky for us, we decided early on to hire our own farming and building staff. We don’t have any contractors for the most part. This enables us to keep control of the cost and the quality. It has also allowed us to live with the land and learn what the land needs and then build based on that. We didn't approach the soil with a preconceived notion of what we wanted to plant, and then manipulate the land to accept it. Or pre-design buildings that would just be buildings. No, we designed what we discovered we needed, based on our experiences, as we built the farm.
Now, to make a farm like Noci Sonoma work as a business is a whole other story. Any farm presents challenges, and one that is as costly as Noci is especially difficult. If we decided to go straight to wholesale, I don't think we would make it. 24 acres just isn't big enough, and we have no desire to make a mono-crop and turn the land into a factory floor.
We decided early on to try a different model. We decided to make it completely member-supported. We would build a modern farmstead playground for our members.
Our job as the Noci Sonoma Team is to create the best gardens possible, design and build the coolest buildings, grow and make the most delicious foods and just straight up make the best place to hang out, period. Can we do that? Can it be done? We think it can, and are well on our way to achieving just that.
Sorry, I went on a rant there. I guess memberships are on my mind. We are coming up to 100-plus members, which means we roughly have 300 to go. I am hoping by November / December we will reach our goal. I think once the front retail buildings open and we are open 6 days a week, we will see a lot of new faces. Which I hope turns into a lot of new members.
Please spread the news about Noci Sonoma. We need your help to get to 400 members. The 1/2 off lifetime memberships will come to an end, once we have our grand opening. And to all of our current Founding Members, thank you. Thank you for believing in us as we turn a vacant field into Noci Sonoma. Thank you for believing in us as we figure this whole thing out. Without you we wouldn't be on the path we are on now. Each time you come to the farm stand or come out to enjoy a part of the farm, we learn something. We get inspired and then get to work.
What Happen This Week
More of the same, really. The massive septic system and the building are a little closer to being complete. The gardens are being re-planted with fall and winter crops.
On the construction side, we are working on the front of the farm. The farm stand was moved so we could complete the entrance and start building the retail buildings, including our beautiful public bathrooms.
To that end, we started today by leveling the front gardens and removed all the small trees. By Thursday of next week, it should be completed. It will look like a giant Japanese rock garden surrounding the main portal - which will clean up the area and give it focus. You will definitely know how to enter the farm. Should be beautiful.
The following week the Farm Pantry building will start going up. Our first real building. Seems like it has been in the works for so long. Can't believe it will soon be standing.
We hope to see all of you this weekend. We know it is a holiday and the wine tourist will be out in force, but hopefully you can make it down Dry Creek and escape inside the gardens of Noci.
Make sure you grab as many tomatoes, peppers and sunflowers as you can - those summer crops are on their way out. We also have some new additions to harvest in the gardens too:
- Mesclun Mix
- Cilantro (in the greenhouse)
- White scallop squash
- Baby Chiogga Beets