Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Monday, November 28, 2011
Things have been buzzing up on the Farm in the last month. We have tilled under the garden and planted some cover crops for the winter. Colby has been busy planning next spring’s additional garden space layout, a swath of “bee food”, as well as figuring what we will plant for 2012 CSA.
Another exciting development is the attention we are giving to the bees on the Farm. We have a new beekeeper, Rob Keller, of Napa Valley Bee Company. Check out his blog at www.napavalleybeecompany.com. He has a great way with words and an incredible passion for bees. He came out and inspected our existing hives only to discover that two of the hives were from a hive he had split one Easter while at a friend’s house. He was very happy to see how these hives had done and is excited to follow them, as they are “great stock”. Rob has a wonderful attitude towards beekeeping that works well with Clif Family Farm’s philosophy. Of course, we are interested in procuring honey, but we are first and foremost interested in healthy bees. He believes in the sharing of knowledge and experience in order to improve the bee situation throughout the county. Upon inspection, Rob discovered that our bees would do better in a sunnier location. Although it is hot in Pope Valley in the summer, their spot was too shady and damp for the winter. Their hive boxes are insulated so the heat is not as much of an issue as the dampness. In order to move the hives we needed to move them first to a location at least 3 miles away for the bees to reset their GPS…or you can move them about a foot per day! If you try to just move them a few hundred yards away, they will return to the old spot and swarm until they run out of energy. Interesting critters!
So we decided to move them down to the Farm at the Montessori School, where Rob teaches, for about 10 days to let them adjust and then move them back to their new home on the Farm. We have some photos of their transport and new temporary home. I was interested to understand how they adjust and Rob had me stand back and watch them. As soon as we removed the burlap that was put in the hives for transport, the bees started to come out of the hive to figure out where they were. They fly in gradually larger circles around the hive until they acclimate. We plan to move them back to their new spot at the Farm next week so they can winter in the sun!
Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Sunday, November 20, 2011
Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Sunday, November 6, 2011
In September, Clif Family Farm became Food Alliance Certified. We are very excited about this certification as it brings us another step along the way to fulfilling our sustainability mission - to craft unique, regional wine and foods using practices that care for the earth; to support growers who use sustainable, organic farming methods; and to contribute to a more vibrant, healthy food community.
Food Alliance is a comprehensive third-party certification that focuses on the following critical elements of sustainability in the agriculture and food industry:
· Providing safe and fair working conditions
· Provide healthy, humane care for livestock
· Reduce pesticide use and toxicity
· Conserve soil and water resources
· Protect and enhance wildlife habitat
· Continually improve management practices
Food Alliance certifies more than 320 operations and six million acres throughout Northern California. At Clif Family Farm, the certification includes our vegetable gardens and fruit orchard, allowing us to offer the local community the first CCOF organic certified and Food Alliance certified CSA box in Northern California.
For more information about Food Alliance, visit their web site at www.foodalliance.org
Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Friday, September 30, 2011
Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Thursday, September 29, 2011
Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Friday, September 23, 2011
Our “little farmers” spent the day experiencing a multitude of fun activities including farm-related arts and crafts, and a beanbag toss with a giant tomato and a very pinkalicious pig. Even a small flock of resident hens joined the party showing off their fancy feathers.
Guests of all ages were able to tour the farm in special bio-diesel vehicles, test their knowledge about olives and their oil, taste wonderful local cheeses, pair foods with wine to create the perfect pairing, sample ratatouille made with fresh vegetables from the farm’s certified organic garden, sip and savor the newest offerings from the cellar of The Clif Family Winery, and feast on amazing brick oven pizzas from Pizza Politana, plus farm-fresh salads and tasty desserts from local chef Emily Buller. Ice Cream aficionado Bernard Coll offered up some of his famous homemade ice creams that were a hit with party guests young and old. Yum!
Miracle Mule, a Marin based country, swing, Cajun, Americana band kept the ruins hopping as the sun went down. Even Gary couldn’t resist the urge to join in the fun, thrilling the crowd with his musical talents as he joined in with his trumpet to rock the last song. Wow. It doesn’t get any better than that!!