All posts by Kim Dow

Lata’s Indian Cuisine

lata

by Sarah Hadler

Lata Pagare, the woman behind Lata’s Indian Cuisine, is a cornerstone of the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market. She has never missed a market in the more than eight years that she has been selling her glorious food at the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market on Friday evenings and there is always a steady line of patient market-goers at her stall, their mouths watering in anticipation. She is also at other markets (Sebastopol on Sunday mornings, Santa Rosa Wells Fargo Market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and Santa Rosa Wednesday nights) and she caters many other events throughout the year—she is one of the hardest-working people I have ever met. In the busy season, she works constantly, but she will always look up from what she is doing and a smile will light up her face. “Cooking is my meditation,” she tells me. “I am very happy with what I am doing.”

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Rainbow’s End

rainbowsend

by Sarah Hadler

At the very end of Frati Lane lies the entrance to the aptly named Rainbow’s End Farm. I park in the gravel lot, hop out, and after ringing a bell, am happily welcomed by Nan Koehler, the heart and soul behind Rainbow’s End Farm. True to her character, she is pushing a wheelbarrow full of items that will assist her with her various chores. She invites me along and immediately starts telling me the history behind the land. She is a wealth of knowledge, and a wonderful storyteller to boot.

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Singing Frogs Farm

singingfrogs

by Sarah Hadler

Covered in a light layer of misty fog, I rode down into the green valley bottom, where the Atascadero and Jonive Creeks converge—home to Singing Frogs Farm. I was greeted by Wenge, the very sweet, tail-wagging farm dog and a cheery, “Hey, Sarah, down here!” from Paul Kaiser, who along with his wife, Elizabeth, is responsible for the vibrant wonder that is Singing Frogs Farm. Paul, Elizabeth, their two children, Lucas and Anna, and a wonderful mélange of animals (the aforementioned dog, a llama who likes to kiss, a goat, five sheep, ninety Girlie Girl chickens, and a beehive) and plants, share nine acres of lush land northwest of Sebastopol.

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Bloomfield Bees

bloomfieldbees

by Sarah Hadler

Geof Whitford, beekeeper extraordinaire, says that “Sonoma County, with its diverse plant population and therefore diverse insect population, is a wonderful environment to keep honeybees.” Geof, and his wife Jackie, have been keeping bees in Sonoma County for the last six years. Shortly after moving to this area, Geof read an impassioned article in the West County Gazette about the declining honeybee population and what people could do about it.

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Star Mountain Gardens

starmountain

by Sarah Hadler

Phyllis Hughes, the one woman wonder show who runs Star Mountain Gardens, remembers her first farmer’s market in Occidental, three years ago: “I made $86 and I was so excited to find that people wanted to buy the stuff I grew!” A self-described “back to the land hippie of the 70s,” Phyllis moved out to California from the east coast. She grew her own food for a while, then took a long hiatus from it, travelled the world, went back to school, and taught for awhile. She found herself back in California thirteen years ago, married her old sweetheart, and slowly got back into working with the earth.

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