Not too many kids can say they were born and raised in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley. I’m so blessed and thankful to have been raised under an agricultural roof in Sonoma County, because I understood the importance of “farm to table” from a very young age. It’s not hard to figure out where your milk comes from living on a dairy farm, and my siblings and I learned the importance of humane animal treatment, and how to be a great steward of the land just from observing the farm practices. I’ve always understood that farmers work extra hard to ensure that food makes it onto your plate in the first place, and without agriculture everyone would be naked and hungry. I’m proud to say those core values have followed me into adulthood.
…without Agriculture everyone would be naked and hungry… -Hannah Bucher
I became more interested and involved in agriculture by joining Healdsburg FFA in High School. This helped me realize I can make agriculture a career. I chose to enroll in Chico State for its amazing agriculture program. I joined the professional agricultural sorority at Chico State called Sigma Alpha, which has broadened my leadership and management skills and I’m very proud to be a professional young woman in agriculture. Additionally, Chico State’s University Farm is ranked number 1 for most diversified and productive college-run farms, and the professors within the hallways of the College of Ag on campus are phenomenal. From all of my accounting, economics, and finance classes you’d think I’d be just a regular business major, but Chico State offers electives such as food safety (HACCP), plant science, animal science, and core classes like agribusiness management, ag policy, and agribusiness marketing that makes this major truly unique and special.
The Agriculture Business major is a favorite for its versatility and flexibility. I can use and apply my major to the many agricultural facets within, and even outside the wine industry of Sonoma County. After I graduate in May, I hope to return home to Healdsburg and work for E & J Gallo and continue learning about wine and wine industry. Eventually I’d love to take over the family winery business and honor my parent’s hard work. I know there is a lot of opportunity for young agriculture graduates, and I can’t wait to experience it all!
The Blood Moon rose over Laguna Canyon as we wound our way back towards the city lights after a late September evening on the beach. It was nearly in total eclipse with a sliver of red peeking out. The universe gifts us with moments like these. We take notice and as the moment passes it may fade from the memory until the next time nature jostles our mind a bit.
To be closer to the Earth or closer to the glories of nature is an aspiration for many, myself included. But reality for most of us is that we dabble here and there in the natural world. We rake up the leaves. Refresh the tired herb garden. Cultivate a small patch of veggies in our backyard gardens. These small connections with the dirt serve to keep us grounded, both literally and figuratively speaking. It is my trials and errors at making a better connection with the earth that serve as natures little reminder to me that I should have a greater appreciation for those who achieve this connection on a grander scale – farmers.
It’s so gratifying that our four children really like being part of a family farming operation and are dedicated to seeing it continue for generations to come. I am so proud that our family works together in this agricultural business and plays together as a family. -Lee Martinelli Sr.
There is no better time to celebrate the life and work of those who cultivate the earth than at the close of Harvest. Most California vineyards are through the pick, Oregon finishing up as well. For winemakers the fun is well under way. For the growers, most express a sense of calm or feeling of relief that their fruit is in and the season is drawing to a close. The calm will be but a small pause before looking forward to the next task, the next chore, and natures constant string of small nudges to jostle the mind.
For those who make their life of the land – the farmers – these nudges are taken in such stride it’s almost as if nature was but a cadence keeping the time. They can show calm in the face of adversity. They find peace and tranquility when the task at hand is insurmountable. Their existence is at the mercy of nature – we all are but some of us refuse to live by that mercy – and they accept this arrangement with humility and grace.
I think what needs to be changed is the sustainability and farming practices have to be more widely accepted. Humans are not the only creatures on this planet you know, we have to share it. -Donnie Schatzberg
We’re not waiting until Thanksgiving to be Thankful. We’re thankful now for the people who still find value and purpose in cultivating the land and we’re Thankful to the God who has made it so. We will continue our trials and errors in our own gardens as well. Perhaps these small rituals really can be big victories for the soul if we capture them and transpose them onto other areas that might feel barren.
The Martinelli Family on the History of Their Land
The Legacy of Jackass Hill – 2015 Wine Spectator Video Contest Winner
Precious Mountain Vineyard
Williams Selyem Video Interview with Donnie Schatzberg