News & Events

Work Day and Burn - Sunday March 12th

Cabin fever got you down this winter?  Come out to the farm from 10-3 this Sunday, March 12th and help us with some spring cleaning projects!  We will be cutting back willows, blackberry and hemlock from the fence lines to increase pasture space and get our deer fences standing upright again.  We will also be cleaning up the orchard by weeding and mulching the apple trees.  Don't worry, there will be a project for everyone!  

If the weather and wind are right, we will have a burn pile going as well!

No Dogs, Please.

Please bring: lunch/snacks, work gloves, work clothes, layers, hats, water bottle, sunblock, and your positive attitude

Bring tools (if you have them):  hand saws, loppers, gloves

We will have:  water, snacks, some tools, and the BBQ going afterwards if you want to bring something to grill.

Directions:  We are directly across from Butano State Park on Cloverdale Road in Pescadero.   (put Butano State Park in your GPS).  Parking is very limited so bring friends and carpool!

Questions?  email us: info@rootdownfarm.org

We are hiring a farm assistant for April 1!

Root Down Farm is a perennial and pasture based livestock operation located in Pescadero, California.  We focus on humanely raising heritage breed chickens, turkeys, ducks and pigs through rotational grazing & foraging, while improving our soils and increasing biodiversity on the land.  We see ourselves as stewards of the land and use the behaviors of our animals to create healthy ecosystems and in turn produce delicious meats. 

Root Down Farm is beginning its fourth season and is looking for a motivated and committed part-time individual to join the team from February 1st through November 30th as we continue to build and grow our farm.  The ideal candidate will have farming or ranching experience, be a clear communicator, able to lift 50 pounds, queer friendly and interested in working hard while learning all aspects of our humane pasture based livestock and orchard operation.

Responsibilities will include (but definitely not limited to):

·      Daily observation, feeding, watering & caring of chicks in brooders

      Daily observation, feeding, watering & caring of chickens, turkeys, ducks and pigs on pasture

·      Daily & weekly moving of poultry and pigs (electric fence is your friend)

·      Maintenance of automated watering, electric fences, chargers, feeders

·      Weekly pick up of locally sourced feed

·      Regular cleaning of brooders and coops

·      Daily gopher trapping and seasonal orchard care

·      Livestock processing (bagging, labeling, weighing) both on and off-farm

·      Sales/marketing including working Farmers Markets and assisting with on-farm sales

·      Assist with farm tours, workshops and other public events

Qualifications & Skills:

·      Ability to work long days in different types of weather 

      Positive and Open attitude

·      Own transportation and valid drivers license

·      Ability to lift 50 pounds on a regular basis and repeatedly

·      Ability to communicate clearly and listen to instruction

·      Ability to be self-reliant and comfortable in a rural and quiet setting with little to no cell reception and unreliable wifi

·      Ability to trouble shoot and problem solve independently

·      Ability to work weekends

·      Work well as a team member and independently

      Ability to know when to ask for help to ensure personal and livestock safety

Additional Desired (but not required) Qualifications

       Proficient in Excel, Word and social media

·      Administrative tasks such as record keeping, marketing, etc.

·      Comfortable in being around animals

·      Experience or strong interest in tractor driving/maintenance

·      Experienced and comfortable in driving a truck with trailer

·      Experienced and comfortable with power tools and light carpentry

Compensation:

Private housing on the farm complete with outdoor shower, kitchen, and phone.

Meat and vegetables

Monthly stipend, TBD depending on experience

If Interested:

Please email resume, cover letter, and two references to: dede@rootdownfarm.org

Fall on the Farm

This is by far my favorite time of year on the farm. Not only does it mean we’ve pushed through the craziness of summer, but the slight shift of seasons has arrived and with it, an exhale of calmness.  The sun comes up a little later, which means we start our days a little later, as each day is truly defined by the daylight hours.  The weather has changed, the rain has begun, the warmth of the inside fires is alluring.  We’ve pressed a lot of apple cider and are enjoying the fresh pork sausage we’ve made.  We really are blessed to live and work here.  For the crew, It feels as though we're on the journey home, the end of the season is in sight and now they know we've got this! It's a great feeling to see the results of all of our hard work over these months, to find the energy for this last stretch, and to dig deep to finish strong on what has been a really stellar year at Root Down.

The days have been getting noticeably shorter, we don't open up the coops and start feeding the animals until around 7am, which gives the crew a whole hour extra in bed, a luxurious treat they enjoy. With less animals on the farm now, the move into fall feels a little more relaxed. But we don't like to make things too easy for ourselves, because that would be boring, and who wants boredom? So we decided to take on six new Gloucestershire Old Spot X Mulefoot piglets. There is a ton of free food around this time of year, from local organic vegetables left over from markets, to brewer's grain, to apples from local orchards and food scraps from a caterer friend of ours, so these piglets will benefit from a lot of great free food. When new piglets arrive, in order to keep them mobile and moving around the pastures, they have to learn about the perils of the electric fence. Pigs are super smart, so it only takes one or two days for them to learn that they'd rather not touch it with a wet snout, but until then we set up metal fencing so that if they do get passed the electric fence they aren't able to escape out into the pasture. What we hadn't factored on this time, though, was just how teeny those piglets were and almost as soon as we put them in their pen one had squeezed its skinny little hips out through the fencing and was making a wild bid for the long field as fast as it's little legs could carry it, which was really freakin fast! Luckily, if there is anything in farming that you can rely on, its that a pig (like us) is ruled by its stomach, so before too long we found that little guy hanging around its pen, hoping to get in for a big meal and a long drink and his exciting, freewheeling adventure came to an end.

The turkeys are in very full voice about now. We have two coops of about 73 each, and they like to compete in their gobbling. Every kind of noise sets them off, motorbikes roaring by, the tractor starting up, hammering fencing, moving the coops, sneezing. And those turkeys have to echo every sound with a round of gobbling. Sometimes the turkeys group together at the end of each enclosure looking at the other group having a face off and a gobble competition. The males are getting into their full glory of feathers, which they like to puff out to become as impressive as possible for the ladies.  They extend their red snoods and show off their wattles which look like bright red melting candle wax. They really are the most impressive and beautiful birds.

The most exciting development this month has been that we've had our first rain since April. If you are ever unsure of how to spot a farmer, ask them about the first rain, if it is unreserved enthusiasm then chances are they farm. We raced round, tying tarps to feed bins to make sure water wouldn't get in, and moved tools inside just in time to got ourselves indoors to watch it pour. And then it was as though the pasture took a huge refreshing gulp, absorbing all the water and nutrients from rotational grazing and almost instantly everything started to grow. It felt like we were hallucinating as the pasture turned green almost overnight. It's amazing how everything feels refreshed and renewed so quickly and the dusty, brown pasture we've been living with is being replaced by optimistic young sprouts of bright green grass. See, I told you - farmer's just love rain!

And finally, the beautiful barn is finished! The last touches have been added, beautiful iron latches and incredible antique light fittings were sourced and we have started using it as a working part of the farm. It will continue to take us a while to feel that we can actually use it as it is just so perfect and clean.  As tempting as it might be to keep it pristine and empty it is truly a gift to have it for storage and a comfortable dry area to work or gather in. So we took the plunge and moved in our tractor, our tools and feed bins and will continue to settle into the space that will be used fully to make work on the farm and within our community even better. 

So now we are looking forward to Thanksgiving, and we know these last few weeks will fly by with their fullness. We will enjoy more turkey gobbling, more rainy days and this years incredible crew will begin their transitions onto what is next for each of them.  I’ll start settling in to the slowness of winter, pescadero high school basketball and dive into the planning for next year.

-Farmer Dede with help from Farm assistant Lucinda

August in the Valley

August has just flown by, and we are already into September, how did that happen?! I guess time flies when you are having fun, and chasing turkeys…! We are well over half way through the season and finally all of our wonderful animals are out in the main pasture and every day a set of pigs or a coop of birds gets moved on to new ground, which certainly keeps us busy. 

Each animal impacts the ground in a different way (while fertilizing it), the pigs like to root around in the dirt with their strong snouts, the ducks love water and to forage with their beaks in the mud, the turkeys are getting heavier and trample the grass well (providing great soil coverage) and the last two coops of heritage chickens are outside during the day, free to to stretch their legs, get dust baths, run about and forage for extra proteins. This means we have a daily schedule of setting up fencing and moving one set of animals or another. 

We set up the fence for the pigs right next to the current fencing and then place a board over the electric fence and lure them over with food and veggies to their new home. Using a pig’s appetite definitely makes it easier to get them to do what you want! They are food motivated just like all of us here. To move the chicken and turkey coops, we attach chains from the tractor to the coop and drag everything backwards into the new space while another member of the crew watches out to make sure no daredevil birds stay in the coop while it is moving. Moving two sets of pigs from the front field to the main pasture gave us a little extra work as they have to make the journey in a trailer, so for a couple of days before the big move we put the entrance of the trailer within their fence and feed them from it so they get used to it and it (supposedly!) makes it easier to get them in there when we want to move them over. Pigs can be pretty stubborn, and rarely do what they don't want to do, so sometimes it takes a little extra coercion and encouragement.

The turkeys have been pretty well behaved up until the last couple of weeks, but if there is one thing we have learned about them on the farm it’s just how curious they are. They always want to see what is happening on the other side of the fence, and when they act as a turkey herd they can push down the fencing to have a good explore of the rest of the pasture, but after they have had a good nose around they usually let you lead them back in, conserving energy for the next break out. You can bet they’re already planning it!

The barn is getting really close to completion and just keeps getting more incredible every day. A highlight of the design are the Dutch doors on the north side which have been hung this week, beautiful and practical, much like the barn itself. We really can’t wait to get moved in, it is going to change life on the farm to have that working space. We might be biased but we are fairly sure it is the most impressive, beautiful barn that has ever been built! And the huge team of people working on all the different elements have brought their expertise and energy to the project in the most incredible way. We feel so grateful to be on this land at this time to be able to utilize this amazing structure and truly benefit from the generosity of our landlords, POST.

And finally, some big news - the famous blue farm house is having a lick of paint to freshen her up so she doesn’t feel too shabby next to the new barn. And not only that, she is now a beautiful dark red! The times they are a-changing at Root Down! We are excited to be moving into fall, and can’t wait to share more tales of farm life through September.