In 1980’s the meadow was a golden delicious apple orchard and home to a 200-head herd of sheep. Owned for 50 years by Inga and Bill Groom the property was know to many as “the old sheep ranch in Loma Mar.” Before the Grooms, early pictures show a barn and lumber mill on the South East corner of the property in front of what is now know as the “meditation cabin.”
Neighbors tell of the cabins originally residing in Memorial park prior to the 1940’s. But local lore also tells of a brothel once contributing to the Loma Mar economy and perhaps this was the spot?
The property became ours in 1999 and we slowly began restoring what was here. Ten years later we tried our hand at farming, growing food for our niece whose restaurant in San Francisco boasted our produce. With the help of Jess, Ruben and Armondo the year was a delightful adventure for us, new farmers. We’re proud to say, Chef Amy’s kitchen was filled with our zucchinis, lemon cucumbers, tomatoes and garlic. The summer inspired us to make a deeper commitment to the craft but also taught us there was much to learn in order to farm well.
In the winter of 2011, we hired Dede, an experienced farmer who learned her farming skills with Jered and Nancy at Pie Ranch. Along with Dede and her very experienced farmer partner, Debbie, Echo Valley Farm, the name the Groom family once used for their apple offering, was born.
That year we grew ¾ of an acre of veggies. We planted the crops in three rainbow bands gently following the contour of the property. Patsy, Whinny and Gretel the goats came from Harley Farms, two pigs and a lamb from a farm in Carmel Valley. We harvested our first batch of chickens, learned to trim goat hoofs, milks goats, and processed our pigs that year.
The summer of 2011 was the summer that our local community resource center, Puente, sponsored two farmers market in Pescadero and La Honda. We joined Pescadero Grown! Farmers Market as one of the local vendors. The two markets gave us an opportunity to sell to our neighbors and through its EBT program and community sponsored tokens, we had an opportunity to share food with a much larger percentage of our community. It was a whirlwind, fabulous growing season, full of learning and delicious food. We were hooked.