Farms have historically been family affairs involving several generations. Ours is no exception. We are reminded daily how well the system works. Working together gives a family a relationship that cannot be realized during infrequent holiday gatherings. Not that every day is perfect, but we learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and live with their weaknesses. We each have our areas of responsibility, giving us individual pride in what we do. At the same time the health of the whole farm is always our primary goal. We keep the conversation going, always looking for new ways to make our place thrive.
The kids are no longer kids, but a vital part of the workings of the farm. Rita has been at our side developing her farming skills consistently for most of her life, and now her husband Jerzy plays an increasingly important role in the orchard and cellar. Sophia is living over the river and through the woods on our friends small apple farm. It is a much better place for her horses and the sheep, but she is close by to help us with overseeing the other animals on the farm. She is raising heritage chickens and her flock is providing us with a bounty of eggs. Polly is following her passion and has pretty much run away with the circus. She has relocated to Oakland to further pursue dance and circus arts but will continue on as the wedding and events coordinator for the farm. Read her blog about her mission to integrate life at the farm with life on the road. Our eldest and only son, Joe, lives in Napa Valley with his family and runs his own Fabrication business producing beautiful steel and concrete counters and sinks. He and his wife Gemme make frequent visits up our way to make sure his kids get a good dose of farm life. It is incredible to see the next generation coming along and learning to love the farm.
Don & Sally
Don passed away this winter on February 6th after a period of slowly declining health. It was very sad and we miss him, but he made a very graceful exit and it was a rich experience for all of us. We see his legacy everywhere on the farm and he is very much still with us in spirit. Sally is comfortably ensconced in her newly remodeled apartment at the farm where she and Don moved full time in April of 2016. She is surrounded by the farm family and stays busy just keeping up with everyone's doings. Sally's book project ebbs and flows, but much work has been done and we are sorting through all the options the publishing world has to offer. One of these days we will have it all together. For now we are enjoying the process.
The Boonville Hotel, right down the road from us and run by Karen’s brother Johnny Schmitt, offers delicious food and comfortable rooms for Anderson Valley visitors. Stop by for a drink at the bar, a meal at Table 128, or a gander around the lovely garden.
Eric and Melissa Schmitt formalized Schmitt & Company in 2000 after nearly 20 years of custom building in the Napa Valley. In addition to offering the highest quality construction, Schmitt & Company offers custom concrete-and-steel fabrication by Karen’s son, Joe, as well as interior design expertise in house. Melissa recently opened a wonderful store called Poor House in Napa.
Karen’s sister, Kathy, of Kathy Hoffman Flowers, spent many years creating breathtaking arrangements of flowers for Napa weddings, restaurants, and events. She retired in 2015 and has been developing a new home and property in Oregon with her husband Bill. www.kathyhoffmanflowers.com
Debey Zito Fine Furniture & Design, operated by Debey Zito and Karen’s sister Terry Schmitt, creates original museum quality furniture in the European and Asian arts and crafts traditions for over thirty years. They teach woodworking classes for women and work in interior design.
see their listing on Artistic License