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 partner Jerzy is here as well and has been a tremendous help to Tim in the orchard. Sophia has relocated to Acorn Ranch on the other end of the valley with her partner Tommy where they are managing growing pig, sheep, and poultry operations. Polly is following her passion and has pretty much run away with the circus. She is making her way in the performance world, though we often welcome her back to help us through our busy harvest season, as she knows all the ropes. Polly took on the roll of Karen's assistant for 2015 and made a lot of progress updating our online presence and streamlining our systems. She has since 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 has his own fabrication business but has been coming up more and more to contribute his beautiful concrete creations to our projects and we always enjoy having his kids visit. It is incredible to see the next generation coming along and learning to love the farm.
Don & Sally
It is gratifying to see Don and Sally enjoying the personal time they never had while raising five children and managing multiple businesses and careers. In 2008 they relocated to Elk to lead a quiet life, where the main focus of the day was what to prepare for dinner. In 2015 we decided we were all ready to have them a little bit closer so we remodeled their old apartment at the farm to make it more comfortable and exciting for them to spend time here again. They enjoy visiting with their children, grandchildren, and now, two great-grandchildren. Sally has been working towards publishing a cookbook spearheaded by her grandson Byron, with help from Troyce, Polly, and many other family members. They are relaxed, happy, and enjoying each other’s company.
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, 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.
see their listing on Artistic License