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 should be providing us with plenty 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 has his own Fabrication , but has been coming up more and more to contribute his beautiful concrete creations and 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
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 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