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, and now her Partner Jersey, has been at our side developing her farming skills consistently for most of her life. Sophia has relocated to Acorn Ranch or “Porkville” on the other side of the valley with her partner Tommy where they are managing growing Pig and Chicken operations (fpfarm.com/cintas/place/). 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. Recently she took on the roll of Karen’s assistant for the 2015 season while in between projects. Joe is busy in Napa with his own family and business (www.schmittcompany.com) and we love their visits. It is incredible to see the next generation coming along and learning to love the farm.
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. Since 2008 they have lived a quiet life in Elk, where the main focus of the day has been what to prepare for dinner. We are all ready to have them a little bit closer these days so we are revitalizing their old apartment up front at the farm so they will be more comfortable spending 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.
Karen’s sister, Kathy, of Kathy Hoffman Flowers, creates breathtaking arrangements of flowers for Napa weddings, restaurants, and events.
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.
see their listing on Artistic License