Sebastopol’s Sanders Field Farm: The Cook, the Farmer and the Local Community


The drive down the gravel road to Sanders Field Farm in Sebastopol, CA leads me past an 80-year old apple orchard and into a sun-drenched clearing of strawberries, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, and sunflowers. Lowell Sheldon, the proprietor of Peter Lowell’s, meets me at the gate, hands covered in dirt after harvesting food from the farm for his Sonoma county restaurant.

Not far behind him are Daria Morrill and Tony Tugwell, whose 12-acre organic farm is off the grid, running only on solar power. With two acres under cultivation, the couple has designed a compact production scheme solely dedicated to the restaurant—kale, chard, baby lettuces, spring onions, snap peas, and broccoli glow in the afternoon light, set to become part of Peter Lowell’s menu of sustainably grown sustenance.

As we tour the tomatoes—heirlooms grown to spec—Morrill, new to farming, but not to plants, tells me, “This is my gift. I am lucky to get to plant and be outside, with my hands in the dirt…it is my form of freedom.” Morrill spent years nurturing Cottage Gardens nursery in nearby Petaluma, where she started a popular vegetable seedling program. Tugwell—a “tech guy” who spent two decades in “a cubicle banging out code for corporate America”—is the farm’s director of operations, running tractors and hooking up irrigation and alternative energy systems. The couple had their eye on the piece of property for over a year and though they declare themselves “too old to become new farmers” (let’s call them “middle aged”) they are now happily and successfully growing… Full article here.