Something very special is budding in Dry Creek Valley...
My mom used to sing John Denver's, The Garden Song, to my sister and I as we planted our garden when we were little. This youtube will take you back to the 70's and my perceivable glimpse into the minds of the team that dreamt up this place. And...another 70's bonus...!! It's got the Muppets in it! I feel like you need to have this song in your head as you read through my story below...
It’s Saturday. And it’s raining. The rain is very much needed, so I’m pleased. But it’s a symbol of the beginning of fall and shorter days and colder weather...and the end of my favorite season, summer, so I’m down.
I pulled on my rain boots and grabbed my umbrella and one of my besties, Kelly, and headed out into the valley.
We arrived at the Farmstead just after noon.
Three workers were assembling one of the largest chicken coops I’ve ever seen (or smelled) in real life. About ONE THOUSAND chickens were clucking about their new home. It's no joke.
As we approached, the two farm dogs, Viviana and Winter, tongues wagging, came bolting through the flock to greet us, sending chickens frantically running in all directions. It was mayhem but it was hilarious.
One of the workers yelled over to us that Lacy was on her way up to escort us down to the greenhouse.
Moments later, she appeared on her four-wheeler. Dressed in wellies, jeans and a green rain coat, she approached with a warm, sweet smile on her face.
She apologizes for her appearance, which we all laugh off...
Lacy looks like a J. Crew model. She’s almost six feet tall and has some of the most gorgeous skin and hair I’ve ever seen. Her face is clean of makeup, not that she needs any. She’s all-American perfection. And as beautiful on the inside as she is out. I’ve known her since I was four. We met in pre-school.
Lacy Procopenko, Director of Growing at Noci Sonoma
For the past thirteen years, Lacy worked at a large, Russian River Valley winery, most recently as their GM, flying all over the continent--grinding the corporate grind.
And one day she woke up and knew she had a different vision for herself.
Like many curious passersby, she popped in to see what was developing in the space. She fell in love with what they’re doing and knew she had to be a part of it.
The couple that started Noci Sonoma, the Adjanis, moved here from LA, via NYC. Like many that come to the area, they fell in love with this county and found themselves yearning to build a life here for them and their young children. I admire them for having a passion and following a dream. I love that they knew little about farming, but were so drawn to the the idea and the land that they had to bring their concept to life. I love the creative perspective they’ve lent to the project. (It’s unlike any farm you’ve ever seen.) I love that they're city slickers realizing their dream of a quieter life in the country.
And I get what drove them to make the move.
But Lacy...? I identify with her. I’ve worked in corporate America for almost two decades.
She did what many of us imagine doing as we sit in commute traffic day after day. Her once manicured hands, now rich with stains of the earth. She did it.
It's wonderful to see three people come from such unique backgrounds, connected by common threads of yearning for a simpler life and wanting to connect with the land. And to see Lacy do this solidifies what I felt for Noci Sonoma the first time my husband and I explored the property last spring. It’s special. And it made me so intensely curious to know more.
What is this place? I will try to explain it to you.
Imagine a giant community-farm/farmer’s market...where you come to pick whatever seasonally organic item you need, whenever you need it. Only you don’t have to do any of the work. And since it’s owned and run by artists, it has a stunning and soothing aesthetic.
For the local Healdsburgian, it might appeal to those that don’t have time to nurture a garden, or those that lack the skills or the land. Maybe to those that want the physical experience of gathering their goods, personally selecting their bounty.
For the Bay Area resident, it might appeal to those that live in the middle of concrete high-rises or tiny Victorians with no sun or yard and want the opportunity (or to provide their children the opportunity) to get their hands in dirt or meander through the garden. A weekend escape to wine-country beyond tasting wine and shopping in boutiques.
Or maybe for the traditional culinary aficionado...the old-world charm of visiting a different purveyor for each of the ingredients in your kitchen. Here you would find your produce, eggs, some dried goods and even your meat, depending on your membership.
Noci Sonoma is a member-based “club”. In exchange for a monthly fee, you can come out to the farm and collect your harvest, pick flowers for your table, get ideas for dinner...They even have a social calendar built into their program, where you can come and enjoy farm-dinners with other members.
And they have insanely awesome plans for the place...
...including a 400 ft natural swimming hole, family movie nights, catered, wine-paired dinners in the garden, culinary and gardening workshops...just to name a few.
The place feels magical. It has a crazy energy emitting from it. And I can't help but hum John Denver's Garden Song in my head as I tour the property.
It even might make you want to quit your day job and start a farm in wine country!
For more info on Noci Sonoma, their memberships, farm, people and plans, visit their website @ nocisonoma.com. For a remaining short time, they’re offering reduced monthly fees that will be grandfathered into their business once it’s officially up and running.
Until then, you can enjoy the harvest and smell the soil and be part of their vision and their dream.
So excited for all of them and to see how this endeavor develops.
Be curious. Check it out...
For more interesting things to do in the Healdsburg area, visit sheetstothewind.co.