By Jessie Flo McDonald, EFA Special Events Coordinator
Linda and Steven Butler did not really plan on being farmers. They have lived in the Santa Cruz mountains for many years, but only 6 years ago bought land and moved to Ben Lomond. Their garden beds grew slowly on this land, they started out with only a small kitchen garden. Soon, Linda was planting extra greens for friends and eventually she had so much asparagus that she decided to take it into town and try to sell it to a local restaurant. It was on this day that she walked into Gabriella’s Café in Santa Cruz and met Chef Sean Baker. Baker began to buy Linda’s asparagus regularly and became interested in what else she had to offer. Linda and the Chef’s relationship grew to where they would meet to plan out what she would plant specifically to be sold to Gabriella’s for his use. When Chef moved to the new restaurant Gather in Berkeley, Lindencroft went with him. And so began Lindencroft Farm.
With the healthy demand for produce from Chef Sean it was important that all of the systems were in place to keep the farm running. That meant building raised terraced raised beds to deal with their sandy soil, and improving their water system.
The main source of water on Lindencroft Farm is a deepwater well. The well gets low around August each year and doesn’t begin to recharge until November when it is cooler and rain starts to fall. To keep the water flowing all year long, Steven installed two farm ponds at Lindencroft Farm.
These man-made, rubber-lined farm ponds are filled mainly by direct rainfall and run-off. The first pond has a spillway into the second pond and any overflow beyond that gets channeled into the nearby creek. The ponds never run out, and are pumped up to holding tanks on the top of the hill by a solar-powered submersible pump. Steven can then divert water as needed from the tanks through controls in the pump house.
By installing these farm ponds Steven has given their farm a very necessary water insurance plan. He has also given his family a new recreation site, as one of the ponds is built for swimming. New wildlife is attracted to the ponds and it breeds new flora all of the time.
For CSA, recipes and more information on Lindencroft Farm, please visitwww.lindencroft.com!