Meet your farmers: First Rain Farm
First Rain Farm is run by Nevada County native, Tim VanWagner and his fiancé Kathleen McClintock. Nestled into the woods of Nevada City in the Lake Vera Round Mountain neighborhood, their 37-acre property is filled with a diversity of annual and perennial crops as well as some fun new experiments in growing ginger and shitake mushrooms. Thanks to a herd of friendly dairy goats, they are able to make living compost for their fields onsite as well as clear brush and fire hazards for the farm and the neighboring properties.
Years in business: Nine
Acres farmed: 1.5 in vegetables, 1.5 in berries, 3 acres irrigated pasture, 50 acres mixed grazing lands
Main crops: Some of everything! Blueberries are a real crowd pleaser and our bunched greens are loved at BriarPatch Food Coop and the Nevada City Farmer’s Market.
Farming philosophy: Listen to nature, learn from nature. Our goal has always been to produce more of what we need from the lands we live on. We believe in diverse and integrated farming systems that, through good management, improve the overall health of the land, produce an abundance of food for markets, and at the same time reduce reliance on outside inputs. A picture is worth a thousand words…
Where can people buy your food? Nevada City Farmers Market on Saturdays, BriarPatch Food Coop, Three Forks Bakery and Brewery, Ike’s Quarter Cafe, New Moon Cafe, Heartwood Cafe, Watershed Restaurant
Favorite thing about farming: The endless opportunities for expressing creativity and beauty.
Least favorite thing about farming: Putting the netting on the blueberry patch!
Favorite food that you grow (or recipe): Blueberries — grab one large handful, lift your hand up to our mouth, open wide, and fill your mouth.
What inspires you about Sierra Harvest? Having a strong organization within the community that is respected and influential in the realms of food and farming is going to change the way our community thinks about, eats, and values food. Farmers need an organization like Sierra Harvest to promote local food production, and stand with farmers to create a favorable political environment for the success of this movement.
Why do you farm? This sort of farming is my way of practicing the sort of stewardship our earth needs from its human inhabitants. For too long we have turned a deaf ear to nature and as a result we have become a lost culture. We farm as a way to connect with the natural world that is all around us and to procure good healthy food from the bounty of attentive agricultural stewardship.
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When BriarPatch Food Co-op’s Marketing Department read in The Union newspaper that The Food Bank of Nevada County was being forced to scale back food distribution, the team quickly rushed to action.