Meet the AgPark Farmers

The Sunol AgPark sits on 18 acres of rich agricultural land adjacent to Arroyo de la Laguna and Alameda Creek. Six farms, ranging in size from 1.5 to 4 acres, call the Sunol AgPark home. These farms market their produce to diverse Bay Area channels including farmers’ markets, restaurants, wholesale and seed contracts. AgPark farmers grow a wide range of crops including vegetables, herbs, cut flowers and seeds, and rely on organic methods like cover cropping, integrated pest management and compost additions. Learn more about the Sunol AgPark farms and their farmers below.

Green Bee Farm
Artisan Seeds is a farm and seed breeding business owned and operated by Fred Hempel. In 2006, Artisan Seeds/Green Bee started growing crops and breeding tomatoes in the Sunol AgPark focusing primarily on tomatoes, peppers, squash, edible flowers, herbs and mustards. Green Bee sells their produce directly to Bay Area restaurants, and more widely via LA & SF Specialty Produce. In addition, their new tomato variety seeds can be purchased at www.growartisan.com, or through Johnny’s Selected Seeds. To learn more, visit Artisan Seeds Facebook page.

Watani Farm
Jamal Naser, owner and operator of Watani Farm, is originally from Afghanistan where his father owned land and shared with Jamal a passion for agriculture. Now, Jamal sells cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplant, melons, Persian chives and leeks at the Masjid Abu Bakr Siddiq in Hayward with the help of his wife and in-laws. To reach Jamal, email him at [email protected] or call him at (510) 754 – 1483.

Jellicles Farm, owned and operated by Lalitha Visveswaran, produces a wide variety of quality products including lavender and edible flowers, as well as medicinal and culinary herbs. To maintain adequate habitat for pollinators and good soil health on her 1.5 acre farm, Lalitha implements practices such as crop rotation, low or no till and cover cropping. Jellicles Farm uses minimal inputs and attempts to grow nearly all drought friendly plants. Jellicles Farm can be reached at [email protected].

Bluma
Joanna Letz is the owner and operator of Bluma, a certified organic flower farm with two locations-2.5 acres of land at the Sunol AgPark, and a Rooftop Farm in Berkeley. With over 10 years of farming experience, Joanna started Bluma in 2014, and views farming as a fundamental way to contribute to the health of the planet, while creating a stronger bond between communities and agriculture. Located just 30 miles away from her hometown of Berkeley, Bluma’s Sunol farm site provides a local product to meet growing urban demand for ecologically produced flowers. Bluma’s markets include local grocery stores and florists, as well as floral designs for weddings and other events. To reach Joanna, email her at [email protected] or visit her website: http://blumaflowerfarm.com/.

Feral Heart started in the Sunol AgPark in 2014. The farm’s owners, Aaron Dinwoodie and Mica O’Herlihy, manage Feral Heart with sustainability and social justice at the forefront of their operation. Both bring years of knowledge and skills to Feral Heart.

Aaron has been farming for 14 years since his start on a ranch just south of Half Moon Bay where he raised dairy goats and hens, propagated fruit trees, cultivated a wide variety of vegetables and herbs and learned how to make nutrient rich compost. Over time, he became passionate about seed saving, as he believes it is important to a farm’s sustainability.

Mica grew up in California, and worked as a filmmaker, visual artist and professor, before transitioning to agriculture full time. Their first farm, Long Arm Farm, in SW Wisconsin, included a goat dairy, 14 acres of woody perennials, culinary and medicinal mushroom beds, and 4 acres of row crops. Mica and their kids moved back to California in 2017 and began a partnership with Aaron to run Feral Heart.

Feral Heart sells fresh produce, herbs and flowers to restaurants all over the bay, and at Oakland’s Grand Lake Market. To learn more about Feral Heart, visit their website at http://www.feralheartfarm.com/.

Happy Acre
Matthew and Helena Sylvester, both first generation farmers born and raised in Oakland, CA, own and operate Happy Acre Farm. Before there was Happy Acre, Matthew and Helena started their farming journey with trips to the farmers’ markets and a small garden on their balcony. They now farm on 3.5 acres of land at the Sunol AgPark and grow over 30 vegetable crops. Happy Acre is certified organic by CCOF. They sell their produce at farmers’ markets and to restaurants, in addition to running a small CSA. To learn more about Happy Acre, visit their website at http://www.happyacrefarm.com/.

The Sunol Community Gardeners are a group of local retired women who aspire to learn more about farming by maintaining a garden plot at the Sunol AgPark. Some crops grown in their garden are asparagus, artichoke, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas and berries. They grow crops for themselves and to share with family and friends.