ah, Sebastopol!

With our first (and only) grandchild in San Francisco we visit San Francisco (actually the city of South San Francisco) more frequently and like to lodge in the town of Pacifica which has high cliffs overlooking the ocean.

the cliffs have jogging paths and the setting is natural
the cliffs have jogging paths and a natural setting

Our 2 must visits are Florey’s 2nd hand book store and Mike Mooney’s Memorial Gardens.

in remembrance of the victims of September 11
in remembrance of the victims of September 11

We marvel that Florey’s still survives with all paperbacks priced $1 and all hardcovers $2, and no customers present other than ourselves.  But each year it is there and we make requisite purchases, since we are the dinosaur people and though ebooks accompany our trips, paper books are what we are about. 

 North of SF lies the problem. North of Golden Gate bridge, the redwoods of John Muir Woods and Point Reyes lighthouse is Sonoma County with Bodega Bay, Red Russian River and Sebastopol.  Ah, Sebastopol!  Each visit inveigles me this is where we belong. Vineyards and Gravenstein apple trees line the approaches, and the local Santa Rosa paper is aptly named  “The Press Democrat”.  But Sebastopol (population <10k) is on SF radar and real estate prices and rents increase relentlessly. The downtown area  is renovated and now boasts The Barlow area, a 12 acres open air market place.

the community market features Meatless Mondays, a trend strong resisted by the meat producers
the community market features Meatless Mondays, a trend strongly resisted by meat producers elsewhere

Since the demise of our chickens we monitor egg offerings, vainly trying to replicate the orange yolks our hens produced, and were intrigued by the egg-dicator below.

the checklist includes organic feed; local production; hormone and antibiotic free; no beak modification; access to outdoors; pastured and fertile

It is easy to decry the upmarket symbols such as art studios and gourmet restaurants,  and conclude the area is just too elitist. But then you happen on the unexpected such as the Joe Rodota trail next to our old fashioned but very comfortable Sebastopol Inn. 


The trail runs to Santa Rosa through marshlands which may flood in the rainy winter season. It was a  rail track now paved for 3.5 miles. And as you try rationalize that Sebastopol is not for you, you notice the wild blackberries crowding the trail, and they are plump and sweet.

succulent sweet wild blackberries
succulent sweet wild blackberries

And along the trail are wild sweet cherries and plums.

at times difficult to reach, but worth the effort
at times difficult to reach, but worth the effort

And wild dill and puff balls on the oak trees

puff balls on the trees
puff balls on oak trees

Nature bursts through and gives lie to our civilizing veneer. 

There are several commercial organic growers and I would like to have visited one well rated with the permaculture crowd. Their website mentioned public tours for CSA members $10 each or private visits $250 each.  I emailed asking if we could join a public tour or make a quick visit for less than $500.   Never heard back.  I guess viability is a continuing challenge for the small grower and pleasantries fall by the way. However on the way out of Sebastopol we spotted a permaculture training establishment and they were welcoming and encouraged us to walk and look. Their crops were healthy and we marveled the artichokes (Monterey just south of SF is the artichoke Mecca of the world). 

notice the dry surroundings, no rain in summer and drip irrigation is a must – unlike Georgia which bursts with green after torrential downpours (when they finally arrive)

So we visited Sebastopol and enjoyed and will include future visits when in SF.  Though uprooting from Georgia and moving there – probably not on the cards. 

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