Norman and Aimee Gunsell.
60 acres in Mountain Ranch, about 128 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Norman has been farming ever since his family moved from the suburban East Bay to Calaveras County 42 years ago. He met Aimee in 1994 and, along with his and her children, the two began the current operation. The couple are deeply committed to sustainability and have been certified organic since 2001. Norman and Aimee keep flocks of 800 to 1,500 pasture-raised chickens, including an heirloom variety called Lonkong (which takes longer to mature and requires quite a bit more feed), as well as the more standard Cornish Cross varieties. They raise 2 to 6 beef cattle at a time and a small flock of heritage turkeys. They also grow organic vegetables for their soups and tamales, and they’re experimenting with growing grain for their animals.
California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF) since 2001.
They Gunsells manage pests with fabric coverings for young plants, hand-removal and some organic pesticides.
Animal Husbandry Practices
The Gunsells’ birds are raised on pasture, where they can forage for seeds, grasses, and bugs during the day, and have access to spacious, well-ventilated shelter, where they are protected from bad weather and nighttime predators. They are also given certified organic feed. Chickens are processed in small batches at a local, certified organic, and minimally mechanized USDA-inspected facility.
Norman has lived on the same piece of land in Mountain Ranch since he was 15.
Mountain Ranch, California
Swanton was the first strawberry farm in the U.S. to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers of America/AFL-CIO. In 2006, the farm began offering an Employee Stock Ownership Plan to employees, the first such program in production in U.S. agriculture. Swanton is certified by the Agricultural Justice Project as a fair farm and continues to work toward a more fair and equitable food system.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »