Carl Rosato, along with 2 part-time employees and 2 seasonal employees.
26 acres (the orchard is planted on 9 acres) in Oroville, about 149 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Carl has been farming organically for 32 years. After four years of hog farming in eastern Washington, Carl and his family bought Woodleaf Farm in 1980. Carl’s priority is to create the healthiest soil possible by testing the soil and adding needed nutrients. Healthy soil produces vigorous plants that resist diseases and yield delicious and nutritious fruit. The farm is home to 2,600 fruit trees, wild turkeys, working farm cats, and “the girls,” a flock of Barrd Rock chickens.
Though the tending of his fruit trees consumes Carl and from late spring into early autumn, the rest of the year leaves a little time to pass along the wisdom they have gained on the farm. At Woodleaf Farm, teaching sustainable farming and lifestyle is vital. A longtime soils consultant, Carl has been instrumental in the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) Going Organic Project, mentoring conventional farmers as they transition to organic practices. He also teaches organic farming and gardening classes.
California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF) since 1982
The farm’s clay loam is augmented with six tons of compost per acre per year, planted with grass and clover cover crops, amended with kelp, yucca extract, and molasses, and mineralized with gypsum, limestone, and soft rock phosphate based on soil analysis.
Water is sourced from a small lake above the farm. Gravity moves the water from the lake to sprinklers in the orchard.
Carl hand-hoes and mows all of the weeds that crop up at his farm.
The farm maintains habitat for beneficial insects, employs crop rotation, and sprays peach trees at bloom time with Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacteria that kills certain insect larvae. Rock dust, sulfur, and copper are also used to control plant diseases, and soil is kept as “alive” as possible.
100% of the electrical needs of Woodleaf Farm are met by an 8.1 kilowatt solar array installed in 2006.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »