Carl Rosato and Helen Atthowe, along with 1 to 2 seasonal employees.
26 acres (the orchard is planted on 9 acres) in Oroville, about 149 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Carl created Woodleaf Farm in the Sierra Foothills in 1980. The farm’s clay loam is augmented with 2 to 4 tons of green waste compost per acre per year, plus a grass/clover permanent living mulch. The farm is home to 2,200 fruit trees, wild turkeys, working farm cats, and many beneficial biological control insects and birds.
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.
McGinnis Ranch is steep: it sits on a 12% grade. The harder it rains, the less fun it is for Howard, who sometimes spends days replacing soil that has washed down the hill. But the grade allows maximum sun exposure and extends the farm’s season significantly.
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 »