Biodynamic Farming - Restoring the Balance

Sonoma Discoveries Fall 2017

Sonoma Discoveries - 2017 Fall.png

Michael Presley reaches into a compost pile, extracts a fistful of rich, dark humus and smiles broadly. As the soil keeper for Biodynamic-certified DaVero Farms and Winery, his compost making contributes to the vibrancy of the farm—a diverse, self-regulating system of plants, animals and microorganisms.

Today Presley, whose title at the farm reflects the diligence DaVero pays to soil health, is working in the tasting room garden, a plant jungle, a proliferation of color—muted reds, pale yellows and purples. “Not only is the garden beautiful, it’s a harbinger of what’s happening elsewhere on the property. If the plants here are healthy, chances are the vineyards ate too,” Presley says. READ MORE

Sonoma’s Abuzz!

Sonoma Discoveries Summer 2017

Sonoma Discoveries - 2017 Summer

The bees are vanishing in alarming numbers—and no one knows why. Last year the US lost 40 percent of its bee population. It’s a major concern and not because of the lack of honey. Bees pollinate a third of the world’s food supply. They are the source of the many good things we have come to love and expect. Without bees, there would be no melons or juicy mangos, no crisp apples or nutritious blueberries, no potatoes or pumpkin pie. And forget that cup of morning coffee or Valentine’s Day box of chocolates. Pantries would be sparse, food bland.

Honeybees are not native to the US. They were brought in by 17th century settlers for crop pollination. Unlike solitary native species, honeybees live in colonies and have greater pollination concentration. Both honeybees and native species are in decline. READ MORE

The Return of the Steelhead and Coho

Sonoma Discoveries January-February 2017

Sonoma Discoveries - 2017 Jan-Feb

Elephants, orangutans and tigers tend to come to mind when we think of endangered species. But we don’t have to go that far afield. We have our own right here in Sonoma County—the steelhead and the coho salmon. In years past, thousands of these fish swam up the Russian river to spawn. Then dams, urban sprawl, drought, pollution of the oceans, erosion from logging, and runoff of agricultural pesticides took their toll. Their numbers dropped dramatically. READ MORE

Wings Over the Vineyards

Sonoma Discoveries November-December 2016

Sonoma Discoveries - 2016 Nov-Dec

John Hawley, winemaker, falconer and founder of Hawley Cellars, sits on the deck of his home overlooking Dry Creek Valley. A goshawk perches on his gloved fist. Still young, the bird’s black eyes will eventually turn a piercing red, its wings shades of blue and gray. Goshawks fly silently through the forest pursuing smaller birds or mammal prey. “They are aggressive. Falconers tend to give them names like Godzilla,” John says. “I call my bird Happy. That’s how he makes me feel.” John takes a slice of meat from a cloth bag and places it beside the bird. Happy rips it to shreds, and consumes it. READ MORE