LaBrie Family Farm

I’m ready to announce it to the world: I’m starting another urban farm. It’s in San Lorenzo (okay, maybe it’s a suburban farm…). One acre, a barn, with fruit trees and fields. My farm partner, Abeni, brought some of the goats up today and installed them in their new digs. Read about it here, at the new blog, LaBrieFamilyFarm.

There’s still so much work to do before we plant, but we’re just going there and working, not thinking about the endpoint. The biggest job was clearing out the barn, which we think was built in the 1940s. It had years of stuff in it, and opossums had taken up residence, so it was pretty gross. But now it’s great, and a good place for the goats to sleep and have babies. There’s a hayloft upstairs, which is perfect for storing alfalfa for the goats and rabbits.

Karim and Jamila, our other partners in farming, are total bad-asses, and macheted down the grass in the fields. Check out how high the weeds were (photo below). The soil is very dark and rich. There are two fields, the north and south, each about a 1/4 of an acre. We’ve seeded a bunch of stuff off-site: tomatoes, herbs, peppers, onions, chard, cucs, and zuchs to transplant once we get the fields tilled. We’re specializing in French heirloom vegetables, but this first year we’ll be field testing a lot of things to see what our main crop should be.


We’ll also be keeping honey bees. I’ve noticed a lot of fruit trees growing around San Lorenzo, so the bees will be happy there too. SanLor used to be a big ag hotspot with lots of small family farms. They would grow and harvest produce, then bring it to Oakland to sell from the back of the pick-up. Which is kind of what we’ll be doing with the Pop-Up Farm Stand (BTW: April 11, 10-1 is the next one, here at G-T Farm). Everything old is new again.

12 responses to “LaBrie Family Farm

  1. SUPER excited for you, Novella. I’m clearing my schedule to come visit your pop up stand this coming Sunday. :)

  2. Paint that barn red! congrats on the new diggs.

  3. Good luck with your bees, too. Its been a rough years for my grrls in Canyon so far. The rains have twice now thoroughly whacked first the wild plum blossoms and then this week the cherry blossoms, effectively disabling the early Spring fruit nectar collection. I’ll still get honey, but maybe 1/3 less and it won’t have the sekrit tangy taste of last year’s.

  4. Looking forward to watching the evolution of the new farm. Exciting!

  5. So fantastic! Cannot wait to hear the reports on the new adventure. Loved your book…the buckets of Chinese food for the pigs…priceless!

  6. Awesome! I grew up in San Lorenzo. My mom was born and raised there and my best friend (since 4th grade) still lives there. I look forward to following.

  7. So are you keeping the old place as well?
    You sure are one busy woman. You make me wish I was 39 again ;-) I’d follow in your footsteps.

  8. I just read your book, which I liked very much, and I look forward to reading about your new farming adventure.

  9. The new farm looks great. Loved your book and love your spirit. I was one of those back-to-the-landers in the 1960s and still can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt. Peas and lettuce up already. Lots of CSAs here in Iowa. A slow turn from commodity agriculture to higher value food crops, sold direct. We have great farmer’s markets. We’d love to see you come here or to Iowa City for a book reading.

  10. Hi Novella,
    Great news about the new farm! See you this Sunday. Is it the same type of schedule as the farm tour you had a couple of weeks ago?

  11. BEAUTIFUL Novella! Congrats!

  12. alexandria

    ah how cute is that goat i wish i had a farm like you

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