I recently read an article in the Press Democrat about the rise in Cider making in Sonoma County and the positive effect it has had on the once vibrant apple production industry in Sonoma County, in particular Sebastopol. The “New Angle for Sonoma County Apples” http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/1860333-181/new-angle-for-sonoma-county depicts the widespread belief that farmers can earn as much growing apples as wine grapes, if not more. Heidi and I both find this an encouraging testament to our county’s ability to adapt. It has also added an exciting new dimension to our real estate business.
After the Gold Rush of the 1850’s, those that settled in our state began drifting north into the fertile valleys North of San Francisco to try their hand at farming. They were not disappointed. In particular, our area found great success with the Gravenstein apple, a sharp yet sweet flavored apple that can withstand cold winters. I too have grown apples in my own backyard in Sebastopol with much success. I have dried them, made countless pies, applesauce, and even pressed them for cider. Apples continue to provide not only delicious, local, food for many people; but an increasing profit to those who farm them.
Once called the “Gravenstein apple capitol of the world”, Sebastopol has seen a major decline in the demand and production of apples due to the sexier farming practice of wine grapes. Don’t get me wrong, I love wine and appreciate all that the wine industry has brought to our town, but it is nice to see the resurgence in apple farming. We welcome and enjoy the agricultural diversity in our rich and fertile land.
Several clients of ours are looking for land to purchase with the purpose of planting high quality cider apples. We have been learning more about the growing industry, best practices, and leaders of the industry. It has been fascinating, exciting, and proving to provide an interesting reflection on my own apple growing and processing practices. It has also given Heidi and I another venue to showcase our belief in the details. We have spent a lot of time learning about the industry, talking to experts, educating ourselves about the ideal soils, temperatures, microclimates and space that yield the highest rate of return for our clients.
Heidi and I are not just selling real estate; we are a part of the growth, maturity, and evolution of our town and are looking forward to participating in many more of its successes. We think Sonoma County is one of the greatest places on earth and we are happy to watch the rest of the country get on our bandwagon applecart too!