Folks driving down Jacoby Creek Road since early summer probably noticed a flurry of activity in the fields about half a mile down from the post office, a new small farming operation organized by Mica O’Herlihy and Mac Spofford, both of Arcata.
Mica has been farming for 20 years, first in Wisconsin, then in Sunol in the East Bay, and recently relocated to Humboldt. They have a special love for flowers, herbs and aromatics, and does floral design for events.
Mac came to Humboldt from Salt Lake City, originally to work in cannabis, but his interests in food sovereignty and alternative communities led him to look for ways to connect food, farming and community.
The two met last year at the celebration of life for Therin Brooks, a mutual friend. They were introduced to Rebecca Stauffer, on whose land they are farming, by Cooperation Humboldt, and their new farm (still looking for just the right name) was born.
This year was an exercise in building infrastructure and testing what is possible. Fencing, soil analysis and amendment, working out irrigation, lots of test crops, learning to deal with gophers (greatly aided by Juno, a Basenji who has turned into an excellent rodent hunter). They planted about 30 different flowers, lots of herbs, and test batches of everything from tomatoes to corn to indigo. When asked about favorite crops and what does particularly well here, Mica said “Brassicas! and garlic, and tulsi.” Their favorite flower? Chocolate cosmos.
Mica and Mac have a bigger vision, of an agrarian collective that hosts a variety of projects. They are proponents of biodynamic agriculture, an early 20th century movement that treats soil fertility, plant growth and livestock care as interrelated tasks with spiritual and mystical facets. “It’s a bit woo-woo,” says Mica, but grounded in good integrative organic practices. Compost is important, so a compost business is in the works.
When asked about the best part of farming this little patch of the Jacoby Creek valley, their responses said a lot about Bayside: “the amazing view of the valley,” “the welcoming community” and “the 8 o’clock howl.” Well said.
As fall deepens, the farm is turning in on itself... spent rows getting turned over, cover crops and garlic going in.
It won’t be as busy as during the summer, but Mica and Mac still drop in every day to tend to the ducks, work their way through late season projects, and drink in the beauty of our valley. Feel free to stop by and say hello!
As always, if you have any Bayside news, send it along to [email protected] or call (707) 599-3192.