Hollyhill Hummingbird Sustainable Farm has tours!
Looking through our pictures and reading our text may be helpful, but walking around our Farm, freely asking questions and actually getting your hands on things is another thing all together. Your tour will last between a half hour and a full hour, depending on how many questions you ask and how long you want to talk about particular parts of the farm. As an educational bonus; you and your group will be invited to take part in a seasonally based farm activity. For example, here are some kids who came with an Engineer from Tesla Motors helping out by planting seeds:
To skip past the Tour Highlights and find out how to schedule your visit, click here
Each Chicken was held, one at a time, everyday from her first day of life, until she was two weeks old. Then they were held weekly for health inspections until 6 months of age. All this holding helped move them out of their bedding for cleaning, but it also bonded them with humans. We occasionally had kids help us move the chickens, furthering their bond with all sizes of humans. Our chickens don’t mind kids or adults holding them.
Our Biodynamic Veggie Garden:
The chicken manure is caught using local straw. The straw is then composted next to the coop along with excess spent grain from the Home Brewery. This is the food for our veggie garden. Good farmers grow good vegetables. Great farmers grow great soil!
Besides learning our methods of soil improvement you will see how we pair up companion plants to fight pests. For instance: If you plant members of the allium family (onions, garlic, chives…) around your plants that aphids and carrot flies like, you may trick the pests and get a sweet harvest of both the crop and the allium. We like to space our onions through our carrots to allow each onion to swell while the carrots catch the wasted light, getting thinned as they grow.
Lastly, you will see first hand an eight year crop rotation (count the 8 boxes in the photo on the right!). Each box was built with identical specs, and every winter we switch the crops to a new location of the garden. Like a shell game, we move the crops so new pest babies born in the spring will not be right next to their parents’ favorite food. Lastly, crop rotation helps plants live symbiotically over time. What one plant takes from the soil, another gives. Some give using further symbiosis, like the legume family (peas, beans, peanuts…) their roots team up with local bacteria to leave the ground with more nitrogen than it started!
Our Home Brewery:
The home brewing process takes about 6 hours of time during the actual brew day and then it takes weeks or months before the brew is ready to drink.
We may not be brewing on the day of your visit; however, we will have the equipment setup, the fermenters filled with wort/beer and a keg or two of the bubbly itself.
The new orchard was planted in January of 2012. There were 24 different varieties of trees selected. While focus was always on taste test winners, consideration was used to stagger harvests and have a few long term storage fruits. The more drought tolerant trees up on the knoll, like the almonds, have a trail planned to be finished by spring along with a picnic area for Elephants. Update: The trail through the orchard was finished ahead of schedule (December 2012) and was documented by a photographer from the San Jose Mercury News. Now that we have a trail up, you will be able to look at each tree close up!
The other side of the knoll is home to our Hop Yard…
Our Hop Yard (Now open for viewing from above and below!):
Hops are a perennial plant that regrows from a rhizome (root that stores energy like a potato) each year. If you come in the spring you will see a little plant like on the left. Summer has long vines growing over a rope. August we harvest flowers for brewing. September – Spring, you will see last years vines.
To use all the space we can, we are utilizing very steep terrain for their growth; therefore, only allow authorized volunteers with good boots are allowed to visit the vines up close.
This is a picture of one of our hops varieties (Cascade) as a baby. If anybody is wondering why it looks like another plant, you are probably thinking of hops’ nearest relative, another plant Michael Pollan talks about in his book, Botany of Desire.
*We meet new people by reservation only*
How to make a reservation for your groups’ guided Tour:
Overview of steps:
Step 1 – Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a Farm Tour
Step 2 – Confirm with a suggested donation
Step 3 – Fill out the online waiver (no trees were harmed or killed in the making of this waiver)
Residents of Saratoga/Cupertino, Fremont Older Park has several entrances from your city. It is probably faster to ride your bike or horse on over. Even walking or jogging through the park is very possible.
Step 1) Email us at email@example.com
Please include the following things in your email to make scheduling easier:
A) Number of people in group – We suggest a donation of $4 per person.
B) Date and time you prefer – We are open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month for Farm Tours and Farm to Picnics. Please tell us if you prefer mornings or afternoons.
C) Mode of transportation – We suggest a $10 donation for parking a gas powered car. To promote sustainability we do not suggest any donation for parking if you come via full electric vehicle, bikes, horseback, or by foot!
We suggest a donation of $4 per person + $10 for a gas powered car. We prefer you come via full electric vehicle, bikes, horseback, or by foot!
Donations may be made through Paypal or Cash on the day of the Farm Tour.
Step 3) You and each member in your group must fill out our online Waiver before you come for your visit. Click here for the Waiver. You and your group may fill this form out before Step 2 if you like.
We look forward to the chance to share our farming methods with you!