The warmth you feel when you arrive at Middleton Farm, off Westside Road outside Healdsburg, isn't just from the sun shining down on their wide-open acreage. Owner Annie Woods, and farm manager Sam Calderon's joy of farming is apparent from the first moments we begin to talk.

Buying the eight-acre farm six years ago, Annie and her husband Montgomery, fulfilled a dream. He grew up in the valley; his family founded Clos du Bois winery. She'd always loved the area, and had a passion for healthy food.

Middleton Farm had been a working farm for sixty years when previous owners Nancy and Malcolm Skall bought it in 1989. They were very active in the farming community, sold to many restaurants in the area, and were popular vendors at our market. After Malcolm died, Nancy continued farming and selling for another fifteen years before she passed away and the farm was sold to the Woods.

Annie and Monty were very fortunate to inherit the farm's manager, Sam Calderon in the deal. Sam had worked for the Skalls for twenty-six years, so knew every inch of the property and every crop grown on it.

Sam's farming education began on his grandfather's avocado farm in Michoacan, Mexico. His journey as a sixteen-year-old coming to this country with his family, and immediately working on farms in Santa Paula, sealed the deal on his future working the land. He knew this was what he wanted to do, so when his brother-in-law told him about the job at Middleton, he moved to Healdsburg and found his perfect home.

Sam and Annie show me around the farm, pointing out the vast beds of their legendary onions, the gigantic fava bean plants, the strawberries, the fruit orchard. They grow a staggering variety of crops: if it can be grown in the county, they probably have it. Peaches, plums and nectarines, asparagus, a variety of beans, berries, squashes, tomatoes, corn, carrots, beets, lettuces, garlic and much more can be found in the six and a half acres planted by Sam and his assistant, Santos. Sam points out his greenhouses, explaining he starts all plants from seeds, generally planting around 6000 plants in a season.

"We're aiming to produce the highest quality organic produce using the best ingredients and techniques," Annie explains. This quality has made them a favorite for local farm-to-table restaurants like Single Thread, Matteo's and The Farmhouse. They also sell to San Francisco restaurants, as the Woods live part time in the City, with Annie working in the health care management field, and raising two teenagers. Annie handles all sales and marketing for the farm, as well as keeping the small store on the property viable for customer direct-sales.

They feel strongly about their farm being part of the bigger picture of feeding the community. They're actively involved in Farm to Pantry, our local gleaners, to make sure the hungry of our area get fresh, healthy food. Annie's also recently joined our market's board, and is our treasurer.

This year they're adding blueberries, pomegranates, as well as aiming to create more value-added goods, like olive oil, dehydrated citrus, honey and edible flowers. Annie hopes to build more wholesale accounts, and revive ones lost by the pandemic.

We can count on their booth to always be filled to the brim with an array of produce grown with a passion for farming and community.