Photographed by Paige Green
To arrive at Fortunate Farm, you have to drive along the California coast, either north or south, passing some of the most epic viewsheds to be seen on Coast Highway 1. The farm is hours away from any major city, and just south of Fort Bragg, a small fishing town and tourist destination where the land meets the Pacific Ocean. Here the water and sky melt into each other, in a gleaming marriage of silver light.
Any road to get to this part of the Mendocino coast involves twisting turns through gorgeous and ancient old-growth redwood forest. Still, according to farmer and co-owner Gowan Batist, “We’re in the middle of everywhere if you think about it.” She explains, “we’re equidistant from Arcata to the north, the Bay Area to the south, and people come here from Davis and Sacramento to the east when they’re trying to escape the heat… we aren’t close, but we are on the way to everywhere people go in Northern California.”
Wherever you go, there you are. At Fortunate Farm, the farm is at the center of its own universe, the center of its own community, the center of the Northern California coastline.
If a farm is a living organism, the farmer is wedded in a deep relationship to it. The land, the domestic and wild animals, the plants and microorganisms, the weather patterns, and water/mineral/elemental cycles make up its living system, and the farmer is there to tend to it. It’s a relationship of care, an emotional relationship, and financial relationship, similar to a marriage, similar to a family.
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