Grounded in a values-based approach to land stewardship, Fifth Crow Farm is a dynamic and diversified organic farm in Pescadero, CA. Founded in 2008 with a shoestring budget, a supportive local community, and ambitious dreams, we strive to bring eaters the highest quality, best tasting, and most nutritious food possible. We are situated in the Cloverdale Valley, 45 miles from San Francisco and 35 miles from Santa Cruz.
Primarily a market farm selling to farmers’ markets and restaurants in San Francisco and San Mateo County, we also have a nearly 200 member CSA. We operate on 80 acres: 30 acres of row crops, a 24-variety apple orchard, a young pear orchard, and a pastured egg operation consisting of 2 flocks of about 350 beautiful ladies – all heritage breeds.
As the average age of the American farmer continues to go up and the total number of farmers and farms goes down, Fifth Crow Farm sees it as an imperative to farm with future generations in mind. We want our farm to be more than a business: we strive to make it an engine for positive change in the food system. We want to build an agriculture that is economically viable, socially just, and ecologically sound. To us this means stewarding our land in a way that not only respects but improves habitat for wildlife and builds better soil for future farmers. It also means creating a healthy, fulfilling, and fair work environment, and providing our customers with the best tasting, most nutritious, highest quality food possible.
Diversity and respect underpin our land stewardship practices and methods. We are committed to sustainable production methods and are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). We do not use synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides and rather manage fertility with compost, cover crops, and organic fertilizers. We control pests and diseases with crop rotation, exclusion, beneficial insects, and only use organically approved sprays as a last resort. We grow a great diversity of crops, not only to serve our customers but because we feel it is a better practice than mono-cropping.
We have partnered with the NRCS (FDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service) to establish native hedgerow plantings to provide habitat and travel corridors for beneficial insects and pollinators as well as installed irrigation systems that conserve both energy and water. By raising our chickens in a mobile chicken coops, not only do we have a happy flock, we gradually spread fertility on the field, control weeds, and disrupt the life cycles of plant pathogens and pests, thus enhancing the future growing conditions for row crops that later replace the pasture.
We believe that true sustainability in agriculture is impossible unless the people who grow the food are paid decent wages and provided the basic benefits that most other industries afford. We want our farm to provide fulfilling, long-term, and year-round jobs. As our business expands, we are building it to support year round employment, health benefits, paid sick leave, paid vacation, and hopefully more for the dedicated and professional workers who are so fundamental to putting food on your table.
We are identifying ways we can increase access to our product for people of limited means. Currently we participate in the WIC program, donate surplus produce to a couple gleaning organizations, Puente (a Pescadero non-profit), and Pescadero High School. We have also launched a scholarship fund for kids of farm employees seeking higher education. (More information about this project and how you can help coming soon)