White Crane Springs Ranch Says Farewell

October 16, 2015

We’re sad to report that Saturday, October 17, is White Crane Springs Ranch’s last day at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Since the market’s days at Green Street, Joseph Minocchi and his wife, Kyung, have been supplying Bay Area shoppers and restaurant chefs with a diverse and impeccable crop of biodynamically cultivated flowers and greens, including their famous wild and herbal salad mix, all fed by spring water on their Healdsburg farm.

We will miss seeing Joseph, wearing his flower-adorned straw hat, set up his gorgeous farm stand in the plaza on Saturdays, a lush forest of lovingly grown and harvested herbs, cress, and blooms. Please join us tomorrow in wishing him and Kyung a happy retirement. Joseph offered us these farewell reflections:

We started farming in the 1980s, mainly flowers. We’d tried to be a run-of-the-mill farm, but it just didn’t work for us. When [Ferry Plaza Farmers Market founder] Sibella Kraus put a word out up here, we responded because it seemed like San Francisco would be a better opportunity for us. We could do whatever we wanted, there were no limitations on it. That’s how we got in that little corner of doing things our way. When we got to the farmers market, we needed something else, so we started growing herbs and doing that salad mix we do. That proved to be immensely popular, mainly because of how it tasted.

Our biodynamic methods of farming are unique and superior, but they are also super labor intensive. My wife and I have been doing it all with one worker. Our spring water is going away. At this time, the drought’s pushed us over the edge, and we’ve also reached a time in our life where we want to do less, especially farming, the kind of farming we do, which is intensive gardening compared to other farms. We don’t use machines. It’s all hand-done. Everything is planted and picked is by hand. Even our beds are double-dug by hand. That’s the style we’ve been using. It’s a niche market for us.

I appreciate all the people who come to the farmers market. We wanted to offer them something that was unique, that was representative of our ranch up here in Sonoma, and bring a spot of that out to the city. Our success was in the quality of our product, and of course in its taste.

Photo by Gary Yost Photography.