Land and Sea Farm Tour

Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Dig in the dirt and pull fresh shellfish from the water on this special weekday tour of central and west Marin. We are so fortunate to have easy access to beautiful hills, valleys, coast, and bays, which provide not only scenery but also perfect growing conditions for a variety of animals and vegetables. On this tour, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy it all. Tour the farm and get your hands dirty with a bit of volunteer weeding and hoeing at Green Gulch Farm, where service is part of the Buddhist practice of the Zen Center located there, and learn all about oysters (including how to shuck your own!) at Hog Island Oyster Company.

Green Gulch Farm is a residential Buddhist practice place also known as Green Dragon Zen Temple. GGF was established by the San Francisco Zen Center in 1972 as a rural retreat center and organic farm. In 2015, GGF completed the second phase of a major creek restoration that will hopefully bring Coho salmon and Steelhead trout to spawn in the riparian zone adjacent to the vegetable fields.

GGF supports agro-ecological education through school tours, volunteer days, Arbor Day and watershed work parties, and a residential apprenticeship program that trains participants in meditation and hands-on organic farming and gardening. GGF regularly hosts gleanings. Leftover crops that would be plowed under are instead distributed through the Marin-SF Food Bank to public schools, shelters, and low-income communities.

Hog Island Oyster Company was founded in 1982 with a 10-acre lease in north Tomales Bay. John Finger and Terry Sawyer, both experienced marine biologists, applied their knowledge of animal husbandry and marine aquaculture to designing a high-tech farm, adapting and improving the best techniques used around the world to suit the unique conditions of Tomales Bay. Today, the company leases over 150 acres and grows all their shellfish using the single seed method. Although this method is expensive and labor intensive, it allows them to produce oysters and clams of unparalleled quality. Hog Island occasionally contracts with other oyster sources in the Pacific Northwest to supply the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market during the rainy season.

Tickets include round-trip transportation from the Ferry Building in San Francisco in a comfortable bus and a farm-fresh lunch featuring seasonal produce, courtesy of CUESA.

Where to meet: Meet in front of the Ferry Building on the south side of the clock tower, at the curb. Please arrive by 8:30 am; we leave at 8:45 am. Please be prompt! We cannot wait for stragglers.

Things to know: The weather can be unpredictable. Please dress in layers. Shoes must be appropriate for walking around the farms, closed-toe and preferably waterproof. Since we will be helping out at Green Gulch Farm (see above), you may want to bring your own gardening gloves, if you have them.

The tour is geared toward adults and will probably not be enjoyable for young children. Children who are likely to appreciate an adult-level tour are welcome to come with their guardians. Please call if you have questions.

Bring: A water bottle, layers, sunscreen. Optional: snacks, a camera, a book or other entertainment for the bus, and cash for purchases. We will do our best to return by 4:30 pm, but traffic conditions can be unpredictable and we can’t guarantee a punctual arrival.

We sincerely thank our farm tour sponsor, First National Bank of Northern California, for underwriting tour costs and Coach 21 for providing a discount on the bus charter fee.

Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable but are transferable to another guest for this tour.

A note about price: CUESA is committed to providing accessible food system education to all. If you are interested in a scholarship for one of our farm tours, please email Carrie Sullivan ( for a scholarship application.