Meet the Farmer: Peter Buckley of Front Porch Farms
Front Porch Farm in Healdsberg produces an incredible assortment of fruit, vegetables and more.
On Healdsburg’s Front Porch Farm, countless life-affirming patterns are interwoven, expressing life. The forty-acre farm is dedicated to a bounty of flowers, vegetables, fruit trees, livestock, and vines, which thrive in the warmth and sunlight of Sonoma’s Mediterranean climate.
MM: What is your farming philosophy?
FPF: We aspire to grow healthy, delicious food for our customers while improving the health of the land we farm. In our view, health includes taste, nutrition, community and beauty, so we grow lots of flowers, too.
MM: Where do you grow and how does the location influence your products?
FPF: Front Porch Farm lies along the Russian River and benefits from its rich alluvial soils (which the recent floods just left more of). The climate along the river is marked by large diurnal temperature swings, which are beneficial in growing extraordinarily flavorful produce, fruits, and berries.
MM: What do you specialize in growing? Are there certain products you are best known for or a go-to for local chefs?
FPF: Blackberries do not ripen once they are picked, so our local blackberries cannot be beat for deliciousness. Zoe's extraordinary organic-local flower program keeps the farm looking beautiful everyday. Bay Area chefs go wild for our specialty vegetables, including heirloom broccolini, tomatoes, and lettuces.
MM: What is one of your favorite products that you sell? Do you have a favorite way to use it?
FPF: We grow a wonderful Italian flint corn (Floriani) and stone-grind the whole kernels into a delicious polenta. Most polenta products are not whole grain, so lack the taste, color, and nutrition of Front Porch Polenta.
MM: Do you have a unique product that the public is less familiar with that you would like to share info on and how to use?
FPF: Our vinegars, Heirloom Tomato Vinegar and Triple Crown Blackberry Vinegar, are unique to Front Porch Farm and prized by chefs. Both are sweet and mild, and great for any salad or marinade.
MM: What’s in season now and later in the year?
FPF: Lettuces, spring onions, snap peas, baby fennel, broccolini, fresh herbs, green garlic, radishes, and leeks are currently in season for spring. In summer: Cherry and heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, melons, basil, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, peaches, blackberries, strawberries. In fall: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, broccolini, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, romanesco, lettuces, winter squash, fennel, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers. In winter: Collards, Kale, Winter Squash, potatoes, garlic, onions, radishes, carrots, broccolini, cabbage.