Sunset over a Salinas Valley farm house and barn.

I sometimes forget how much fun it is to work with farmers.  I am in awe of the work they do.  We gardeners dabble with plants, farmers make them work and somehow do it with joy despite incredibly hard work and vagaries of nature.

A farm magazine contacted me today looking for the classic small farm and charming farm house for a summer feature story, so I went into my files looking.  I was surprised how little I found.  Here is a sampling in a gallery I call A Mix of Agriculture.

holt_994_0015.CR2I began photographing farms well before I ever thought of being a garden photographer.  I started my career as a commercial photographer, and in California farming is big business so I gravitated to to it.

It seems every farm I have photographed was either really large where I never even saw a house or so small that the farmer did not have a picturesque house.

When I am working with the farmers, it’s in the field and I just never thought to get the house in the photo.

I guess I just need to think about farming as lifestyle rather than work.  As I looked over my photos I realized lost opportunities.

But as I looked, I smiled at almost every turn.  From flower farmers to alfalfa farmers, from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to ranchers, I found a happy lot.

Sure, they are smiling for the camera and I have edited my favorites, but for the most part farmers love what they do.

They work with life, they nurture, they do the dirty work we hardly imagine.

It’s pretty hard not to be joyous over newborn as Singing Farms farmer Paul Kaiser admires a day old Soay lamb.  The family looks on warily.

Baby lettuces make John Severn of Little River Farm feel like  proud papa.


And yes women farm too, though I wonder if Leslie Recio of Viridian Farms is simply smarter than husband Manual who doesn’t know its break time.


And anyone who farms flower seeds for a living as Chris Hartung of Desert Canyon Farm has got to be a happy soul.  holt_988_1186.tif

Here’s to all of you, my friends.  May the weather bless you.

Oh, and lest anyone think these farmers don’t have charming houses, here is supper at Chris and Tammy Hartung’s home.  (Tammy is the author of many herb books.) Maybe this would count as a farm house, lifestyle photo ?