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278. Chefs turned Farmers | Confluence Organic Farm | Julia Henderson | Sebastopol, CA
17th June 2019 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:55:06

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I’m super excited to introduce my guest today Julia Henderson from Confluence Farm who is not just a gardener but a chef who is going to share their garden journey from restaurants to organic farming and more!

Sorry folks show notes to be completed in the future! Enjoy the audio!

Rockstar Millennials

Confluence Farm is an organic vegetable and flower farm located in Sebastopol, CA along the picturesque Green Valley & Purrington creeks. Julia and Andy are chefs turned farmers who truly understand high quality products and making people happy. We focus on generating the healthiest soil we can in order to grow the most nutrient dense and healthy vegetables possible. A confluence is when two entities come together, be it water or people. Our food and flowers bring people together, whether it be at on our farm, self grown and catered events, or nurturing our own community and family through markets. Our motto is “Come Together, Eat Well”.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Julia I own a 3 acre farm

an hour north of SF

certified organic


I used to be a pastry chef

my husband

we met in San Francisco

always had a garden

only a small amount

about 4 years ago

we were both looking to transition away from the restaurant world

we still wanted to do something with food

the property where I grew up

it had been bought to be a farm when my flimsy original moved there

saw the potential for it to be a farm

we decided to move back

having worked in the food industry

committed to working with local growers

for the ingredients we used in the food

husband especially had the green thumb out of the two of us

inspired by what he saw

dove in headfirst

neither of

3rd year



farmers mart

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

my mom has quite a green thumb

always had a garden

some vegetables

still has a garden to this day

right next to the farm

  • flowers
  • perennials
  • least
  • cherry tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • swiss chard

what ever else she was interested in

can’t say I had a super green thumb


later in life

learned a lot love for plants

first ex

How did you learn how to garden organically?

her garden was always pretty small

when we decided to start the farm it was important to be organic

getting certified from day one

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

I was happy with was our carrots

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

bringing someone on full time

needed more help to be productive

bringing on hands and help

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.

biggest pest pressure are flea beetles

love baby greens


Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?

moving materials

moving plant material out

  • tarps
  • row cover

feels a little bit like straight manual labor

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?

I really love greenhouse work


tending to the baby plants

one of my specialization on the farm

love the

harvesting flowers

we don’t have as much flowers as vegetables

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

Um, I think well one thing I think is the idea that there is a difference between dirt and soil

you really want to keep your soil alive and active

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be?

greens harvester

baby greens

lettuce mix

cuts it extremely fast

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

we do is kind of an easier go to

rice bowl

grain bowl

veggies on top

one of my favorite things he make is incredible tomatoes sauce

A favorite internet resource?


is really great

a lot that we have learned from youtube

Curtis stone

learned a lot from his videos

about growing is really helpful

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

Jean Martin Fortier Market Gardener he focuses on especially for a smaller farm

certain resources

geared towards

maximize efficiency productivity

how to

small farm

how to really be more

If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

I think that one of the advice that I would say is to really think about where your farm is  and where your market would be

do some research

Final question-

If there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

yeah that’s a hard one there’s so many thing

moving towards renewable energy

create jobs

effectively implemented on a large scale

see in my life time

it would make a big difference

talk about

more solar

farm and property

that’s something I would really like to see change

within my own work

responsible ag practices

sustainable ag practices vs not

really important to support farms that are really doing it right

small medium larger scale farm


putting our dollars towards those farms

ag practices have a large impact on the land and


really complicated

global economy

need to feed the world

really supporting farms that are making it

an effort

gives back

that’s something I really hope in my lifetime we more support for

really funding

more support and research for that


funds to help people to implement things on their farms to soil

our markets most are fairly small

we’re gonna be at one a little bigger next year

most are small to medium farms

a lot of people are organic

some are not certified

some do not

conception from people

all farms

common misconception that all farms at a market are organic

hard to compete with other farms that are not

pretty good awareness


most of the other farms

if they’re not certified

growing organically using good practices

hard to compete

relay why there’s value

in what you are growing why it might be more expensive

work on our messaging

value in our product

Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

you would be amazed how much you can grow in a small space

plants s

easy and prolific


summer squash

if you are interested

grow a lot of food

just a yard

few pots of different vegetables

really rewarding to

bias both cooks

rewarding to cook with fresh ingredients

extra satisfying

fresh ingredients

don’t be intimidated

that’s such a good point

my sister was asking what should she grow in her backyard

even if you don’t use them all

snip some herbs

cook with them

bring in so many

How do we connect with you?

our Instagram is @ confluence farm


website is

great way to get a sense

my one of my really close friends

her mother did it

really talented artist



how i built this


farming focus

ted radio hour


listen with forage beautiful all about herbs

herbal studies


every episode dived into an herb

have another herbalist on

growing of it

I was gonna say

a flower farmer who would be amazing to talk to


full bloom flower farm

wealth of knowledge


andy’s age

wealth of knowledge

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