In 2009, after giving birth to our first born I walked away from an eight year career as a firefighter to raise our two children. My husband stayed in fire, where he promoted to a chief. I looked at the garden I had planted in 2010 on our two acres and I had more food than I needed. I was giving it away to friends who said "You should sell this to me!" I decided I wanted to feed my community.
In 2011 I set my first spring produce on the tables at a local farmers market and pledged to grow food from our property with integrity, sustainability and permaculture in mind. Our fields may have weeds, and our produce may show traces of being eaten by bugs but our hearts are full and our products are organic.
We live with a consciousness for our earth. This means our home runs on solar, our cleaning products, our bags, our soaps are all earth friendly. We recycle and break down everything we consume between composting, recycling, reusing, and feeding to our chickens in an attempt to keep our footprint light and follow permicultural practices. We don't use herbicides or poisons anywhere! Fungicides and pesticides are all organic (neem, insecticidal soap, copper sulfate, diatomaceous earth, spinosad, bacillus thuringiensis, pyrethrum, etc) and are used with descretion.
We've sold for almost a decade to local restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts, farmers markets and friends. We've curtailed each year to what nature has provided us, with the strict low quantity yield. We adhere to a strict 3 year rotation of production, rest and cover in a clockwise rotation of 3 plots.
Our products include fresh produce (fruits & veggies), herbs, dried products, jams, pickled peppers, canned tomato products, free range organic chicken eggs and spice mixes.
We've interacted with our community in a multitude of ways including volunteering at our local school gardens, doing educations presentations, giving to our local food banks and working with local partners to teach about the importance of supporting small business farmers and donating to seed saving banks all over the world. Our goal still continues to provide food products from our homestead to our community with stewardship for our home and our animals.
Our daughter Varah selling eggs at the Morro Bay Farmers Market 2017.
I come from a strong line of firefighters in my family. My father Mike Preasmeyer retired after 32 years with the United States Forest Service (USFS). My mother Virginia Nisse was one of the first women in California to get her red card in 1975 and she too worked for the USFS for several years. My older sister Vivian Boaz is a seasoned volunteer firefighter in her hometown of Townsend MT, after several years of serving on another fire department locally here in Santa Margarita. I married my co-worker when I was with the Los Padres National Forest and he is now a Division Chief for that same forest.
Once a firefighter, always one. I started out as a PCF at Avila Beach for SLO County Fire back in September of 2001. I worked briefly for San Luis Obispo City Fire as an apprentice. After several years I took a permanent with the Los Padres National Forest, USFS on the Monterey Ranger District as an apprentice in which time I graduated the Federal Wildland Apprentice Program (FWAP), went through several engine academies, did a season on a hotshot crew. I worked as an engineer at the same station as my Dad some 20 years prior which isn't something a lot of people can say. You never look at fuel the same ever again and some of the people you meet and work with become life long friends. It's one of the hardest, behind scenes, gut wrenching arduous and dangerous jobs a person can perform. Even after changing my path in life the lifestyle, the public awareness towards wildfire and the morals instilled from my time guides me in striving to be a better person. I work hard on my farm physically and I am able to do so because of my fire experience.
I am passionate about fire and it entails the need for more pubic awareness of who FEDERAL wildland firefighters are, how inherently dangerous their jobs are and the need for reform for those people including a proper job classification of "firefighter" instead of "forestry technician". I've met some wonderful humans to the job and I have watched them perish because of the dangers of the job. It is hard thing to not look for better solutions to those inherent risks of the job. I will continue to fight for federal wildland firefighter reform and public safety during wildfire season.