Todd Springer and Elizabeth Hamilton
Todd's forefathers started farming the land on Old Mission Peninsula in 1868. Todd is the fifth generation of his family to farm on the peninsula. Elizabeth and Todd have been farming together since 2007. Most of Todd's time is spent operating the family's 40-acre conventional cherry orchard. Elizabeth's full time job is managing the café and kitchen at Oryana.
Their journey began one fateful day at Oryana, when Elizabeth ran into Todd and asked if he might need help on the farm one day a week in exchange for vegetables. Since then, they've been growing food together and working to create a crop rotation plan to build the soil and experimenting with cover crops (flax and fava beans). They farm because self-sufficiency and sustainability are both important to them and because they enjoy the challenge of learning to become better growers.
Last year they established their favorite popcorn and started getting serious about growing their own dry beans for the winter. Other projects involve saving more and more of their own seed, finding the right corn to grow to make their own tortillas and hominy (they’re trying an heirloom variety from the U.P.) and maintaining a balanced life that is not overrun by weeds. While they don't sell a lot to Oryana, what they do sell helps to buy inputs like compost and make improvements to equipment and infrastructure. At Oryana, you can find Todd and Elizabeth’s fresh herbs, rhubarb, peonies, snow peas, shallots, sweet onions and heirloom tomatoes.