Sierra Valley Farms is a 65-acre certified organic vegetable farm situated near the Middle Fork of the Feather River in Beckwourth, California just 50 minutes from Reno, NV. The owner, Gary Romano, is a third generation farmer and Sierra Valley Farms is proud to grow organic cool season vegetables, hops, horseradish along with hosting summer agritourism events on the farm such as an on-farm certified farmers market and farm-to-fork barn dinners with prominent chefs from the Reno/Tahoe Area.
What made you want to farm?
I was with parks and rec in Tahoe and Truckee for years. My aunt and uncle called and said “You’re the only nephew left, are you interested in the family farm?” There was nothing here -- just the house and a few small buildings, the rest of it was all auctioned off. I went for it because I just wanted a piece of the family property, some place I could get away to, and then all of these farmers’ markets started popping up. This was in ‘90, and I was tired of sittin’ behind a desk and always fighting for money because with budget cuts, rec always gets hit first. I thought maybe it wasn’t so bad what dad was doing. So I looked at farming again and saw all of the beautiful soil here. The corrals had been vacant for 50 years and the soils were 2 feet deep. I thought this would be great for vegetables. By ‘97, I figured out the greens. Mark Estee was at Moody’s in Truckee then. When he tasted the greens he said they were “off the charts.” That’s when I knew it was a good move.
Gary Romano currently has two published farming books about the life of a small farmer: "Why I Farm: Risking it All For a Life on the Land", and a high elevation gardening book "July & Winter: Growing Food in the Sierra.”