Deeds & Don'ts: Farm-to-Table Living
For those of us not up to full-time farming, but who long to retreat to fields and pastures, the Bay Area offers opportunities to cultivate smaller-scale homesteads. In towns that are still quintessentially rural communities, it’s not unusual for local farmers and ranchers to lease land or offer arrangements to cultivate it. For a truly back-to-the-land getaway, consider the following areas.
While Napa is packed with international tourists, Healdsburg has become the wine country destination of choice for locals. Right outside of town, small vineyard estates of five-to-ten acres in Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley enable oenophiles to partake in winemaking. At press time, a delightful 25-acre estate at 22200 Puccioni Road was available for just under $3 million. It includes a four-bedroom home overlooking six acres of Zinfandel vines, a pool and bocce court. Currently, the vines are cared for and harvested by a local company, and the grapes are purchased by a winery (which also provides the owners with a few cases). It’s also possible to do a custom crush and make wine with your own estate label. “You can have the lifestyle of owning a vineyard and drinking your own wine, while being only 10 minutes from the downtown plaza,” says Kellie Larson at RE/MAX, the listing agent.
The coast of West Marin, home to Point Reyes National Seashore, feels like a world apart. It’s always been a popular place for weekend getaways, and occasionally a privately held ranch will come on the market. “People can lease the property to a rancher or farmer, and they might do a large garden for themselves or a small vineyard,” says broker Fred Rodoni of Coastal Marin Real Estate, who currently has a 418-acre ranch, located in an idyllic valley at 1425 Marshall-Petaluma Road, for $4.2 million. Closer to San Francisco is 850 Nicasio Valley Road, a 40-acre horse farm with a five-bedroom Arts & Crafts home for $5.2 million, offered by Sarah Kowalczyk and Lotte Moore at McGuire.
In Silicon Valley, a welcome reprieve from technology is within easy distance. The areas on the coast around Half Moon Bay and southward to Pescadero have historically been devoted to farming and cattle-grazing. Further south, Carmel Valley offers good terroir for vineyards. Courtney Jones and Shelly Lynch with Carmel Realty Company have a 4.4-acre estate selling for $2.4 million in the desirable mid-Valley area, only 15 minutes from Carmel Beach. The Tuscan-style farmhouse at 27630 Selfridge Lane adjoins an acre of Pinot Noir vines and produces 100 cases a year. “It also has vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and would be a great candidate for chickens or horses if someone wanted to take the farm concept a bit further,” says Jones.
In Mendocino County’s Redwood Valley is a special property called East Ranch. Two-thirds of its 1,750 acres has been left undeveloped for wilderness conservation. There’s a picturesque five bedroom/four-and-a-half bathroom home modeled after an 1885 Victorian accompanied by 30 acres of vineyards, pastures, a swimming pond and hiking trails. The property is offered at $8 million by Chris Iverson at Dreyfus Sotheby’s. dreyfussir.com
Located in south Los Altos, this brand-new five bedroom/four bathroom house at 1350 Miravalle Avenue is designed for seamless indoor/outdoor living. Its main spaces open through folding glass doors to a central courtyard and spacious backyard. The GreenPoint-rated home also has a solar array and a electric-car charger. Priced at $4.25 million, it’s offered by Derk Brill with Alain Pinel. 1350miravalle.com
Biggest and Brightest
Lumina, a new high-rise development in the Transbay District, is offering the city’s largest condominium. The 14,000-square-foot penthouse has an additional 1,200 square feet of outdoor terrace and features a 20-foot wall of curvilinear glass. It is listed at $49 million with Gregg Lynn of Sotheby’s. Lumina anticipates completion by early 2017. luminasf.com
Offered by Nina Hatvany of Pacific Union, 663 Marina Boulevard has a picture-perfect location. The six bedroom, six-and-a-half bathroom home looks onto the moored sailboats of the San Francisco Yacht Club, the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond. Recently remodeled, the elegant residence is on the market for $9.5 million. 663marina.com.
Designed by tastemaker Thomas Britt, this colorful one bedroom/one bathroom condominium is one of just six units in the charming Beaux-Arts building at 1242 Sacramento Street in Nob Hill. Joel Goodrich with Coldwell Banker Previews International has the listing, offered at just under $1.7 million. 1242sacramento4.com
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of San Francisco Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Farm-to-Table Living.