The life of a farmer tends to get idealized. People view them as the lucky ones who where able to create a job out of puttering around in the garden and petting baby animals all day. I think most of our readers understand this is not the truth. Farming is a lifestyle that requires an immense amount of time and dedication. All of that being said, farmers do what they do because they love it, and sometimes you get to head out to a farm on a gorgeous Sonoma County day and pet baby goats, and hang out with good friends, and, on that day, it really is that perfect. Like on the day a few weeks ago when Dawn, our photographer, and I headed out to Sarah and Tyja Taube’s farm, Badger Ranch.
Badger Ranch was created 6 years ago when Sarah’s family purchased the old Bassignani Nursery and reopened it as Grow Gardens Nursery. Sarah and Tyja were able to take a portion of the property; about 5 acres of land out of 17 total, and begin their animal farm. They started with rabbits, then added goats and pigs quickly after. All together they have about 80 animals on the property at any given moment.
At Lowell’s, we happily use every type of animal they raise. “I like working with them because they are super local. Their animals are well taken care of and, most importantly, delicious. It’s also great Tyja is a former chef and understands working with restaurants and chefs,” says PL’s Chef Joe. “They raise the best goat I have ever tasted.”
Joe is not the only chef that has caught on. The list of restaurants that Sarah and Tyja sell to reads like a “who’s who” of local favorites; Zazu, Backyard, Scopa (soon to close), Campo Fina, Pullman Kitchen, and of course, Peter Lowell’s.
The rabbits Sarah and Tyja raise are all American Heritage breeds. They breed a variety of American Blues, originally from Pasadena, American Chinchillas, and a hybrid of the two.
The farm goats consist of Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, and Boer breeds. The Nubian and Nigerian girls are their breeder dairy goats, although the milk is only used by themselves and for friends, not for wider sale. The Boer goats are bred for meat.
Now this is where you start to see the love and passion it takes to be a farmer, because Sarah loves these goats.
“They’re my girls,” she says, her self-proclaimed spirit animal, and it shows. She names all of her breeders and is the only one that knows all the names. And the names are amazing. Plum Blossom Jacuzzi is the dwarf mama. Poppy Popalopagus is a sweet 5 year old girl who is the mother to Lollipop Popalopagus, 4, and the grandmother to Jujubee, 2. They get talked to and snuggled and loved whole-heartedly. On more than one occasion, when a mama has either passed away after or during birth, or hasn’t taken to her babies, Sarah and Tyja have raised them up as bottle babies.
And there is no lack of love from Tyja. Each new pasture we went to visit, he plopped right down in the center of the field and got on the animals level. Goats and pigs happily trotted over to sniff, explore, and received scratches.
Above all, you can feel that this farm is a community affair. Miss Piggy, feeding her piglets below, was a bottle baby Sarah and Tyja received from Marc and Sarah at Green Star Farms. Now she is one of their main breeder pigs, and also one of the sweetest. And Miss Piggy and her piglets get fed grain, left over from the brewing process, from local Woodfour Brewing.
Now, more than ever, the love these two have has transcended farming. Sarah and Tyja recently wed in a small courthouse ceremony and are expecting their first child in July. Their farm family of 80 is about to grow by one.